Diner morning news: A change for the ‘Skins
QUOTE: “Just because everything is different doesn't mean anything has changed.” -- Irene PeterAttending the Bruce Allen press conference Thursday at Redskin Park, during which he was named the team’s new executive vice president and general manager, the one clear point made by owner Daniel Snyder that is was “time for a change.” A change from the past regime, a change from former employee/family member Vinny Cerrato being the main spokesman for the team, a change from Snyder being attached to Cerrato, a change from the status quo, a chance to rebrand the team. As Clemenza told Michael Corleone in “The Godfather,” “These things gotta happen every five years or so, ten years. Helps to get rid of the bad blood.” The bad blood that everyone seems to attach to Cerrato had to be removed. He might be viewed as the villain, but in fairness to Cerrato, I’m sure he was doing his job as the owner told him. But as we all know, owners never get fired.
These changes had to happen when the team continued to lose, continued to displease its fan base and when everyone continued to point the blame at the owner. So once again, Snyder does what he has always done when he’s in a public relations jam -- he brings back someone from the old regime. Snyder knows his audience in Washington, and he knows what will make them happy — or at least keep them off his back. This time, he brings back the son of a former coach, George Allen, who can help him handle the public relations element, who can bring back the old guard and whom everyone in the Redskins family loves and respect. Having been with Bruce at the Raiders, I know he loves the ‘Skins and has always wanted to be a part of the franchise. He grew up on Redskins football. He’ll be a link to the past and a link the future.
Cerrato was doomed for many reasons, but for me, his demise came after Marty Schottenheimer, the former Redskins coach, went public with his criticism of Cerrato. Schottenheimer was truthful about his feelings and about how Cerrato’s relationship with the owner impeded the power of the head coach. These public comments -- which everyone in the NFL already knew -- placed Snyder in a tough bind, but they also would have placed the incoming coach in a tougher bind. If the new coach accepted Cerrato — in any role -- after what Schottenheimer had said, then he would appear weak. He would appear to have no power in the organization, which would make him weak to the players. At this point, the decks had to be cleared and Cerrato had to go — allowing the new coach to enter with a clean slate.
So what does the future hold for the ‘Skins under Allen’s leadership? Well, since Allen has all the titles, with the exception of team president -- a title former head coach Joe Gibbs once held -- he can still lure a big-name coach and give him the title of president, but his name won’t be Jon “Love You Bro” Gruden. I suspect in about three weeks, I might be back in the same meeting room for another announcement after the firing of current head coach Jim Zorn. Based on what I’m hearing — in the league and in Washington -- Mike Shanahan might be the next coach. There are many things that could happen between now and the end of the season, but from my sources, Shanahan seems primed and ready to be Zorn’s successor.
At the press conference, it was never really defined how much Allen was in charge. So how is it possible that Shanahan would come to work for him? Easy. Allen is very coach-friendly — he will defer to the head coach, just as his father wanted the people working around him to. Remember, he’s the son of a coach, with a great respect for the coaching profession. So I could easily see him and Shanahan working well together -- but with Shanahan in control of the team, while Allen makes sure he gets things done for the coach. Don’t forget, Shanahan can become the president/head coach. Bruce wants to win and Snyder will spend money on a big-name coach. Both of those items can be accomplished with one hire -- Mike Shanahan.
Besides the “time for change” theme at Redskin Park, the other theme seemed to be “stay tuned for more -- after the season.”
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Will Cerrato's departure breathe life into the Redskins? Check out this article from Bleacher Report to find out.