- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 12, 2009

As we draw closer to the end of another season of dysfunction and discontent for the Washington Redskins, all signs point to yet more D&D; ahead next year.

The collapse of the team earlier this season led some observers to think that the powers that be finally would have to change the way the organization does business.

The turmoil surrounding Redskins owner Dan Snyder and executive vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato had become a national story, with fans making public displays of anger at FedEx Field during games.

But it takes tremendous energy to hate something you desperately want to love. The perception that the Redskins played hard and played better the past three weeks in narrow losses to good teams has quieted the savage fan base enough that some now believe the organization is not far removed from being a winner.

In other words, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” as Snyder said several years ago when asked in the wake of Joe Gibbs’ resignation about whether he would hire a general manager.

Based on developments this week, management still believes it isn’t broke.

According to reports in The Washington Post, Snyder and Cerrato three weeks ago went on a scouting trip to see Texas quarterback Colt McCoy. Now, that was the same weekend the Redskins were in Dallas to play the Cowboys, so perhaps it isn’t unreasonable for the two men to go to a Texas game while they were in the state.

But if the reports are accurate, they nevertheless show two men still very much connected and working together. That, combined with a report that Cerrato recently met with Notre Dame quarterback Jimmy Clausen, would seem to indicate business as usual at Redskin Park.

It’s going to take more than a few losses and protest signs to change that based on what former Redskins coach Marty Schottenheimer said on Sirius radio this week.

“When you send Dan out along with Vinny Cerrato, Vinny’s going to tell him whatever he thinks Dan wants to hear,” said Schottenheimer, who coached the Redskins in 2001 and had fired Cerrato shortly after his arrival. “Dan, God love him, I don’t know that the analysis and evaluation of quarterbacks is necessarily down his alley.

“I’ve said for a long time, in my opinion the problem down there - obviously, it starts at the top with Dan - but [the problem] is Cerrato,” Schottenheimer said. “I don’t particularly respect the guy. He and I had our issues when we were there. Basically what he said was, ‘Marty, Dan may be listening to you during the preseason,’ he says. ‘But wait until I get up in the owner’s box during the regular season, and then we’ll see who Dan listens to.’

“Now how’s that? How’s that? And of course, he was gone within the week but rehired shortly after I departed. So now, Dan, he’s made his choice [some] time ago, but I’m not a big fan of Cerrato and his work.”

If that is how Vinny Cerrato operates - and an indication of how close he is to Snyder - Cerrato’s not going anywhere.

Remember, only reports of an FBI investigation finally prompted the Lerner family to get rid of Nationals general manager Jim Bowden, who had a similar relationship with team owner Mark Lerner.

c Listen to “The Sports Fix,” co-hosted by Thom Loverro and Kevin Sheehan, from noon to 2 p.m. weekdays on ESPN 980 and espn980.com.

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