Work in Sports
Snyder's spending spree raises championship expectations
The Washington Redskins, with deep-pocketed owner Daniel Snyder pushing for a title this year, open their training camp at Redskins Park in Ashburn, Va., on July 20. Here are a few questions from Sports Illustrated's Dr. Z, followed by CNNSI.com's perspective on some of the issues facing the Redskins this season. SI's season preview will post Aug. 23.
Dr. Z wants to know:
1.) The Redskins are now charging fans 10 bucks a throw to attend practice at camp. How many fans must they draw to cover Bruce Smith, Deion Sanders and their two high No. 1 drafts?
2.) All the handicappers are picking Washington for the Super Bowl. Will anything less result in another major house-cleaning?
3.) No baseball for Deion, no spot duty on offense, and thus shorn of distractions, will he be ready for a career year, or will Darrell Green retain his spot against a fading superstar?
4.) Projected to go deep into the playoffs, will the 'Skins be tough enough to crack that ferocious Tampa Bay defense or sound enough defensively to stop the St. Louis whirlwind?
The Redskins can make the playoffs if ... the Grim Reaper doesn't take up residence at FedEx field. Bruce Smith, Deion Sanders, Mark Carrier and Darrell Green -- all being counted on to lend a significant hand -- have seen better days. If these guys play their ages....
Pivotal games: Washington plays host to Dallas in Week 3 and Tampa Bay in Week 5. The Cowboys are the Redskins' potential stumbling block en route to the NFC East title, while Tampa Bay is a possible roadblock to the NFC championship. The final six weeks of the season include a trip to St. Louis and four division games in five weeks.
On the hot seat: Norv Turner. Do not believe that this is not a make-or-break season for Turner. Owner Dan Snyder has put all his eggs into the 2000 season basket, and the message is clear: Win the Super Bowl -- period. End of discussion. Turner's six-year record is 42-53.
Up-and-comers: Champ Bailey is the sexy name among the young 'Skins, but keep an eye on Albert Connell. The fourth-year receiver had 62 catches for 1,132 yards and seven touchdowns last season. He may be the go-to receiver Michael Westbrook was supposed to be.