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Cerrato Out, Allen In

By Mark Solway | December 18th, 2009

In what most Redskin fans would classify as an early Christmas present, Vinny Cerrato resigned as the Washington Redskins executive vice president of football operations on Thursday. It is the end of an era – an unsuccessful, often painful era.

While many have, and will continue to be, quick to point to Cerrato’s dismal track record and dismiss him as a failure, there are many that believe that he did his job well. His job was to take the brunt of the blame for an owner that loves to play fantasy football with his billion dollar toy, and seldom does well at it.

Others seem to believe that Cerrato is the one to blame and that Daniel snyder has just been naively buying into Vinny’s grand plan. Does that really sound plausible to Joe Q. Redskin Fan?
Cerrato is out (or is he?), so it doesn’t matter what the dynamic was – all that matters moving forward, is what the new dynamic is going to be.

Enter Bruce Allen.

There are one or two generations of Redskin fans that the name Allen might not mean much to, but there are also a couple of generations that still equate the name with tough, gritty Redskin football. Bruce Allen is the son of the late George Allen (1918-1990) – the man who stood on the Redskin sidelines as coach from 1971 – 1977.

Bruce was introduced yesterday at a press conference as the new executive vice president and general manager for the Redskins. He comes to the Redskins with a very storied 15-year NFL history, having served with both the Oakland Raiders (1995 to 2003), and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2003-2009).

The real key to Allen’s success, as far as most Redskin fans are concerned, is the relationship that he will have with team owner Daniel Snyder. Obviously having worked with Al Davis in Oakland, Allen is no stranger to, uh, hands-on owners. Allen and Davis got along together well, but it’s believed that Allen’s role was largely business oriented. Is that what his role will be in Washington?

If so, will that in any way change the ways of a, uh, hands-on owner?

Aren’t Redskin fans clamoring for a scenario that takes the football decision making out of the hands of Snyder?

Does this accomplish that?

Or does it open the door for the Redskins to bring in someone like Mike Shanahan and give him personnel decision status? If so, won’t that relationship with Snyder be equally or even more important, to what is perceived by fans as the successful formula required?

I’m not trying to be a killjoy and we as Redskin fans are all pretty excited that Vinny isn’t the guy anymore; but remember that sleight-of-hand always requires a distraction. When you’re busy watching the right hand, the left hand is often hard at work creating an illusion.

I firmly believe that until the Redskin organization is having football decisions made by football people that are capable of making them, they are destined to keep repeating the same cycles of failure.

The hiring of Allen CAN be the start of fixing this franchise; but it isn’t really any more than half of an equation right now. What shakes out in the next few months will be very interesting to watch, as there are still a lot of questions to be answered.

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