In training camp last week Sapp, at 287 pounds, looked sleek and cat-quick. He has never shied from issuing challenges—to himself, his teammates or the rest of the league. He says this is the Bucs' make-or-break season. "If this group can't do it this year," he says, "they ought to get a new bunch of players in here." He predicts he'll lead the NFL in sacks. "When this season is over," he says, "I will stand atop the mountain. I will wear the crown."
Ousted General Manager
Casserly's Strange Fate
The scene in the press box at Foxboro Stadium last Friday night was bizarre. Exiled Redskins general manager Charley Casserly, now a team consultant, sat alone and noticeably apart from new owner Daniel Snyder, watching as players he had acquired in the eight months before his demotion on July 23 accounted for all the points in Washington's win over the Patriots. Casserly's first-round draft pick, cornerback Champ Bailey, intercepted a Drew Bledsoe pass and returned it 46 yards for a touchdown. Then quarterback Brad Johnson—Casserly got him from the Vikings for three draft choices—finished a 79-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown pass to fullback Larry Centers, a Casserly free-agent signee. Brett Conway, signed last November by you-know-who, booted 39-and 24-yard field goals and a pair of extra points. With the first and second units playing in the first half, the Redskins dominated New England 20-0. "That," Casserly said, with a nod toward the field, "is my r�sum� out there."
Casserly is expected to be cut loose by the 34-year-old Snyder in September, once the impetuous new owner is more comfortable running the franchise. Casserly had his share of free-agent failures, and a run of six straight years without making the playoffs would doom almost any general manager, but he shouldn't be without a job for long. He's well respected around the NFL, partly because of his work as a member of the league's competition committee.
Green Rolled Dice, Lost
Vikings coach Dennis Green wrongly viewed rookie defensive end Dimitrius Underwood, who announced last week that he's giving up football, as this year's Randy Moss, a diamond-in-the-rough who would mature in the company of Green and his loyal veterans. Last fall Underwood gave indications that he had lost interest in playing. Sidelined at the start of the season by an ankle injury, Underwood elected not to play even after Michigan State doctors had declared him fit in October. It's amazing that the Vikings, in Green's first months with complete personnel authority, wasted a first-round draft pick on such a player....
Browns tackle and Barry Sanders's friend Lomas Brown, on Sanders's retirement: "Barry always means what he says. I think he'll never play again."
...The Packers will probably cut or deal Rick Mirer or Matt Hasselbeck if mobile rookie quarterback Aaron Brooks continues to excel. He reminds Green Bay coaches of a young Randall Cunningham....
One man who's not worried about the Denver quarterback situation is Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, who watched backup Brian Griese complete 18 of 21 passes for 192 yards and two scores in a 38-7 win over the Cardinals last Saturday.
[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]