Weekly Snapshots consist of quick observations from around the world of sports in three sentences or less per subject.
Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden will get somewhat of a pass with losses in that he’s playing with quarterbacks who were not on NFL rosters a month ago, but he will not get a pass on the intensity and passion that is clearly missing. My sources tell me that Jay already a long shot to keep his job after the 40-16 debacle at home against the Giants, but if there is no “fire” over the last three games, there will be one at the end of the season. I’m not yet convinced that the team has completely quit on him, but it will be confirmed at Jacksonville, in what is likely the most winnable game left on the schedule.
Another source has told me that if Jay Gruden is let go, there’s a good probability that he and Redskins President Bruce Allen will be reunited with big brother Jon’s Raiders. Allen spent nine years in the front office of the Silver and Black, has always had a soft spot for the organization, and has a home in Southern California, so it’s a move that makes sense. Whatever title they might give him, Jay Gruden is, if nothing else, a competent offensive guy who can put together an attack that gains an awful lot of yardage.
It’s clearly a quarterback league, but Aaron Donald seriously deserves some MVP votes. He currently sits just a sack and a half behind Keith Millard for the all-time record in a season for a defensive tackle, and has a great chance to surpass that mark against Arizona in two weeks, if he doesn’t already have it eclipsed against the Philadelphia Eagles this weekend. Donald implodes offensive lines by himself, and despite impressive seasons from Khalil Mack, Darius Leonard, and Danielle Hunter, Donald should repeat as the runaway winner of Defensive Player of the Year.
In the six games since arriving in Dallas, Amari Cooper has accounted for 40 receptions, 642 yards, and six touchdowns. With a go-to playmaker, Dak Prescott’s average per completion has soared, the Cowboys have reeled off five consecutive victories, and are in the driver’s seat for the NFC East crown. With Cooper being 24, Prescott at 25, and Ezekiel Elliott just 23, Triplets 2.0 will likely be a nightmare for opponents for the next decade.
Kris Richard has brought a lot of passion, discipline, and accountability to the Dallas defense, and should be in line for a head coaching job next year. Defense may not be what sells tickets these days, but leadership and organization are prerequisites for the position. The architect of the Legion of Boom, Richard is popular with players and should be able to recruit via free agency wherever he lands.
Christian McCaffrey is less than 80 yards from being just the second white running back to go over 1000 yards in the last 30 years. It shouldn’t matter, but it’s fascinating to see how skill positions such as quarterback, wide receiver, and perhaps now running back are moving away from racial designations that have limited too many people for far too long. In the last 25 years, players such as Jason Sehorn and the late Steve McNair have told stories of how they were repeatedly asked to change positions, so hopefully the powers that be in the NFL will continue to open their eyes to what a player can bring to a position based on merit.
Congratulations to Harold Baines and Lee Smith for being elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Baines was steady if not spectacular in the steroid era, and was oftentimes the only threat in the White Sox lineup. From his slow walk in to the mound to his blistering 100 mph fastball, the 6’6” Smith is perhaps the most intimidating closer to ever play the game, and should have been in Cooperstown 15 years ago.
With Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber on the block, the Cleveland Indians are looking to go younger and cheaper quickly. Bauer emerged last season with a 2.21 ERA, 221 K’s, and a WHIP of 1.09. Kluber is a two-time Cy Young Award winner who is the ace on at least 25 teams.
I just missed last week, but I want to congratulate Seattle on joining the NHL family. This is such a logical fit, and should have happened a couple of decades ago when the League was expanding into the Sun and Bible Belts. I hope that the Association takes notice of what I expect to be nightly sellouts, because the Emerald City also deserves the return of their beloved SuperSonics.
An NBA source tells me that Juwan Howard is in line to become a head coach sooner rather than later. He was one of the most fundamentally sound big men in the modern game, and that consistent, workmanlike approach transitions well from the paint and the post to the whistle and clipboard. Howard has always related to players from around the world (his friendship with Gheorghe Muresan produced some of the funniest things I’ve ever seen or heard in a locker room), and I’m told that the former Fab Fiver will likely have his pick of several openings next offseason.
As the game continues to emphasize ball movement and fluidity, it’s going to become harder for Carmelo Anthony to latch on with anyone. The joke has been repeated countless times that you can’t spell “Carmelo” without “me” in the middle, but I believe he can still be a sixth-man spark and extend the bench of a contender. If he doesn’t get picked up by the All-Star break, I’d expect a press conference announcing the retirement of one of the great scorers of the 21st century.
Originally from Washington, D.C., I have an extensive background in marketing, media, and communications. My career began with WTEM (ESPN Radio) in Washington, and went from there to an NBC News affiliate in Virginia to produce “Virginia Tech Sports Today.” After returning to WTEM to produce talk shows and live game broadcasts, I accepted an offer to become executive producer/director of operations for a major non-profit in San Francisco, where I established a strong lineage of guest speakers for a weekly talk show.
I am a passionate follower of many sports, including baseball, basketball, football, Italian soccer, boxing, and college sports. My favorite teams include the San Francisco Giants/49ers, Washington Redskins/Wizards (BULLETS!!!), and Capitals. My favorite sportswriter is Michael Wilbon, whom I would occasionally provide updates to as the overnight guy at Sports Talk 980 in the days before .coms.
I am a summa cum laude graduate of the University of San Francisco, and can be found sitting courtside at many of my beloved Dons home games. I holds an MBA from Babson College with an emphasis in entrepreneurial marketing, where I engaged stakeholders, and executed planning strategies for business growth. Given my career trajectory, I have a list of favorite coaches to go along with favorite players, including Joe Gibbs, Vince Lombardi, John Wooden, John Thompson the elder, Earl Weaver, Bruce Bochy, and Mark Jackson.