The idea to hire Sherman Lewis as an offensive consultant in Washington belongs to Vinny Cerrato, the Redskins' executive vice president of football operations, but make no mistake: Coach Jim Zorn is on board with it.
Cerrato approached Zorn on Monday after the team struggled to beat Tampa Bay and when he made his suggestion Zorn said he would have no problem. "Of course," Cerrato said, "it has to be the right guy. And Sherman fit all of the qualifications."
Lewis worked for coach Mike Holmgren as Zorn worked for him. Lewis knows Holmgren's offense and what is and is not supposed to do. So hiring him, Cerrato said, was "to get a fresh set of eyes here to help the offensive coaches."
The move is similar to one San Francisco made in 1996 when Cerrato was the team's director of player personnel. The 49ers hired former coach Bill Walsh to serve as a consultant for offensive coordinator Marc Trestman, then in his second season with the club. Walsh would sit with Trestman during games and make suggestions, and the plan had mixed results: The 49ers reached the playoffs, where they won a game, but they bowed out in the divisional round to Green Bay. Carolina, then in its second year, won the NFC West.
Lewis is expected to join the team shortly and to act "as one of the offensive assistants," said Cerrato. Washington has struggled to put up points, never scoring more than 17 points in any game, and that was the season-opening loss to the New York Giants.