The Washington Times - February 27, 2009, 10:09AM

Just had a quick interview with Redskins executive vice president Vinny Cerrato, who’s exhliarated from having retained cornerback DeAngelo Hall and having landed the biggest prize in free agency, defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth.

“It went well,” Cerrato said in a massive understatement. “In our defense, to have a corner that can cover is extremely important because we play a lot of man so it was key to get DeAngelo. And then to help the pass rush  ….and it helps the run defense because [Albert will] take two or three blockers every time.”

While it can certainly be argued that the Redskins had a much bigger need for an outside passrusher, Cerrato believes Haynesworth makes that aspect of the defense better by his mere presence inside.

“Pass rush up the middle  is what we were looking for because if you can get
pressure on the quarterback up the middle, he can’t step up,” Cerrato said. “He’s got to go side to side and those [outside] guys will get a lot more sacks. What was happening to us was [the quarterback] would step up and have all day to throw. With [Haynesworth] collapsing the pocket, the quarterback is going to have a hard time.”
Cerrato said that he’s not worried that Haynesworth, who could also play outside on passing downs, only played well the past two seasons (14.5 of his 24 career sacks] because he was in contract years.Cerrato said Haynesworth changed after the 5-game suspension in 2006 for stomping on the unhelmeted head of Dallas center Andre Gurode.

“He said that after the suspension when he kicked Gurode, ‘I don’t like how this is
headed, I need to start a new book, a new chapter and that’s kind of what he did over the
last two years,” Cerrato said. “He said he wants to be the best that’s ever played. That’s his ambition.franchise. He came in the league at 20. He had to learn the pro game was different. He learned. He matured and improved, kinda of like [late Pro Bowl safety] Sean Taylor.”

As for Hall, “I talked to all of our guys and everybody loved [DeAngelo] in the locker room. They thought he fit in well. He was a good teammate. He studied hard, practiced hard. Everybody wanted him back. When we got him, we said if this works, we’ll give you a market deal after the season.”

Cerrato added that he has talked to cornerback Carlos Rogers — who was unhappy about being benched in December — “Carlos is fine.”

— David Elfin