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Rollin' Wit Da Danny

The Danny is back.

I saw him Wednesday night for the first time this training camp, with his usual pre-season posse. Maybe he's been around a time or two earlier this summer and I just missed him, but regardless, Dan Snyder's definitely no longer a constant presence around the team like years past. The owner just has not been seen much since the middle of last season.

Joe Gibbs came here and the team got good and Snyder began buying up theme parks and radio stations, so it's a natural progression. My first training camp covering the team, 2004, Snyder was in a suit and tie most every practice, either in a golf cart, under a tent or on the sidelines, watching intently. You couldn't miss him - the short guy in shades and the boardroom outfit - and sometimes he seemed close enough to the action to call a play or two if he so desired.

That's all changed. The limo is no longer ever-present in front of Redskins Park. He rarely makes any public statements and is no longer a fixture at practice. All of this, of course, would reflect Snyder's overall pleasure with the direction of the organization under Gibbs after years of foundering. That's why Wednesday night's sighting caught some of us off guard. We'd kind of become accustomed to him not being here.

Snyder's buddy, George Michael (the one from the Sports Machine, not Wham!) was back in the Entourage driving the elongated golf car, like Turtle taking Vinnie Chase to an audition. Snyder's wife was along as well, and the owner's right-hand man, Vinny Cerrato, was half-hanging out the ride, taking shotgun. Gibbs, no longer needing to be in the heat of every offensive play with Al Saunders here, took some time to chat with Snyder's wife during the session, while the ball was being flung around no less (that just would not have happened in the past).

Snyder looked relaxed in his Redskins' polo shirt and sweats (he's still rocking the shades, even though the sun was fading by the start of the 7 pm practice), and he and his wife had a long chat with Joe Bugel as the players began filtering off the field. It was all very casual and cordial. Lots of laughing and chuckling.

No one should take Snyder's reduced profile as any indication of a diminishing, passion, however. Plenty of people have told me he takes losses as hard as ever, and he's still crazy animated during Sunday afternoons. He's driven to get that Super Bowl ring, and he's probably closer to it than he's ever been before.
Is he close enough? We'll see come January.

By Jason La Canfora  |  August 10, 2006; 4:10 PM ET
 
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Comments

Is there any other owner in professional sports who rooted so hard for a team growing up that once he got rich, he had to go out and buy that team?

Syder may deserve his reputation as a jerk, but he doesn't get nearly enough credit for buying the team he loved, instead of every other owner who loves the team he owns.

Posted by: mugamack | August 10, 2006 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Snyder is the man. I love this guy. He puts so much money into the team and coaching staff. I'd rather have a guy that spends money on his team then Angelos who won't spend a dime. Hail to the spending. The blog is amazing. Keep it up, pass it on to the higher ups. Great work Jason.

Posted by: calebt17 | August 10, 2006 7:25 PM | Report abuse

KAKA-

Look at you givin' "The Danny" some luvvv-ha!

Lemme guess?UNA tied himself to the bumper of the golf cart tryin' to get a column-ha!ha!

Enjoy Cincy!
GO SKINS!

Posted by: Pink C.C.- | August 10, 2006 11:59 PM | Report abuse

The question is, what will happen w/ the Dan when Gibbs retires? There is no doubt the guy is getting the hang of running a team lately. How much of this is beacuse of the sheer force of Gibbs' personality? Will GW or AS have the same success keeping The D at arms length when they move into the head office?

Also, Jason, I'd love your take on the abilities of Vinny Cerrato. Is the guy any good as an evaluator? I think the team has had limited success after the first round of the draft. This to me indicates that the coaches are doing a good job of driving the personnel selection process but Vinny and the scouts are having a difficult time uncovering gems. Every time there is an opening in a NFL front office, no Skins names come up. Louis Riddick seems like a rising star, but doesn't get any play when there are openings... Is this because the Skins do things so differently than everyone else?

I guess I'm surprised that JG would hire Al Saunders, but not fight to bring in a strong personnel guy.

Posted by: TB | August 11, 2006 10:24 AM | Report abuse

By the way, love the Blog. Keep it coming. No detail is too trivial : )

Posted by: TB | August 11, 2006 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Wouldn't it be cool if Snyder did hang out with George Michael from Wham!? Maybe Billy Idol and Boy George as well. Snyder could have a big posse of 80's pop icons and they could drive around in a golf cart everywhere. Boy George would drive (I image he would be a bad driver) and Billy Idol would threaten to kick his ass everytime he almost hit something. Then Danny would tell Billy, "shut up or I will take you back to Jaxx where I found you"...

What were we talking about?

Posted by: Wershlak | August 11, 2006 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I'm with calebt17. Say what you will about Snyder's personality, but the guy does everything in his power to win. The Redskins will never be perennial champions (no team can be in today's NFL), but they will always be competitive as long as Snyder owns the team and keeps his current mindset. What he needs to do is keep Gibbs as long as he possibly can to run the show for him. With Williams and Saunders each functioning as half a head coach and Gibbs in a CEO role, the team seems more stable than any other going into this season. Snyder's passion is to be admired. He needs to keep Gibbs around for his steady hand on the tiller.

Posted by: Dylan | August 11, 2006 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I just finished Feinstein's new book "Next Man Up" and he gave some pretty candor and not so pleasant stories of Da Danny in his relationship to coaches and players and his use of the Post for "insider" tips. It seems that he can rub some or a lot of football people the wrong way but it seems that everyone love his $$$. The book is a very interesting read and certainly won't get Feinstein on the Snyder Holiday Card list.

Posted by: hhn111 | August 11, 2006 1:38 PM | Report abuse

As the person who wrote the Wham song for the contest, I'm obviously curious as to what the winner will get. Redskins tickets would be nice. Getting to talk shop with Cooley and or Gibbs would be even nicer. Any word yet from Captain Chaos? Jason, if I win you can reach me at barnoredskins@ceousa.org.

Posted by: Barno | August 11, 2006 1:39 PM | Report abuse

I hear Danny boy likes Heavy Metal and Grunge (Nirvana) is his favorite.

Is this true Jason?

Posted by: X Hog | August 11, 2006 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Hey there all.
TB - On Vinny, I'll just let your appraisal speak for itself. Their might be like 5 total players left from their entire last 3 draft classes come final cuts, and most of those are guys taken in the first round.
Barno, I've been swamped but promise to get the Cooley thing done next week. Thanks for reminding me, and stay on me.

As for Snyder, I agree, the key question will be what happens if/when Gibbs leaves. It's clear Snyder has a comfort level now he never did before. Would this work as smooth if Joe is back in NASCAR? My gut says no, but it might be a moot point regardless.

Posted by: Jason La Canfora | August 11, 2006 3:21 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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