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Art

March 15: Vinny Cerrato

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great interview, great questions.

Very, very generous of Mr Cerrato to give the fans his time.:thumbsup:

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Originally posted by Art

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.

Actually Art, I kind of liked the flow you used. It seemed more to me that you used the posters question to start a discussion track, but then used your own as follow-ups to get a lot deeper into the train of thought.

It does make for fewer questions being able to be asked, but I feel it's what made this interview so good because you got below the surface, which is the usual dribble we get from everything else. Personally, I wouldn't want to see it change much if you got the chance again!

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The one thing I found throughout Mr. Cerrato's comments was humility - I admire that above almost all other qualities. The fact that Gibbs has raved about Cerrato and heaped praise upon him has not escaped me. I think this interview gives some credence as to just why Gibbs may hold him in higher regard than those of us who really DON'T know him. He's weathered a tough stretch of nearly non-stop criticism, and hung in there, while apparently managing no bitterness towards his critics. He sounded like a consummate class act to me.

Thanks to the big man for bringing it to us :notworthy

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Originally posted by yoskins

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.

Why would Art drill Vinny on that? That's a question for Gibbs. Gibbs is the guy who decides who is worth what and what maximum amount he wants to pay players.

And quite frankly, Gibbs has already answered it.

So I'm not sure what kind of answer you are expecting to hear... other than you seem to hold a player in higher regard than Joe Gibbs.

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Originally posted by Park City Skins

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.

Then again, he may be a member here.

Todd, is that you?

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Originally posted by Art

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.

Thank you once again... an interesting read.

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Originally posted by Tarhog

The one thing I found throughout Mr. Cerrato's comments was humility - I admire that above almost all other qualities. The fact that Gibbs has raved about Cerrato and heaped praise upon him has not escaped me. I think this interview gives some credence as to just why Gibbs may hold him in higher regard than those of us who really DON'T know him. He's weathered a tough stretch of nearly non-stop criticism, and hung in there, while apparently managing no bitterness towards his critics. He sounded like a consummate class act to me.

As Cerrato said, "They don't know me, they don't know what I've done."

Look it up: at the 49ers he was head of personnel for nine years. The team went to the playoffs 8 of those nine years and won one Super Bowl. I don't know the exact number, but many many 49ers went to the Pro Bowl during that period. He left the 49ers when DeBartalo lost the team and he, Carmen Policy and Dwight Clark - all staunch DeBartalo loyalists - were fired by the current owners DeBartalo's sister and her husband. And just how have the 49ers fared since then?

This guy knows personnel, has no ego, and just wants to his job. A far better mix than a GM-type who wants to be "in charge."

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Art,

Well done bro! Thanks! The whole interview was incredibly interesting! And you laid some real licks in terms of hard questions.

You guys do a thorough job of putting this website together from the content of information to the color scheme of the website. You guys are clearly the best and the fans here are articulate with interesting commentary and perspectives. I'm glad to be a true fan and a part of all of this.

ROD

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Great job Art. Thanks Vinny for the interview.

Like some others, I really never knew his point of view other than what 've read by other reporters which painted him as a yes-man who didn't know what he was doing. It's nice to know that we really do have a good core in the front office, and maybe it hasn't been Vinny's and Dan's fault all along for our moves(at least not fully). Looks like it's been our coaches who have made bad moves in the past and Gibbs is trying to fix it with Vinny and Dan but it's just taking a little time.

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Originally posted by andyman
Originally posted by Tarhog

The one thing I found throughout Mr. Cerrato's comments was humility - I admire that above almost all other qualities. The fact that Gibbs has raved about Cerrato and heaped praise upon him has not escaped me. I think this interview gives some credence as to just why Gibbs may hold him in higher regard than those of us who really DON'T know him. He's weathered a tough stretch of nearly non-stop criticism, and hung in there, while apparently managing no bitterness towards his critics. He sounded like a consummate class act to me.

As Cerrato said, "They don't know me, they don't know what I've done."

Look it up: at the 49ers he was head of personnel for nine years. The team went to the playoffs 8 of those nine years and won one Super Bowl. I don't know the exact number, but many many 49ers went to the Pro Bowl during that period. He left the 49ers when DeBartalo lost the team and he, Carmen Policy and Dwight Clark - all staunch DeBartalo loyalists - were fired by the current owners DeBartalo's sister and her husband. And just how have the 49ers fared since then?

This guy knows personnel, has no ego, and just wants to his job. A far better mix than a GM-type who wants to be "in charge."

Thats great stuff - thanks. NFL fans don't like to admit it, but we make a helluva lot of assumptions. I've learned the press has its own agenda and portray what they want to portray. We aren't nearly skeptical enough when it comes to what we read, see, and hear.

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Originally posted by Tarhog

We aren't nearly skeptical enough when it comes to what we read, see, and hear.

Yeah, I came to that conclusion in the past few days... especially given the recent points brought up by Andyman.

I mean... to be consistently incorrect about matters... no matter how trivial.. virtually all articles....

And for them to continually get away with that.

How can you honestly put any trust in the source?

And how many other journalists are doing that... in every article... making small mistakes... over and over. Intentionally or not.

And we just take for granted the reporting is honest.

It's actually kind of scary.

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Thanks a lot, Art.

ExtremeSkins simply rules. An exclusive interview with high level FO folks. The fact that this was even possible, let alone that is was as well done as it was... thanks again to Vinny and the ExtremeSkins staff...:notworthy

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Originally posted by Die Hard

Why would Art drill Vinny on that? That's a question for Gibbs. Gibbs is the guy who decides who is worth what and what maximum amount he wants to pay players.

And quite frankly, Gibbs has already answered it.

So I'm not sure what kind of answer you are expecting to hear... other than you seem to hold a player in higher regard than Joe Gibbs.

I didn't say drill Vinny, I'm not rude to people. I said drill down about the subject. You didn't care about losing Pierce? You don't think Gregg Williams isn't feeling the sting of this decision? You didn't think there was a choice and a contrast--given Gibb's stated philosophy about talent and value--between Coles' whole performance and demand schtick and Pierce's situation? If not, it's not worth discussing this further.

What Gibbs has said on this matter, seemingly skimply, was Skins didn't want to overpay people. My question to you and the management is: you don't think Pierce with all his upside and demonstrated play on the field, his youth and this year's generalship deserves $6.5 million over 6 years? Which free agent or current MLB could you possibly get for better value at the position (plus he's a "core" skin, already trained for the system?) I think Vinny said he's only had one year's experience. That seems abit weak vis. his 3 year apprenticeship and his incredible knowledge of the defensive system and on-field recognition--and his youth and durability. You are saying "in Gibbs we trust" and I am saying we blew this one because of the very things we care about: loyalty, value, price, demonstrated field superiority, and youth. Finally, watch what we pay for Moss and ask is that a better value than keeping Pierce. That is my point: using the touchstone of value and proven performance, Skins have not made good decisions and did not with Pierce. How much are we going to pay Courtney Brown? Couldn't some of his, moss's and Brunell's--and Portis's--bonus money be used for Pierce when you measure in the next few years how much playing time Moss, Brunell, Brown and Portis will get injury free?

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Originally posted by big_rod

Art,

Well done bro! Thanks! The whole interview was incredibly interesting! And you laid some real licks in terms of hard questions.

You guys do a thorough job of putting this website together from the content of information to the color scheme of the website. You guys are clearly the best and the fans here are articulate with interesting commentary and perspectives. I'm glad to be a true fan and a part of all of this.

ROD

Thanks Rod.

As a fan site, we have to balance the typical instinct to simply suck up when presented with an opportunity like this. As a Cerrato supporter this is even more difficult for me, conducting the interview. I'm glad some people have stated they noticed a good mix of questions, including some direct -- even tough -- ones as I was hoping to do precisely that, while at the same time being fair.

Cerrato and the team made this easy on me because as I've stated, I gave them approval to bypass any question they had a problem with and I'd never let anyone know they did. They didn't bypass any. That was very impressive in my view.

Another thing this interview does is to serve as a converversation ender to those who still lack information as to how our front office works. This is, at its root, a perception changing interview. There are portions some can easily use as ammunition for their point of view that a mistake was made. But, for the most part, after reading this, and conducting it, you are left far more secure in the way things are done than you were before.

As this was provided to fans and fans will refer to it over time, what it ultimately does is contrast false reporting now as there are no more questions as to the false nature of it. It builds a swell within the fan base of how things run, without the spin you normally see in the papers of late.

This really was a good thing I think :).

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Originally posted by yoskins

I didn't say drill Vinny, I'm not rude to people. I said drill down about the subject. You didn't care about losing Pierce? You don't think Gregg Williams isn't feeling the sting of this decision? You didn't think there was a choice and a contrast--given Gibb's stated philosophy about talent and value--between Coles' whole performance and demand schtick and Pierce's situation? If not, it's not worth discussing this further.

What Gibbs has said on this matter, seemingly skimply, was Skins didn't want to overpay people. My question to you and the management is: you don't think Pierce with all his upside and demonstrated play on the field, his youth and this year's generalship deserves $6.5 million over 6 years? Which free agent or current MLB could you possibly get for better value at the position (plus he's a "core" skin, already trained for the system?) I think Vinny said he's only had one year's experience. That seems abit weak vis. his 3 year apprenticeship and his incredible knowledge of the defensive system and on-field recognition--and his youth and durability. You are saying "in Gibbs we trust" and I am saying we blew this one because of the very things we care about: loyalty, value, price, demonstrated field superiority, and youth. Finally, watch what we pay for Moss and ask is that a better value than keeping Pierce. That is my point: using the touchstone of value and proven performance, Skins have not made good decisions and did not with Pierce. How much are we going to pay Courtney Brown? Couldn't some of his, moss's and Brunell's--and Portis's--bonus money be used for Pierce when you measure in the next few years how much playing time Moss, Brunell, Brown and Portis will get injury free?

You raise some valid issues, but I think the most salient point Gibbs makes is, its not about what you 'want' to do, or any potential individual signing...its about the team and all its parts and working within the constraints of free-agency. Obviously, in the estimation of Greg Williams and Coach Gibbs, they felt we had a bigger hole to fill at WR than we did at MLB. We probably couldn't find a better one than Pierce at that price, but that doesn't mean signing him, if it keeps us from being able to fill other crucial needs, is the best course of action. Pierce was impressive last year...whether that was an indication he's blossoming and is a future star-in-the-making, or whether it was William's scheme and coaching that made the difference (in which case Williams may be able to plug that hole rather efficiently with another up and comer) is a matter of debate. You also have to factor in the importance of making other players feel they've been treated fairly. Its hard, as a coach, to justify upping the ante significantly on 1 player who's had a good year, while not doing so for 5 or 6 other players. And that factors into this as well.

I think you raise some good questions, but I think its another thing to say Gibbs, Cerrato, and the rest of the front office haven't made good decisions? They are there every day evaluating these players skill levels and importance to the team. We aren't. Thats not to say we can't have opinions - we all do. But all opinions aren't equally valid, mine included. An opinion based on first-hand involvement trumps one without it every time.

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Originally posted by Tarhog

I think you raise some good questions, but I think its another thing to say Gibbs, Cerrato, and the rest of the front office haven't made good decisions? They are there every day evaluating these players skill levels and importance to the team. We aren't. Thats not to say we can't have opinions - we all do. But all opinions aren't equally valid, mine included. An opinion based on first-hand involvement trumps one without it every time.

So you' think the Skins have been doing a good job with off-season moves the last 2-3 seasons? Right, none of us are being paid six, seven figures for the results we're getting with the Skins. My opinion is: we haven't done a good job. You lay out the criteria of loyalty, intelligence, work ethic, longevity, proven performance, you describe the concept of "core Redskins", you turn a corner on not overpaying people, and you let Pierce go. Right, I am not being paid and my opinion, in your vernacular, does not weigh as much. You guess Gregg Williams agreed and supported the decision not to match $6.5 million for six years for Pierce and he can overcome this. I reckon another few losses of key players, blue collar types not your prima donnas, will speed Williams onto his next gig. I wouldn't blame him. We pursue damaged material with a vengence (Sanders, Courtney Brown, Santana Moss, Mark Brunell) and way overpayed, but do not reward and value a blue collar player like Pierce. What is the story with matching the Vikings' offer, paying or overpaying McCants and not playing him? And, by the way, you trade away significant high and middle round draft choices for free agents no longer with the team. So how do we reload? There has to be a system, and it has to include developing and keeping your younger and more value rated players. Also drafting would be a good idea--many teams do that. I would take Mike Williams, the Auburn WR or Rolle or Fabian Washington, or the linebacker Dereck Johnson over what we will pay Santana Moss. There are players in the draft who can stretch the field and play a whole season, but we won't be able to select one because we have holes not only at wide receiver, but on the defensive side of the ball now.

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Originally posted by yoskins

So you' think the Skins have been doing a good job with off-season moves the last 2-3 seasons? Right, none of us are being paid six, seven figures for the results we're getting with the Skins. My opinion is: we haven't done a good job. You lay out the criteria of loyalty, intelligence, work ethic, longevity, proven performance, you describe the concept of "core Redskins", you turn a corner on not overpaying people, and you let Pierce go. Right, I am not being paid and my opinion, in your vernacular, does not weigh as much. You guess Gregg Williams agreed and supported the decision not to match $6.5 million for six years for Pierce and he can overcome this. I reckon another few losses of key players, blue collar types not your prima donnas, will speed Williams onto his next gig. I wouldn't blame him. We pursue damaged material with a vengence (Sanders, Courtney Brown, Santana Moss, Mark Brunell) and way overpayed, but do not reward and value a blue collar player like Pierce. What is the story with matching the Vikings' offer, paying or overpaying McCants and not playing him? And, by the way, you trade away significant high and middle round draft choices for free agents no longer with the team. So how do we reload? There has to be a system, and it has to include developing and keeping your younger and more value rated players. Also drafting would be a good idea--many teams do that. I would take Mike Williams, the Auburn WR or Rolle or Fabian Washington, or the linebacker Dereck Johnson over what we will pay Santana Moss. There are players in the draft who can stretch the field and play a whole season, but we won't be able to select one because we have holes not only at wide receiver, but on the defensive side of the ball now.

I think what you need to do is start to TRUST Joe Gibbs. He has done this before and was very successful with it. I know it can be hard wanting the Skins to do so well then be let down year after year. But I tell ya things are a changing.

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Very interesting and informative. Nice job on the interview, and Cerrato's willingness to take on all questions was great.

I note one thing I didn't hear as Cerrato explained the evaluation process.

Through grading they rank the top 5 available guys around the league at each position, then see how our own guy ranks. If there are guys out there "better" than the existing guy they go after them.

But does the incumbent have any advantage to being the incumbent? Should he? We hear that continuity is a plus as you're trying to get a unit to work together. And you want to build a sense of loyalty. Is bringing in a new guy always better, especially if he's only marginally better?

I'm all for bringing the best players in, but I hope that the "grass is always greener" approach doesn't do harm. The Skins have had the reputation for overpaying to bring outside guys in while not ponying up to keep their own, and Cerrrato's explanation of the review and acquisition process doesn't refute that.

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Originally posted by yoskins

So you' think the Skins have been doing a good job with off-season moves the last 2-3 seasons? Right, none of us are being paid six, seven figures for the results we're getting with the Skins. My opinion is: we haven't done a good job. You lay out the criteria of loyalty, intelligence, work ethic, longevity, proven performance, you describe the concept of "core Redskins", you turn a corner on not overpaying people, and you let Pierce go. Right, I am not being paid and my opinion, in your vernacular, does not weigh as much. You guess Gregg Williams agreed and supported the decision not to match $6.5 million for six years for Pierce and he can overcome this. I reckon another few losses of key players, blue collar types not your prima donnas, will speed Williams onto his next gig. I wouldn't blame him. We pursue damaged material with a vengence (Sanders, Courtney Brown, Santana Moss, Mark Brunell) and way overpayed, but do not reward and value a blue collar player like Pierce. What is the story with matching the Vikings' offer, paying or overpaying McCants and not playing him? And, by the way, you trade away significant high and middle round draft choices for free agents no longer with the team. So how do we reload? There has to be a system, and it has to include developing and keeping your younger and more value rated players. Also drafting would be a good idea--many teams do that. I would take Mike Williams, the Auburn WR or Rolle or Fabian Washington, or the linebacker Dereck Johnson over what we will pay Santana Moss. There are players in the draft who can stretch the field and play a whole season, but we won't be able to select one because we have holes not only at wide receiver, but on the defensive side of the ball now.

You're ignoring the many GREAT pickups we've made, such as Clinton Portis, for example. I'm wagering you'd have made the same charges of mismanagement when we let Champ go and got Portis? And thats worked out very well. So have many of the moves we've made in the past several years. You may have a point with Pierce, but what I'm saying is you can't judge the franchise on a single decision. That decision has to be taken in the context of all the decisions they've made. We can agree to disagree - and when we go to the playoffs this season, I'll be classy enough not to call you out and say 'I told you so' ;)

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Yoskins,

Smoot and Pierce priced themselves out of the "core Redskin" definition. Their asking price exceeded theit value. Just that simple. As we speak, the FO is trying to hammer out a long term deal with Sean Taylor. Would you give Pierce and Smoot for Taylor? I don't mean to say the Pierces and Smoots of the NFL are a dime-a-dozen, but I'd much rather be faced with the challenge of replacing them over replacing #36. :2cents:

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