The Redskins' Dan Snyder Has Become The Raiders' Al Davis Jr.

Chris CluffCorrespondent IIOctober 23, 2009

CANTON, OH - AUGUST 3: Owner Daniel Snyder of the Washington Redskins checks the field before play against the Indianapolis Colts in  the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game at Fawcett Stadium on August 3, 2008 in Canton, Ohio.   (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Just when we were getting comfortable with the fact that there wasn’t a worse owner in the NFL than Oakland’s Al Davis, along comes Washington’s Dan Snyder.

Sure, Snyder has been at the bottom of the ownership barrel for some time, keeping company with the NFL’s dregsDavis, Detroit’s William Clay Ford, Cleveland’s Randy Lerner, Buffalo’s Ralph Wilson, Cincinnati’s Mike Brown, and Arizona’s Bill Bidwell.

But if we didn’t know any better, we’d swear Snyder had handed control of his Redskins to Davis. This whole Jim Zorn fiasco is a bit of déjà vu, a la the Davis-Lane Kiffin debacle last year.

Like Davis, Snyder was an idiot to hire a coach who had never even been a coordinator in the NFL. How often has that ever worked out? Herman Edwards? Nope. Rod Marinelli? Not even close. Raheem Morris? Not looking like it. Tom Cable? That’s funny. Kiffin? Funnier yet.

Then, like Davis, Snyder is surprised when it doesn’t work out? And, like Davis, he tries to make working conditions so bad that the coach quits. 

How asinine is it that Snyder and his right-hand doofus, Vinny Cerrato, first hired Zorn to call offensive plays and now are taking away the very duties they hired him to perform?

And how ridiculous is it that they are giving those duties to a guy (Sherm Lewis) who has been out of the NFL for five years? Didn’t that strategy already fail when the Redskins brought Joe Gibbs out of retirement?

Hall of Famer Steve Largent’s comments to KJR the other day were dead on.

“To think that you can bring a guy in from a retirement center who is pulling out Ping-Pong balls in the bingo games…bring him down here for two weeks and say, ‘You are going to call the plays for the next game against the Philadelphia Eagles, a division opponent, on “Monday Night Football,” ‘ and think that is going to be successful, that is a joke.”

Largent, Zorn’s longtime friend and former teammate in Seattle, also said he thought Snyder was trying to force Zorn to quit by having Cerrato take away his play-calling duties. If Zorn quit rather than get fired, Snyder would not owe him the balance of the five-year, $15 million contract he signed last year.

To show just how dysfunctional and delusional the Skins are, Cerrato is trying to paint a happy picture.

“Jim Zorn is the head coach of the Washington Redskins and will be for the rest of this season …  and hopefully into the future,” Cerrato told reporters today.

Is there anyone dumb enough to think Zorn will be in Washington after this season?

Cerrato admitted organizational frustration but claimed “the relationships internally within this organization, quite frankly, remain the same.”

Yep. Dysfunctional as always.

Some think Zorn should quit rather than be embarrassed and emasculated in front of the entire football world. Largent said Zorn considered it but chose not to abandon his team and assistant coaches, even though he had almost no say in putting together his staff or team.

“He inherited everything that he has to work with today and yet all the blame is being laid on his feet because he can’t make them a Super Bowl champion,” Largent said, “which I could have told you two years ago, they don’t have a Super Bowl-quality team. And so it doesn’t matter how good a coach you have, you are not going to get there with the players the owner gives you.”

We completely agree that Zorn was doomed to fail in Washington. But he was kind of backed into that corner by Seahawk president Tim Ruskell.

Ruskell wouldn’t guarantee Zorn a spot on Seattle’s coaching staff after Mike Holmgren resigned and Jim Mora took over. So Zorn scrambled to find some job security and landed in Washington as the Redskins’ offensive coordinator, even though they had no coach.

That was the first sign that Snyrato had no clue. Then they were surprised that not many people were interested in coaching a team that already had all of the assistants lined up and that wouldn’t give the coach much say in personnel matters.

So they offered the head gig to Zorn, who really had no choice but to say yes even though he surely knew he was not qualified or ready. When you’re offered the coaching position for one the NFL’s 32 teams, how do you say no?

Word is Cerrato wanted a weak coach so his power wouldn’t be undermined again, like it was with high-profile Snyder coaches Marty Schottenheimer (who actually fired Cerrato in 2001), Steve Spurrier and Joe Gibbs.

Cerrato really comes across as a completely clueless power monger. And if Snyder ever wants to have a winning season again, he needs to get rid of that guy pronto. And give up football control to a guy who knows what he’s doing.

It sounds like that’s all but a done deal already, with constant rumors that Mike Shanahan is poised to come in after the season to replace Cerrato and Zorn. And that really is the best move Snyder could make if he no longer wants to be thought of as Al Davis Jr.

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