Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Versus Cowboys, After Further Review

Wants a head job so bad he believed what they said

Day and a half later and a few things stand out from Sunday night's latest debacle, the game fifteen shutout versus the Cowboys:

Nothing new to say about the team's play. Same shitty blocking which of course leads to terrible offense overall. The running game was a big fat zero and unlike the Giants blowout the game was never out of reach until the fourth quarter. No running, no run blocking.

In the passing game quarterback Jason Campbell was only sacked three times, was beat up about as bad as any game this season, including a poster quality back arching blindside hit from Dallas cornerback Orlando Scandrick who came around the left edge unblocked. The abuse and crappiness of this season finally caught up with Jason, in an interview after the game with Comcast SportsNet's Kelli Johnson, Jason said about his treatment, he has been hit so much that is not even fair.

His coach, Jim Zorn, offered Jason no comfort, saying basically, tough shit. Now it looks like Jason is somewhere between resigned to moving on and ready to get the hell out of dodge.

There was a ginormous, precedent setting reveal Sunday night. In the fourth quarter NBC's sideline reporter Andrea Kremer told us how the Redskins laid the groundwork for actual general manager Bruce Allen to arrive so quickly and so publicly after the departure of shadow general manager Vinny Cerrato.

Beginning with this past offseason the NFL began requiring teams to interview minority candidates for top management positions in compliance with the Rooney Rule, in place already since 2003 for head coaching positions. At some point prior to Vinny's announcement of departure and Bruce's announcement of hiring, which were just two hours apart on Thursday 17 December 2009, the team interviewed then director of professional personnel Morocco Brown, who is black, for the general manager position. As far as we know Morocco is still in place even though his old boss Vinny Cerrato is gone.

That interview was approved by the Fritz Pollard Alliance, the organization that regulates NFL compliance with the Rooney Rule. So approved, prior to the incumbent's departure, it gave Dan Snyder a free hand to execute the move he wanted with the timing he wanted and there you have the story of the latest white guy to run a football team.

But that was not all, there was another reveal, it was as precedent setting in a much more high profile way because it involved the head coaching position.

And that was that Jerry Gray has interviewed for the head coach position. Despite its not being vacant. And being currently occupied by a guy who would more or less be his boss, Jim Zorn.

This in and of itself is not a huge reveal, as the football community more or less already knew this. Jerry had been evasive and had not done himself any favors in getting ensnared in Dan Snyder's web, and Sunday night was just the confirmation.

What has been most interesting since Sunday night has been the Keystone Kops series of confirmations and nonfirmations about what has happened. Basically Jerry Gray cannot get his story straight, the NFL wants to say nothing and the Fritz Pollard Alliance is like dude he totally interviewed and we consider the interview compliant with the rule. Here is a sample from Pro Football Talk:

In subsequent exchanges with [NFL spokeshole Greg] Aiello, however, it became apparent that the league has some discomfort regarding attempts to comply with the Rooney Rule with respect to head-coaching jobs that aren't yet vacant.

Specifically, Aiello pointed out that a team "can't be non-compliant if there is no vacancy." Asked whether this also means that a team can comply if there's no vacancy, Aiello said, "Not officially. That is why we are not commenting on it. Jim Zorn is the head coach. As you noted, the rule is silent on whether there must be a vacancy before there can be compliance."

But, again, it's silent because the rule presumes that a team would be looking for someone to fill a job only once the job is open.

Really? I mean for real? Do we all understand what just happened here? A precedent has been set, that the NFL and the external body regulating the application of the Rooney Rule approved, that explicitly permits teams to conduct sham interviews before vacancies exist in order to clear the way for preferred non minority candidates. As if the Rooney Rule by its nature did not already encourage tokenism, now it is a complete sham.

So with the benefit of retrospect in the Vinny Cerrato Morocco Brown Bruce Allen charade added to the speculation that a contract may already be in place for Mike Shanahan to coach the team, I would feel pretty used right now if I was Jerry Gray.

More on what it means for Jerry Gray and the Rooney Rule tomorrow. Here is a hint, both are about done.

Jerry Gray: uncredited image from here via here.