Skins' bad business

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:27 AM ET

Sports fans around North America are smiling these days at Daniel Snyder's misfortune.

Or should we say lost fortune, at least a piece of it, in any case.

The Washington Redskins owner, widely considered the worst owner in sports -- comic strip Tank McNamara in 2001 named him Sports Jerk of the Year -- took a financial hit over the weekend when his lost all his equity investment in the recently bankrupted Six Flags amusement park company.

Sadly, they won't be holding any pity parties for the Skins owner. Six Flags didn't come close to wiping him out. Worse still, Snyder is now giving every indication that he's finally ready to be the type of owner that actually sets his team up to win games.

The opposite was the case in his first 10 seasons in the league. Only twice in those 10 years did his Skins finish with a winning record despite, or more correctly, because Snyder treated the team like his own personal fantasy team. They've hosted just one playoff game since 1992. Even the Blue Jays can better that.

But now with a new GM in Bruce Allen and a head coach with a solid track record in Mike Shanahan, his first such coach in seven attempts, even the longest-serving Redskins are optimistic that Snyder's losing ways are over.

Clinton Portis, who has been around for eight of those mostly losing seasons noticed a huge change in attitude in the Skins minicamp in April leading him to suggest "I think (Snyder) got sick of being the laughingstock of the NFC."

The optimism is primarily two-fold. By bringing Shanahan in, Snyder gives the team a proven winner with a resume that demands respect.

The other side is the addition of QB Donovan McNabb, a seven-time Pro Bowl quarterback who even at the age of 34 is a definite upgrade at a position that had been a revolving door.

The Redskins were a solid defensive team a year ago, but incapable of scoring most of the season. Shanahan, McNabb, and a three-headed running game with Portis, Larry Johnson and Willie Parker should address that shortcoming.

The wild card in all of it is how much of a football role Snyder is planning for himself.

If he is the same over-the-top, hands-on owner he has been in his first 10 years, not even the veteran presences of Shanahan and McNabb will save the team.

Snyder has already alienated most of, if it not all, of the Washington fan base. Suing your own season ticket holders will do that for you. The best he can hope for is a winning product on the field and maybe, just maybe, the fan base will turn its attention from hating the owner to loving the product on the field.

The best way Snyder can accomplish that is to stay out of the way. The question though, is he capable of doing that?

History suggests he is not.

TOUGH BEING A KICKER

Josh Scobee might make his family proud if he does in fact qualify for this year's U.S. Open golf championship, but he won't be doing his fellow kickers any favours.

Make it and the abuse the kicking fraternity already takes only gets worse. It's one thing for Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders, and even Brian Jordan to go the two-sport route, but kickers who are routinely accused of being part-time athletes can't afford to give their fellow jocks any more ammunition. Scobee, a scratch golfer, needs to finish in the top five next Monday in Jacksonville to advance to sectional qualifying for the June 17-20 Open at Pebble Beach. His football boss, Jack Del Rio, had this advice for Scobee: "Hit it straight, and when he comes to kick field goals, kick those straight."

AT THE HALF

Adam (Pacman) Jones had been out of football long enough, he had to be wondering if he would ever get another shot. On Monday the Cincinnati Bengals gave him that shot. Jones worked out with the Bengals, reportedly for the second time. Pro Football Talk then reported Tuesday night that the Bengals had signed Jones to a one-year deal. Jones hasn't played since Dec. 28, 2008 ... Looks like Mike Singletary has his guy for at least another five years. The San Francisco 49ers gave Pro Bowl linebacker, and Singletary protege, Patrick Willis a five year contract extension that runs through 2016. The deal is worth $50-million US and will see a first-year bump in pay from $900,000 to $11 million.

FOURTH AND INCHES

Seattle RB LenDale White ended all those questions about his weight with his first appearance at the Seahawks mini-camp. On-lookers said White was so lean, anyone who had seen him when he was carrying over 250 pounds in Tennessee, wouldn't even recognize him.

MIKE.GANTER@SUNMEDIA.CA


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