Q&A With: Vinny Cerrato

The Redskins vice president of football operations talks about Norv Turner, the Senior Bowl and what the Redskins are looking for.

Q: What do you think of Norv getting the Raiders job?

A: It's great for Norv. Al Davis is looking for an offensive guy; Norv is from california and always wanted to get back to California. I think he'll be fine with keeping some of the coaches. It's a good situation for Norv. But he'll have to get a strong defensive staff. He doesn't partake in a bunch of defensive stuff and I'm sure he'll just run the offense.

Q: How was the Senior Bowl?

A: It was good. A lot of the big name higher draft pick senior guys weren't there and the juniors can't be there. It was a chance to get a look at a lot of guys who were later first rounders and then in the second round and middle-round type guys. It was good for our coaches because it was their first opportunity to get a look at a lot of these guys and talk to them. It was a good experience for our whole staff.

Q: Joe is pretty specific about what he wants, how much have you talked to him about that and how much does it help that he's so specific?

A: The biggest thing is that we've identified the types of players who fit into the offense. It helps in that respect. And then the type of person. A lot of it was very similar to what we were looking for. Now we're looking for tight ends, H-backs, more so than before. There's always a little difference between what different staffs want. We sat down before we went to the Senior Bowl and watched the offensive tapes and got a feel and we watched some of the defensive tape [Monday] so we get on the same page. It'll keep working through that through free agency and through the draft, where we'll all be on the same page. For the next two weeks our coaches will be grading free agents and then we'll sit down and meet. It'll probably take seven or eight days to give us the hit list and pecking order we want for free agency.

Q: Is what Joe wants that much different?

A: No. The biggest difference is in the tight end position, the intelligence factor. We'll have an H-back and a tight end so you have to have one guy who's a physical blocker and another guy who's a move guy who can play in different spots. They have to line up at fullback and tight end. But the intelligence is very important and the ability to catch the ball.

Q: One report suggested you wouldn't take Kellen Winslow Jr., because he doesn't fit the mold of a Gibbs tight end. Any truth to that?

A: We'll consider everything. Part of what the H-back needs to do is catch the ball. So everything will be an option. But defense is where we have the most holes right now.

Q: What are the little things you pick up on at the Senior Bowl?

A: You get an opportunity to see their practice habits and how they react if they're a defensive guy and they get beat on a play. You get a chance to sit down and talk to them in an environment that's conducive to that, where you're not in a big hurry. You get a chance to see how they react to playing against good players every day and playing in pro practices.

Q: Who are some guys you've picked in the past who opened your eyes at the Senior Bowl?

A: The best example is Terrell Owens. Coming from a small school he wasn't intimidated being down there. We ended up taking him in the third round because of that. Another was Lance Schulters in the Blue-Gray game just because he stood out. Every time you heard a big hit and looked around it was Lance Schulters. A lot of times at those games I like to see who stands out. At the Senior Bowl what you're looking at is how a small school guy reacts to playing with the big boys and you see if he's intimidated and see if it's too big for him.

Q: With Gregg Williams, do you feel you have a sense of what he's looking for in a guy?

A: It'll be what we're all looking for. But I think I have a pretty good feel and we'll get a better feel as we go along, especially when we sit down and watch the free agents and why this guy doesn't fit and why this guy does. So when we get to the draft meetings it'll be a lot easier because we've been through it one time already.

Q: Gregg is known as being adaptable so will he say get the best guy or get a particular kind of guy?

A: The best thing that the coaches do is they let players do what they do best. They take advantage of the abilities they have in the guys playing and they put them in position to make plays. As we go along we'll add more of the exact types who do exactly what they want them to do.

Q: What impresses you with Gregg's defenses?

A: The aggressiveness. The biggest thing is how they get after the quarterback and how aggressive they are and they always have a lot of guys going to the ball.

Q: Where do you see the aggressiveness?

A: In the pass rush. And there's not just one guy making a tackle. It's a group of guys.


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