- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 23, 2009

So what did we learn from the New York Giants’ 45-12 beat-down of the Washington Redskins on Monday night at FedEx Field?

Was Vinny Cerrato really the straw that stirred the drink around here? Was it Vinny Cerrato who inspired the Redskins to play better the previous five weeks - even though they had lost three of those games?

Was Vinny Cerrato - the erstwhile beleaguered executive vice president of football operations, who unexpectedly resigned Thursday - the rudder of this ship, and did we witness Monday night a rudderless ship?

Hey, let’s face it: From nearly all accounts, the team played better after Cerrato brought in offensive consultant Sherm Lewis and took the play calls away from coach Jim Zorn. And hey, let’s face it: The only thing of consequence different about the team Monday night was the absence of Cerrato, who was replaced last week by Bruce Allen.

Heck, the Redskins defense that ran on the field Monday night for the pregame introductions had two of the star players it had been missing for much of their run of so-called success: defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth and cornerback DeAngelo Hall. (A tip to Redskins management: If you’re going to make Haynesworth run on the field for pregame introductions, let the offense start the game if you win the coin toss. The big fella needs some recovery time after coming out of that tunnel.)

So with Haynesworth and Hall in the lineup, they should have played even better.

Boy, they really must have missed Vinn

This, of course, is ridiculous. Monday night’s game should be a wake-up call about the misguided kudos Zorn received during the team’s delusional run of success.

Of course the players seemed happy under Zorn. Of course there was no grousing, no infighting, no tension. If you can live with losing - and, let’s face it, few players sign big contracts to come to Washington to win - life has been good for players under Zorn. If players don’t want to practice, they don’t practice. No one gets benched for poor performances - save, of course, for a kicker. But cutting Shaun Suisham was probably Cerrato’s decision, not Zorn’s. And Zorn is a nice guy, a likable man. He would make a great neighbor.

Players would probably love for Zorn to return, to keep the status quo - no accountability. Losing is an unfortunate byproduct of that, but it’s not as if Zorn was making anyone in that locker room feel particularly uncomfortable about being a losing team. Bill Belichick in New England made his players feel more uncomfortable about being 7-5 than Zorn did his team about being 3-9.

So if there was one purpose served by the 45-12 debacle, it should be that it puts to rest any notion outside Redskin Park that Zorn should return. I seriously doubt that idea was alive and well inside Redskin Park, where reports circulated this week that members of Zorn’s staff were interviewing for his job.

Zorn didn’t want to answer questions about his future at his Tuesday news conference.

“I try not to be an investigative reporter,” he said. “I try to be the head football coach.”

You know what the great Steven Wright said about trying? “I was trying to daydream, but my mind kept wandering.”

Jim Zorn himself couldn’t have said it better.

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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