Gary Myers' new book, Coaching Confidential, apparently contains a chapter that should be of great interest to Washington Redskins fans, as it sprung from an apparently lengthy interview with Redskins owner Dan Snyder. Gary got Snyder to talk to him about the reasons for the hirings and firings of past Redskins coaches, including Marty Schottenheimer, Steve Spurrier and Jim Zorn, and to explain that the reason he fired GM Vinny Cerrato was because Cerrato did a poor job of protecting Snyder from himself. Per Dan Steinberg:
On Jim Zorn: "The general manager needs to prevent the owner from hiring someone who's not qualified. And that's why Vinny is no longer here, to be truthful with you. He's not here because his job was to prevent the owner from hiring a not-qualified coach. Having said that, we went in and had the worst two-year experience I ever dreamed. I apologized, according to my wife, ten thousand times. I apologize openly. I made a big mistake. It's a terrible experience when you know you got the wrong guy to lead the franchise."
The reason I found this interesting was because several people, when I spent time around the Redskins this past season, told me they thought that current GM Bruce Allen acts as a critical buffer in the Redskins' current power arrangement. The thought is that Snyder is, essentially, as off-the-wall as ever behind the scenes but that Allen absorbs it and deflects it away from coach Mike Shanahan and keeps Snyder from going public with or acting on his impulses. Snyder contractually promised Shanahan that he'd stay out of the spotlight and let Shanahan build and run the team his way, and he appears to have kept that promise. It's possible that the reason he's been able to do so is that he has the kind of GM he didn't think Cerrato turned out to be.