Tip Sheet notes: Shanahan a D.C. option

The consensus in Washington is that, even if the Redskins continue to play poorly, typically impatient owner Daniel Snyder still won't replace second-year coach Jim Zorn before the end of the season.

The rationale is that none of the currently unemployed big-name coaches cares to jump back into the fray during the middle of a season, and waste a year with a losing team that isn't his own, rather than simply wait for a fresh start somewhere in 2010.

Still, the one component not to overlook in this scenario, and one that should not be underestimated, is the long-term relationship between former Denver coach Mike Shanahan and Redskins executive vice president for football operations Vinny Cerrato. The embattled Cerrato, who has caught plenty of heat recently from the local media, was the director of college scouting in San Francisco during Shanahan's three-year stint (1992 to 1994) as the 49ers' offensive coordinator. The two are believed to still be very close.

Many think that Snyder could have a difficult time luring a big-name sideline boss while Cerrato, his handpicked personnel expert, is still around, because any new coach would probably insist on autonomy over personnel matters. But Shanahan and Cerrato talk frequently, have worked on a few trades in the past, and might be able to coexist.

Given the recent history of in-season replacement coaches, as noted in this space last week (winning percentage of only .337 since 1970), the odds remain that Snyder won't make a switch before the 2009 campaign concludes. But if he does opt for a change, the Shanahan-Cerrato alliance could be a significant factor.

It could ultimately be hard for Snyder to ignore the fact six coaches with recent Super Bowl wins -- Shanahan, Brian Billick, Bill Cowher, Tony Dungy, Jon Gruden and Mike Holmgren -- are presently out of work.

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