First word of his resignation came from Dan Snyder's own radio station, ESPN 980, which declared that the Redskins executive VP of football operations had stepped down. The station then reported the Skins have replaced him with Bruce Allen, the former Tampa Bay GM and son of former Redskins coach George Allen. Nothing like the Redskins keeping it in the family...
Cerrato, who has been with the team in numerous roles since 1999, said he had conversations with Snyder over the past few weeks regarding the team's future.
“We agreed that the franchise needs someone different in this position,” Cerrato said in a team press release. “Of course, I am disappointed with this year’s results, but I strongly believe that with outstanding draft picks and encouraging performance by our younger players, we have laid a strong foundation for the franchise.”
“I’ve had the pleasure of working with some great coaches such as Joe Gibbs, Greg Blache and Sherman Lewis, great people on the Redskins staff, and, most especially, some of the best professional football players in the world. I wish them all the best,” Cerrato said. “I’ve also had the privilege of working for a franchise supported by the most loyal fans in the NFL.”
Snyder showed his love for Cerrato in a statement, thanking him for his service.
“More importantly, he is my friend, and he has always been there for me and the Redskins,” Snyder said. “He’s the consummate optimist and has always made decisions based on what would be the best for the team.”
As for Allen, he steps into an organization that has more questions than answers. Allen said he'll take the final three weeks of the season to evaluate as much as he can.
It's safe to say part of that evaluation will include his current head coach, Jim Zorn. Once Allen was named GM, rumors started flying that Jon Gruden would soon follow. The two worked together in Tampa Bay, and Gruden's name has been associated with Zorn's current job all year. But for now, Allen said he's focusing on what he currently has to work with, not anyone outside the organization.
Gruden had this to say in a statement released by ESPN:
"Bruce Allen is a great football mind and an even better person. His background and understanding of the Washington Redskins' tradition will be a huge asset to the Redskins. He is a leader and a great fit for this job. He's a big reason why I had any success in coaching. I'm really happy for him and I wish him the best."
Sorry, Redskins fans, there was no P.S. saying, "Hire me!"
Coaches aside, the rest of Allen's time will be spent evaluating the talent on the field. Who is worth keeping and who is going to get the boot? Will Clinton Portis be back? How about Jason Campbell? What will he do with that mess along the offensive line? All good questions, and ones that will be tough for Allen to answer any time soon.
The front-office move by the Redskins comes at an opportune time for the team. The Skins play Monday night against the Giants on ESPN (hello Jon!), which will now have to talk about how the organization is shaking things up instead of talking about how bad the team has been all season.
But it also comes at an inopportune time for Cerrato, who finally seemed to be earning some respect this season for his recent draft picks and scrap-heap pickups.
Earlier this week we discussed how the team has been playing better since Cerrato stripped Zorn of his play-calling duties. We also mentioned how well draft picks Fred Davis and Devin Thomas have been playing of late, and how Campbell has been having a good season when he's not been flat on his back. Oh, and how the much-maligned offensive line has been patched back together with duct tape and large stomachs.
But this is the Redskins, an organization that doesn't make moves that make sense. So why start now? Just when confidence goes up, the team does something unexpected. And while getting rid of Cerrato was anything but unexpected, the timing of it sure was.