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Art

March 15: Vinny Cerrato

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From ExtremeSkins Staff

One of the areas fans are often unclear about is the Redskins' current process for determining team needs and then carrying out subsequent talent evaluation. We know that the process involves Coach Gibbs and his staff), you and your scouting staff, and Dan Snyder. Can you talk about the current arrangement, and/or perhaps walk us through the process that netted C Casey Rabach as an example?

Vinny Cerrato

It'd probably be easier to take you through the Rabach signing.

We have three pro scouts that grade every player on every team. Come the middle of January, once the season's over, we'll sit down and have a meeting just with the Pro Scouts. We will come up with a list of guys they've graded that are graded high enough that they feel are better than what we have and can improve our football team. We take that list then and give it to each position coach.

Say there are 10 offensive linemen for Joe Bugel to watch. There might be five tight ends. So each coach is getting a certain amount of players. They will take that list and they will grade all those players and put them in a ranking order. They take a week to 10 days to do that.

Then we will get together as all the Pro Scouts and -- if it's an offensive position -- all the offensive coaches along with Coach Gibbs. We will sit in a room and the first thing we will do is the Pro Scout will read his report and talk about the guy's background and everything. Then the coach will read his report. Then we'll watch the tape. We'll watch about three or four game tapes on every guy. When we get done watching the tape we write a report, a Redskin report. We go around the room asking everyone their opinion, write the report and come up with a Redskin grade.

We will do that with each guy. Say there's five guys. We'll watch all five. After we watch the second one (we ask) do we like the second one better than the first and we put them in a ranking order. Then when we're done with that position we take our players who are on our football team and put them in that ranking.

So, say, that we're at a position where all of our players are better than anybody in free agency, of course we're not going to try to sign anybody. But if there's a position, say we were looking at centers, and there were three guys better than anybody we have, so we know we can upgrade if we sign one of these guys.

We do that with every position and it takes about two weeks.

Follow question

It takes about two weeks to go through this process? That starts in January?

Vinny Cerrato

I'll tell you exactly, I've got my calendar right here. On January 31 this year the coaches received their list of free agents to review and to rank. Then what happens after that is we come up with a list and we have them in an order and we give it to the owner as our hit list for free agency.

Follow question

When does Dan Snyder get involved? In the Casey Rabach situation, did Dan Snyder contact the agent, did Joe Gibbs, did you? How does that work?

Vinny Cerrato

Tony Agnone was the agent. We called Tony Agnone on March 1. We came back from the combine and at 12:01 a.m. Dan Snyder was on the phone with Tony Agnone working on a deal the first day of free agency. At the same time that Dan's on with Tony Agnone the coaches are on with Casey Rabach at 12:01.

(Telling the player) we're very interested, here's how you fit in, can we set up a visit. Dan's talking contract. Then the next day the kid's coming over because he was from Baltimore otherwise we'd send the jet.

So that's when Dan gets involved

Follow question

Does having Dan Snyder involved in this way the past few seasons give the team an advantage? Many fans think Dan should stay out of it. Many fans would say Thank GOD for Dan. How do you view his participation? Does it help the team land the players that we shoot at, or does it not?

Vinny Cerrato

The best thing about having him (involved) is that the buck stops with him. Having him negotiating the deal is actually the best thing because it's his money. Otherwise if we're another team or say we're set up different where there owner's not involved we're having to call the owner where he's giving us certain guidelines of what we can go by. It's nice because (Dan Snyder) can say if he wants to pay more if he wants to go up, "Yeah, we'll do it."

You don't have to go call anybody because he's on the phone negotiating the deal so it makes it a lot easier because we don't have to go to anybody else. The buck stops with him. He's the final authority on that money.

Follow question

On the salary cap is it a process where Snyder does that or where you and the coaches are involved with that?

Vinny Cerrato

Everybody's involved because everybody has to understand it because it impacts so much of what we do because it's all about choices. If you sign this guy then how does that hurt you in the future.

Had we signed, say, Fred Smoot, how does that effect you this year, the next year and the following year? Everything we do is planned out three years. It's budgeted out three years. If you do this thing right now and it's budgeted this way and the cap numbers are this, then in the future you can't do this or you can do that.

Everything you do kind of drives the other things you can and can't do.

Follow question

With everything being budgeted out three years, how does that work where you have somewhat surprising moves with Coles? The release of Trotter the year before? How does the budgeting plan than you have in place work with the changes in systems and philsophies recently?

Vinny Cerrato

You have to stay somewhat flexible.

That's why if you sign guys like that (Coles and Trotter) and you're so tight against the cap you have no flexibility to do anything. In the case like Tennessee this past year they couldn't even dress their full allotment of players on game day because they had no cap room.

Extremeskins Staff

Mr. Cerrato, for whatever reason, you have become something of a lightning rod figure for fans of the Redskins. I'm sure you've heard the talk---he's Snyder's "yes-man" that you're his raquetball partner... he doesn't have a good track record in 2nd day draft picks ... and to your credit, you have never spoken out in your own defense. You're speaking directly to many thousands of the most passionate, knowledgeable Redskins fans on the planet at the moment. Is there anything you would like to say to address some of the things that have been said or clear up any misconceptions?

Vinny Cerrato

I don't play raquetball anymore. It's too hard on my knees.

Follow question

Did you beat Dan Snyder or did you lose to him when you played? That's the question we have to ask.

Vinny Cerrato

I won my fair share.

Follow question

Then you can't possibly be a yes man because you can't beat the boss......

Vinny Cerrato

The thing about it is the way things are done here is everybody is involved. When we do the draft and when we do free agency, it's not me. It's not my list. It's not my guy that we're picking. It's the Redskins guy.

Like I said before, we sit down as a whole group and grade these players. On our draft card on our top guys there are probably six grades (from different personnel people or coaches) so it's all cumulative when we talk about these players. When we sit in a room and we write a Redskin report, I'm filling out the report as we're talking through the guy about his strengths and his weaknesses.

What I do is I go to the coordinator or the head coach (and ask) in my summary on the report, "How does this guy fit into our team? What does he do for us?" Then we will rank the player. It is not any one person's list.

I'm not a yes man for the owner. What my job is, is to basically have everything organized to make it easy for everybody to have the right names, to make sure that everybody gets a say so on everybody that we talk about.

Follow question

Do you hear the criticism? Do you read the papers? I know it's a cliche question to ask, but, do you pay attention to what some people will say or some people will write about?

Vinny Cerrato

The thing about it is most people don't know much about me. They don't know my past. They don't know where I've been and what I've done before.

Do I read it? Well, yeah, of course you hear everything.

Do you like it? Not always.

Is it justified? People don't know because people don't know how we go through everything and what everybody's role is.

Follow question

ESPN Insider wrote the other day how teams come about their decisions. One of the things written was that pretty much was that Dan and you are the overriding people making decisions, so if Joe Gibbs wanted a player, he'd really have to sell you on it, and if he couldn't sell you on it, you guys would say yes or no. Or does Joe Gibbs have the final say? Or does Dan Snyder have the final say?

Vinny Cerrato

That's totally false.

The coach has the final say. We'll go through the whole process. We'll put everybody in an order. Then it will come down to the coach saying this is what I need or this is what I don't need.

Dan takes no say so in the player moves. He gives it all to Coach Gibbs. We all work together to come up with an answer and then the coach makes the final call. Like he says, somebody has to make the final call. He does.

He takes all the information and the thing that he does that's great is we go over it and over it and he asks everybody's opinion and everybody's opinion counts, from the trainers, to the strength coaches, to the scouts, to everybody.

He wants every opinion, every bit of information, then we'll make a good decision and he'll make the final call.

So, the Insider is totally wrong.

Follow question

From a personal standpoint, were you pleased that Gibbs came out very quickly with complimentary comments of you? Some people thought maybe he'd bring in Bruce Allen or maybe he'd bring in Rich McKay or maybe he'd bring in Ron Wolf. There was a lot of speculation that maybe your time would be done.

Vinny Cerrato

When we first talked (last year) like for six hours, the thing about it was we were both on the same page with how we liked to do things. Being very open about everything, not hiding anything and there were no secrets and it was everybody's decision, not one person's decision. Everybody was involved.

I think we were totally alike in that area. I think that's where we hit it off right from the get go because we saw eye-to-eye on how things should be done. So, yes, it's very gratifying to have a Hall of Fame coach that's won three Super Bowls that appreciates the work that I do.

Funkyalligator

How is it that every year the "media" tells the world that the Redskins will be in cap hell, but yet it never comes about...Do they not understand the basics behind the cap or is the cap as difficult to understand as the tax system?

Vinny Cerrato

It's about planning and it's about budgeting. It's about knowing what you can and can't do. The thing that we have an advantage of over most teams is that cash creates cap. Our owner allows us to spend cash which creates cap room. What we do historically is we give big signing bonuses and then small Paragraph 5s, which makes the cap number smaller, which allows you to have more players.

When you see these big signing bonuses they are spread out over seven years. What we've learned over the years is not to overpay older guys. If you'll notice all the guys we're paying larger signing bonuses to are young guys who can play out the contract so their cap burns off every year.

In a situation like Coles, which is not normal, we took a big cap hit, but by getting Chris Samuels done it allowed us to take his whole hit this year. After this year we have zero left of Laveranues' cap. We're taking over a $9 million cap hit this year, but after this season we have no more cap room of Laveraneus.

We weren't allowed to do certain things because of this. It limited some of the things we could and couldn't do, but it was all planned and budgeted out.

Follow question

On the Coles situation, you say it was planned and budgeted out. It wasn't planned last year, so it was planned at some point this year in the offseason. Was this something you guys knew was going to happen in early January, or after you started evaluating players?

Vinny Cerrato

I think it started out in early January after the season. We were just weighing options of what we could and couldn't do and what our options were on the salary cap, if we could or couldn't do anything. Then we came up with a game plan, "All right if we do this, then we can do that. Or if we do this then we have to do (something else)."

We evaluated every option that was out there. We decided that this was best for the Redskins, the option that we took, because the player had value. So we got some value in return for Laveranues leaving.

Follow question

The comments about Coles leaving and perhaps forgiving the $5 million deferred payment from his initial bonus, some fans would have said to go that route. Was that something considered?

Vinny Cerrato

The thing about it is if a player gives back money -- signing bonus money -- he's not tradeable. It did not make sense for us to cut a player that had value and get nothing in return. We had it budgeted so we could take a cap hit and we could get value for the player.

Follow question

Going back a moment to paying signing bonuses to younger guys. The immediate question asked by fans on Extremeskins would be Mark Brunell. How does he fit in?

Vinny Cerrato

The quarterback is a totally different story. The quarterback is the wildcard because you've always got to have that position. The quarterback is the one that drives the car, so he's one of the most important guys on the football team. The coach has always had a veteran and a young guy so we were looking for the veteran last year.

After we graded everybody (Brunell) was the one we felt was best for our situation.

AKM311

Any thoughts of us trading down and picking up some extra picks?

Vinny Cerrato

I think at this time you discuss everything. You look at who's going to be available at your pick. You think about trading down. You think about getting extra picks. Who's going to be there? How many guys you like at a certain position?

If there are only a couple of guys that you like, maybe you can't afford to trade down, but if there are maybe five guys at a position, then it makes sense to trade down. The thing about trading down is you have to have somebody who wants to trade up, so it's not as easy as it sounds.

You're sitting there on the clock and your phone's not ringing, you got to pick somebody. Everybody says you should have traded down. Yeah, we might have been trying, but nobody called.

When we had the second and third pick we did not receive one phone call from anybody wanting to trade up. If you look at how rookies are paid out, the Top 5 picks are extremely highly paid so not a lot of people like to trade into those slots because the money is so high.

But the money drops off a lot after five.

Follow question

Some reports have the Redskins looking to trade into the Top 5. I know you probably can't comment on the specifics of it, but is that something the team would do?

Vinny Cerrato

False. We're not looking to trade up.

Because if you trade up then what you got to look at is -- if you trade up -- how does that affect us in the future on our cap in what it costs to trade up in our budget. It makes it extremely difficult because of the cost.

Follow question

With Smoot being gone, does that change the focus of what the team might do with the ninth pick?

Vinny Cerrato

Right now we're in a stage of evaluation. Coaches and scouts are out at the workouts. We just got back from the combine two weeks ago. Once free agency kind of slows down and kind of ends (you ask), "What holes did we fill? All right, we filled those holes now what holes do we have going into the draft?" So it's like game plan number two.

Now these are our holes going into the draft and how do we fill them, so that's what we will evaluate once we get to the draft. But, right now it's still the evaluation process. We'll start meeting with scouts and coaches March 28 or basically three weeks before the draft and put the puzzle together.

We'll take all the information gathered from scouts, from the coaches, from the trainers, doctors, everybody and put it all in a big pot and then we'll come out with our list and information after that time. It's a lot of information and a lot of work and it's a grind for three solid weeks with everyone involved.

Follow question

With the owner's meetings coming up, what kinds of things can be done to continue to improve the team during that period?

Vinny Cerrato

There won't be a lot of free agency because most of the free agent stuff has been dwindling down. If we're involved with a free agent it might be somebody that gets cut or somebody like that. It's probably not going to be a high-priced guy.

What happens at the owners meetings is because all the coaches, general managers and owners are there, you can get a lot of things accomplished because all you got to do is go find the person you need to talk to face to face. Whether you want to talk about a trade, the draft, whatever you want to talk about. The people are there and they're accessible.

Follow question

Talking about the Fred Smoot situation, it was said we didn't want to pay more for him than Shawn Springs. There's a recent rumor we've heard that suggested he was held out of the last game against the Vikings by his agent so as not to hurt his value on the market, though he was cleared by the trainers. Did anything like that factor in?

Vinny Cerrato

Fred Smoot's a great guy. He loves football. He's a great competitor. Fred played through a lot of pain throughout his career here so that is not true one bit. That rumor is totally false.

Hooper

My question is about the Redskins relationship with two national reporters: SI's Don Banks and ESPN's Len Pasquerelli. For some reason, both these guys seem to go out of their way to bash the Redskins organization on a weekly, if not daily basis. And their criticism often seems mean-spirited and personal -- like they feel they've been wronged by the Redskins somehow and keep getting their revenge in their work. Do you have thoughts on this?

Vinny Cerrato

You'd almost have to ask them that question. I can't answer that one. I can't speak for them. I would be totally speaking out of turn if I answered that. You'd have to ask them.

Follow question

Let's talk about the local media. Joe Gibbs felt there was a need for him to get out and explain the situation going on with the team with the drumbeat of criticism directed at the team. How does that kind of local media behavior impact how the team operates, or does it at all?

Vinny Cerrato

I think what the coach wanted to do was get the right message to the fans and the people out there because there were so many different messages being sent by the media people that he wanted to get his message out directly so they could hear it from the Redskins' perspective, not from the writer's perspective. He wanted the Redskins statement out there from the Redskins not from the media source.

Follow question

As a former journalist, that kind of statement is troubling. The media's job is to report what the newsmakers say, not to cause the team to find a way to get the story out because it can't be told otherwise. Is this something the team has talked about that it is difficult to get the story out?

Vinny Cerrato

There's been a lot of planning and preparation in what we've done and why we do it. That was the message that the coach wanted to get out there -- why we did things from our perspective not because the media says we did them for this reason or that reason. He wanted to give the Redskins reason, why we really did it. You know, not what the newspaper thought, but what the Redskins thought and why we did it and what consequences would happen if we did a certain thing or why we didn't do certain things.

Follow question

With the Coles story, it was reported the team was going to release him. Ultimately, the reporter has stated he felt the trade for Moss is essentially the same story and it's an issue of semantics, not accuracy. When the story breaks that the team is going to release a player, does that hurt the team's chances to trade a player?

Vinny Cerrato

It doesn't help matters when they write those things. Everybody reads everybody elses papers. What happens is people say they're going to cut him so they don't have to give up anything because he's going to be released. So it does hurt the home team.

Follow question

The media shouldn't be boosters for the home team necessarily, but, they should report as accurately as possible. Did anyone talk to you before they went with that story? Do you know if they talked to anybody within the organization who could have helped them with that story before they ran with it?

Vinny Cerrato

I don't recall them talking to anybody. It's just like when they ran the Ryan Clark that he was cut story and he ended up starting half the season for us.

Follow question

With the Post of late, it seems they want to be first with a story and it doesn't really matter what the story is. If a player or agent tells them something, whether it's true or not, it seems like they run with it. Take the Samari Rolle situation as an example?

Vinny Cerrato

A lot of people use the Redskins, because we pay, to jack up the price. With Samari Rolle I don't know how many reporters I had to tell we are not involved with the guy. I guarantee you it was double digits that I had to tell we were not involved with Samari Rolle.

I don't know why (Washington was linked in every story) because I told the agent and I told everybody that asked. People form the paper say, "I know that you are involved..." and I said we are not involved with Samari Rolle. People continued to write it. I don't understand why.

Zen-like Todd

Some teams in the league, such as the Philadelphia Eagles, have made it a policy to extend the contracts of homegrown talent at bargain basement prices before they hit the free agent market. Other than the Lavar and Samuels extensions, which were of a different nature, why is it that the Redskins haven't pursued this course of action, particularly in regard to players such as Smoot and Pierce?

Vinny Cerrato

If you look at last year in free agency we that. We paid for Marcus Washington, Cornelius Griffin and those guys and people thought it was a lot. But by the time free agency was done our deals were cheap deals.

I think what you're kind of referring to is our (players).

Follow question

Right, guys like Pierce and Smoot are examples the fans wonder about.

Vinny Cerrato

With Pierce he was just a special teams guy two years ago. You still had his restricted year which was last year. This was his first year starting. It's about timing for those things also. You go back to Lavar, he was a draft pick and he got resigned. Samuels was a draft pick and he was resigned. (Guys) who had been Pro Bowlers and starters.

So, I think we have done that. With Pierce, I mean, he just hit it right. He had his best year in his free agent year in his first year starting. I mean, give him credit. Jon Jansen was another guy we did that with, that we signed. I think we do, do that.

It's hard with Pierce because he hadn't been productive. He hadn't done anything yet.

Follow question

One of the things Gibbs mentioned was guaranteeing Pierce's contract last year to show how much the team wanted him. Gibbs didn't say it, but, some have suggested he was hinting that he felt maybe Pierce owed the team a little extra loyalty. Is that something that may have been at play in the Pierce negotiations at all?

Vinny Cerrato

Last year he was restricted and he stayed with us. He could have signed a tender with Minnesota for more money but he wanted to stay with the Redskins...as a backup linebacker. I think you just got to give Antonio credit for taking advantage of the opportunity when he got it.

The agents are trying to get the best deal also. Most of it comes down to the money.

Follow question

With "core" Redskins, many fans felt that meant doing anything possible to bring those players back. But, is part of being a core Redskin maybe not taking the best possible deal?

Vinny Cerrato

What the coach said was we would do everything that we can to sign the core Redskin players. Everything possible. We went above and beyond where we had budgeted and what we could really afford with both guys. We stretched and stretched and it takes you to a point where if you stretch any futher, it's really going to hurt you later on.

If we kept stretching and stretching what would have happened wasis if anybody got hurt this year you couldn't replace them. That's how tight things would have got. You want the guys in the worst way. We went, we stretched as far as we could. We went above and beyond what we could in the budget because they'd been here and they were Redskin guys.

Like coach says we try as hard as we can to keep core guys. But, the player has a decision to make also.

Everybody liked both guys. They were both big contributors. They were both great guys. Both hard workers. Everybody liked both of them. Everybody wanted both of them back. To a point.

Utah

Vinny, being a high school coach, I spend a great amount of time teaching about character. Once you bring players in, what are some of the things the orginzation does to help promote this message, and what are some of the things that you guys do that I can point my kids too and say "here, look at how the Redskins do it"?

Where does brains and character factor in?

Vinny Cerrato

Smarts is very important and so is the character.

The way things are now and the way people change so often, you know players change and everything, a guy's got to be smart to be able to pick everything up quickly. If you like to do a lot of things offensively or a lot of things defensively, a dumb guy can't learn those things so he's going to get you into trouble. It's like you're playing with 10.

So, play with a lesser guy who's smart and you know exactly where he's going to be all the time. He's going to be doing the right things compared to a guy who's a better player but he's in the wrong place half the time so he's going to give up big plays or he's going to miss a block and get your quarterback killed.

You're better off having a lesser guy who's smart and you know exactly what you're going to get from the guy.

Follow up

About character, is it as big a deal for Joe Gibbs as the fans believe it to be, or is it something maybe blown out of proportion a little?

Vinny Cerrato

It's what you've come to believe.

We take a lot of guys off the draft board and off the free agent board if they're not the types of guys who fit in with what we're looking for. If they're going to be high maintanence, if they're going to be in trouble with the law, if they're going to cause a lot of problems, if they're not good in the lockerroom, if they're not the type of teammate that you want to have then we don't want that guy because it's hard to build a team with that type of person.

We want guys that love the game that are passionate about it. Guys that come to work every day. Guys who like to work. Guys who love value and understand the value of work and who are not in trouble off the field.

Follow up

How was the Sean Taylor situation handled? Obviously he was not convicted, ultimately, of anything, but, did it reverberate throughout the Park when he was arrested?

Vinny Cerrato

If you'll notice he did not play the next game. That was the Green Bay game. I think the same thing happened to another team with another player like a week later and they let the guy play. Sean as we know got off. He was found innocent.

I just think that we have a high standard with the type of person that you want to have. You don't want to embarrass the organization ever. Not saying (Taylor did). The thing that we do with all the free agents and with all the draft (picks) we do thorough back ground checks on everybody.

With all of our draft guys we talk to trainers, doctors, strength coaches, their coaches, teachers, their friends, I mean everybody. So, we've got a pretty good feel for what the guy is.

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I have to give my eyes a rest and will clean up any typos and mistakes I made. This thread is now open for discussion for any who have anything additional to say. Thanks for your patience while I finished this.

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This was really a great interview. He gave us a lot of information that many of us had surmised, but it's always better to hear it straight from the horse's mouth. Thanks and HUGE kudos to everyone involved. I really appreciate it.

:cheers:

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Reading this I realize it was mostly me talking to Vinny and I didn't use enough of your direct questions. If we have future opportunities for this, and we refine our systems internally, I will be sure to stick more closely with your questions. I should have gotten more in.

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Art,

Do you envision this correspondence with Vinny as possibly serving as a stepping stone/bridge towards inviting or attracting other members of the team to Extremeskins for interviews, etc....(i.e. coaching staff, players)?

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Originally posted by Canadian Hog

Art,

Do you envision this correspondence with Vinny as possibly serving as a stepping stone/bridge towards inviting or attracting other members of the team to Extremeskins for interviews, etc....(i.e. coaching staff, players)?

We're open to any access the team is willing to provide. I hope to land an interview with every single person on the Redskins, on the coaching staff, and OWNERS too :). That may never happen, but, we will always be available to allow it to happen, and working toward that goal of making things happen.

We hope we provide enough value to the team to make such chats occur in the future and with the interest of the membership that may be increasingly possible. But, if it never happens again, we are thrilled to have had this opportunity.

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Great job and thanks to all involved!!!! I am happy to have a better understanding of the proccess. Please give our thanks to Mr. Cerrato.

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I believe I have read every interview that Vinny has done since coming to the Skins... and I dont believe I've ever read one where the questions were so 'on target' as to the things that most Redskins fans wanted to know about him, and his working relationship with Dan Snyder, and the team.

My compliments to Art, the Extremeskins membership and to Vinny Cerrato for his candor and his time. I sincerely hope we will have the chance to do this again!

:cheers:

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Originally posted by Zen-like Todd

Vincenzo either misunderstood my question, or played it off Ari Fleischer style, but still, a great interview.

Yeah he did kind of beat around the bush there, but you have to give him credit for doing the interview and giving us a taste of what the front office does in the offseason. Great job byall who helped make this possible.:notworthy :notworthy

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Vinnie stood in their and took a couple of tough questions. I give him loads of credit and thank him and Extremeskins for providing such great insight into what really happens behind the scenes. :cheers:

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I might have missed it... so sorry if I did... but can you guys (staff) provide some insight as to how this interview came about? Also, any anectodal chat/etc. with Vinny before or after the interview? Any gut reaction as to what type of guy he is?

I would love to hear. Thanks...

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Thanks Art, Vinny and anyone else who got this thing going. This is one of the greatest and seemingly candid interviews I have ever seen of any front office guy in the NFL.

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Thanks to Vinny. It's got to be hard to not lash out and say "Go *uck yourself" when being accused in the media of just being somebody's lap dog. I hope to have him come back again. Soon.

And big thanks to Art for a great job. I thought it was an interesting and informative interview.

I just hope you didn't pull out the baby pictures on the first interview and scare him off. ;)

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Originally posted by zoony

I might have missed it... so sorry if I did... but can you guys (staff) provide some insight as to how this interview came about? Also, any anectodal chat/etc. with Vinny before or after the interview? Any gut reaction as to what type of guy he is?

I would love to hear. Thanks...

I won't go too deeply into it, as it's not really that interesting. Essentially I have the email for a Redskins official. I pester him 100 times a day and I think to get me to leave him alone, he let me have this interview :).

Of course, now I owe him a Cuban cigar :).

In the end, the interview came about because the site has grown so large it provided benefit to the Redskins to have this sort of interaction directly with fans. Without the leverage of that interest and community, I'd have had to promise more than a Cuban as incentive :).

Internally the Redskins were very open and gracious about coordinating this and pulling it off. A team you often see reported as closed and inaccessible to the media seems exactly the opposite here.

This kind of interview serves as a trump card to media statements for years to come and I think, ultimately, this is the kind of thing that shifts fan perception from the root level. Not every Redskin fan knows Extremeskins exists, but, you can bet in a conversation during a Tailgate between Redskin fans, someone will make a silly comment -- probably Yusuf or Al -- about Cerrato, and someone else will mention an interview here they read with him to correct the error :).

Art.

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Originally posted by Art

...I'd have had to promise more than a Cuban as incentive :).

Art.

I think the right Cuban is incentive enough for any man, as long as she wears leather and looks at least as hot as a young Gloria Estefan.

Now if you'll pardon me, I have to go down to ChiChi's, because I want to feel a little Mexican....

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Nice work Art. Very nice. I hope this will put to rest at least some of the "the 'Skins need a GM dialogue." With all that modern day player procurement entails, the GM has to be by committee. We also see the buck stops with Joe Gibbs, but only after the buck has been evaluated, graded and investigated.

For me, the comment that should really leave the neysayers befuddled is the following: " The thing that we have an advantage of over most teams is that cash creates cap. Our owner allows us to spend cash which creates cap room."

If Al Davis' tag line is "Just Win Baby." Dan Snyder's should be "Straight Cash Homey!" :laugh:

Thanks Art. :notworthy

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As I stated in another thread, well done. Great stuff. And awfully gracious of Vinnie to do the interview. Considering the names he's been called here, he has no idea just how gracious.

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Hey Coach, really good and insightful interview. I've always been harsh on Cerrato, and that might be tempered--maybe. But there was one question that I don't think got asked or drilled down enough: why oh why could we not have come up with the $6.5 million bonus over 6 years for Pierce. That is chump change, particularly if you can cut Brunell--or rework his contract--or Raymer, or Friedman or Brown or McCants, or anyone the Skins--nor anyone else--does not value in order to keep him. But here is the young guy we developed that cost the Vikings so little and seemed like he wanted to stay. None of our deep pool of LB's seem to have his acumen, so carefully nurtured. Greg Williams must be sick with his loss. So we have a whole value decision that stands in stark contrast to what we were willing to swallow in cap space to wish coles good-riddance. This reminds me of the Deion scam and suggest for future copycats: sign a big contract with the Skins, then in the early years, insult the owner and the coach, and take the golden parachute and retire when they give you the boot. Moreover, I am gritting my teeth for what we will pay for Santana Moss, when 1) we could have used a little of that extra change to keep Pierce; and/or 2) draft a receiver, Williams or the third ranked WR, who will cost less than Moss and can play more games per year per career. I still am not convinced we are making the smartest decisions on money, talent, loyalty and value.

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