Redskins' saga lets Vick slip into D.C.

Who would have thought that a convicted felon recently released from prison, playing for a trendy Super Bowl pick, coming to the nation's capital for a Monday night game, would barely register on the hype-o-meter?

Thank Dan Snyder's Washington Redskins and the Philadelphia Eagles' uneven offense for the situation that permits Michael Vick essentially to fly under the radar in the closest trip to his hometown this season.

Vick has been no factor for the Eagles, outside of practice. In fact, his role seems to have diminished as the season has unfolded.

He was in for 11 plays against Kansas City on Sept. 27 in the first game back from his suspension. He got in for only two plays in a 13-9 loss to the dreadful Raiders last weekend.

Vick's numbers are practically non-existent: In the three games before Monday night's affair against the Redskins, he was 1-for-5 passing for 1 yard, and had six rushes for 13 yards.

Coach Andy Reid has said that the Eagles might have gotten more out of Vick than he expected thus far, given the quarterback's two-year, federally supervised hiatus in the wake of his dogfighting scandal.

Reid and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg still insist that Vick will become a more important cog in the offense.

To Vick's credit, he has talked repeatedly about exhibiting patience and being willing to accept whatever role the Eagles have for him.

Patience is in short supply in Washington. The Redskins' 2009 talking points are well documented: bad record; brutally stagnant offense; neutered head coach; apprehensive locker room; vilified leadership; angry fan base.

Some wonder if this season isn't the culmination of a decade's worth of questionable personnel and roster moves under Snyder, the gajillionaire owner who loves the fans so much that he's alienating them in droves.

What's going on with the team now looks like the football equivalent of putting crazy Uncle Murray in charge of Thanksgiving dinner. It might all work out, but you're more likely to get yam-encrusted turkey legs and beer-soaked cranberries on the back porch at 10 o'clock at night.

The town is in full-throated anguish, from former Redskins players and icons — John Riggins compared Snyder's ownership tenure to "a hostage situation" — to disgruntled fans who gripe that they can't even unload game tickets on eBay because of a market glut.

Awkward Alert: The Redskins honored former special-teams standout Brian Mitchell by placing his name on the stadium's Ring of Fame at halftime Monday.

Mitchell has been increasingly critical of the Skins' front office in the past couple of years, to the point where Snyder fired him from his talk-radio gig on the Snyder-owned Redskins network.

Congratulations, Brian, thanks for the memories. Now please zip your cakehole.

To recap, Skins chief personnel henchman Vinny Cerrato, undoubtedly with Snyder's blessing, pulled head coach Jim Zorn's play-calling duties following last Sunday's dismal 14-6 loss to Kansas City – their third loss this season to a previously winless team (not counting the season opener against the Giants).

Play-calling was given to Sherm Lewis, who was hired as a "consultant" just three weeks ago.

Lewis, a respected offensive assistant coach in the league for many years, had been retired for the past four years. Most recently, he was volunteering at a senior center near his home in Detroit, calling Bingo games (One joke circulating among the local press wiseguys was that Lewis's first play call would be "B-23").

Lewis was installed as play-caller just hours after the Skins' loss to the Chiefs, but Cerrato waited until Friday to deliver a vote of confidence about Zorn — a tepid vote, but still a vote.

Zorn is the head coach for the rest of this season, and hopefully into the future, Cerrato said on his radio show on Snyder's network — a talk-radio show, by the way, that no longer takes listener calls.

Decide for yourself how much credence to give to Cerrato's statement, as well, given that his boss fired Norv Turner with a 7-6 record and just one year removed from a playoff appearance, and he fired Marty Schottenheimer after he won six of his final eight games in his only season in Washington.

Zorn appears to be dead coach walking. The players don't know what to make of the leadership situation. The season spirals into the dumper and the meat of the schedule awaits.

Vick's situation certainly isn't ideal. Any time his frustration bubbles over, though, all he has to do is look 21/2 hours south to the nation's capital and give thanks.

Dave Fairbank can be reached at 247-4637 or by e-mail at For more from Fairbank, read his blog at

Eagles-Redskins late Monday's Eagles-Redskins game ended too late for this edition. Visit for the result and more Redskins coverage.
Coming Wednesday Dave Fairbank writes about the aftermath of Monday night's Eagles-Redskins game.

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