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Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
In an interview with the Washington Post that touched on several topics, Redskins executive director of football operations Vinny Cerrato said it was "crazy" to ask whether Jim Zorn would return as head coach next season. Of course, he let Zorn twist in the wind for a couple of weeks before saying anything. And given Dan Snyder's history with head coaches, it wasn't the silliest question for reporters to be asking. Not only did the Redskins completely collapse after a 6-2 start, but Zorn had a public dispute with star running back Clinton Portis and then didn't come across well during his "I feel like the worst coach in America" moment.
"Why wouldn't he be back?" Cerrato said of Zorn Monday. "[He's] learning and he's improving. Just how rookie players learn and improve, same type of steps. He's making progress."
I've been in Cerrato's office in the past and have even appeared on his radio show. He's sort of an impulsive person, and that's the kind of guy you like interviewing. Still, I think he comes across as pretty condescending in that quote. Quite honestly, Cerrato should be facing just as much scrutiny as Zorn for what has so far looked like a dreadful 2008 draft class. We applauded the Redskins for not throwing ridiculous free-agent money away and keeping their draft picks. But what did that accomplish? Strong safety Chris Horton was an excellent find in the seventh round, but so far, the three second-round draft picks have been huge disappointments. As you might expect, Cerrato defended those picks Monday.
"The guys are developing, they're improving," Cerrato said of the rookies. "When we went into the draft, we said we weren't looking for a starter at any position. We were looking for young guys to add talent and depth that could learn, grow and develop into starters. How many guys on every team are starting as rookies? I don't know that. But they're all showing promise, progress [and] what we saw in them in the draft.
"Devin is playing faster, more confident and more consistent. Devin is feeling comfortable now. I think he'll get nothing but better. I think Fred Davis shows flashes of what he can do. I think he'll be an outstanding player. Malcolm, I think in [training camp] we saw what he can do. He just needs to get a hundred percent healthy and be ready to go. I think everybody will like what they see there."
Cerrato also said that the team wasn't looking for guys to step in and start immediately. Sorry, but I don't buy that one. If Devin Thomas or Malcolm Kelly had shown even half of what guys such as DeSean Jackson and Eddie Royal have displayed, they would've had a shot at supplanting Antwaan Randle El. And tight end Fred Davis could've been a nice complement to Chris Cooley. He has pretty much been a nonfactor, though.
I agree that it's way too early to judge these guys as busts, but as the late, great Tom Landry used to say, if they're not showing any progress by their second seasons, it might be time to move on. The Redskins didn't find out a single thing about those three picks this season -- other than how fragile they seem to be.
Hate to be doom-and-gloom during the holiday season, but it's important that the Redskins hold everyone accountable for their collapse -- not just Zorn.