Friday, October 23, 2009
Zorn's future 'totally crystal clear'
By Dan Graziano
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
Pretty entertaining radio this morning on ESPN 980 in Washington, where Redskins executive vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato used his Friday show to fire back at the media and coach Jim Zorn's good friend, Steve Largent. I've had the chance to go over the transcript thanks to The Washington Post's Dan Steinberg, and there were certainly some classic moments.
After announcing that Zorn would coach the remainder of the season, Cerrato said the coach's future was "totally crystal clear." That's not how the situation has appeared from the outside, but Cerrato is entitled to his own opinion. He spent a lot of time going after Seahawks Hall of Famer Steve Largent, although he never mentioned the former congressman's name. Largent, who played with Zorn from 1976-84, blasted Redskins owner Dan Snyder during a Seattle radio appearance. At one point in his interview, Largent indicated that Snyder had set Zorn up to fail by putting him in charge of a team and coaching staff that wasn't ready to win. Here's Cerrato's response:
"Maybe his friend thought that he was protecting Jim because he thought something was going to happen to his career for whatever [reason], but I think his friend forgets this: that we were a top 5 defense [when Zorn was hired]," Cerrato said. "We had just been to the playoffs. Last year we had four Pro Bowlers on offense. And in Jim's contract, he controls everything over his staff. And the thing about it is, the other thing is that his friend doesn't mention was that Jim worked with all these coaches for a week prior to becoming the head coach, and he said during the interview, 'Those are my guys, I want those guys, those are the guys I want, I don't want to go hire anybody else.' "
As you might expect, Cerrato defended his decision/suggestion to name offensive consultant Sherman Lewis the playcaller and he said the move wasn't an ultimatum. Of course, it would've been interesting to see what would've happened had Zorn said no to the suggestion.
In the most unintentionally humorous part of Cerrato's show, he took issue with Largent's assertion that Zorn had been treated poorly by management. This led to a discussion about a trip to Snyder's home in Aspen.
"You know, the thing about it is, what's funny about that is, actually this summer, Jim and his wife were in Aspen with Dan [Snyder] and his wife, vacationing together," Cerrato said. "It's a beautiful house, and they're biking every day and going to dinner and all that. But I guess that's a miserable life right there now. I'd like to have that miserable life, you know, biking in beautiful Aspen, having beautiful dinners and everything. Actually, they were out there also and [rookie defensive end] Jeremy Jarmon, that's when he flew out and met Dan and Jim out there. So for a guy to say that we're making life difficult and relationships are bad and all those things, I think that is kind of out there a little bit."
So there you have it: Snyder's off the hook because he took his head coach mountain biking.
Update: Earlier today, Kevin Sheehan of ESPN 980 in Washington joined Erik Kuselias and Mike Golic to discuss Cerrato's announcement that Zorn would finish out the season.
Second Update: The entire Cerrato segment is available , courtesy ESPN 980 Washington, D.C. and espn980.com.