Is Dan Snyder already meddling with Ron Rivera?

75756A5E-120A-4932-810C-2FD980DB785E

An ESPN report has The Sports Junkies fearful that Redskins owner Dan Snyder may already be standing in Ron Rivera's way.

"Dan has already proven over his 20-year tenure, his reign of terror over this organization, that he's not gonna change," Eric Bickel said Wednesday. "And for us to keep thinking that he will is just, that's our bad. It's stupid!"

Rivera told reporters he would be meeting with quarterbacks Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa, of LSU and Alabama, respectively. That fueled a frenzy among fans and media alike, especially when Rivera suggested his interest in them was sincere, not merely a matter of "due diligence."
In the days since, reports have surfaced indicating everything under the sun as it pertains to Tagovailoa and the Redskins, primarily whether their interest is real or just a bluff to coax another team into giving them a king's ransom. Michael Silver of NFL Network insists it's real. Peter King says it isn't. It's been that kind of week.
But this reporting from Stephen A. Smith and Todd McShay gets at something different altogether. It cuts at the image Redskins fans have been sold, that things are different now with Rivera in charge and Bad Guy Bruce Allen gone. It suggests not only is Snyder getting involved, but that he never stopped being involved.

Stephen A Smith on First Take: "My sources tell me that the Redskins aren't going Tua, they're definitely drafting Chase Young."Todd McShay responded: "I agree, I'm hearing the owner won't allow them to go QB."--‍♂️ pic.twitter.com/xEoM98yzNz

— Quinton Mayo (@RealQuintonMayo) March 3, 2020

"I thought it was troubling when I heard Chase Young say that he met with Mr. Snyder," said John-Paul Flaim. "Maybe that's commonplace. Maybe Chase Young met with Robert Kraft too and other owners."

"But one day you hear that the coaching staff's meeting with Tua and they're interested in him, and the next day you hear Snyder won't allow him to take him," said Jason Bishop. "It's just a mess over there. It's just a complete mess!"

"I wouldn't be surprised if it's both true," said Bickel. "That the staff is intrigued, they have Tua rated very highly, they're very much intrigued by the possibility of potentially selecting him. But Dan's putting his foot down and saying, 'Look, we're not gonna do it.'"

"Well that means nothing has changed," John Auville chimed. "Everything's the same!"

"But Rivera and the coaching staff should have known that way before the Combine," said Bishop. "They should have known that when he was hired."

"I believe they did know that," Bickel said.

"In the end, in the moment of truth in the draft room," Flaim returned, "can't Ron Rivera just call and say, 'Our pick is Tua Tagovailoa'?"

The conversation presents an inescapable thought. Amid smoke screens upon smoke screens ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft, the biggest could be that Rivera was ever given autonomy over football operations to begin with.

If Snyder is still pulling the strings – even selectively, as was the case when the Redskins drafted Dwayne Haskins – then nothing has really changed.

The threat of him stepping in at any point is omnipresent.

Bishop: Who's the other source we talked about last week, who said, 'Yeah, they're really looking at Tua.'
Flaim: Bottom line is it's troubling. It's troubling!
Auville: Yeah. I just feel like Rivera's already been neutered. Before the first draft, that all this clout that he allegedly had, has now gone out the window! I feel like he's basically powerless!
Bickel: Dude, nobody is more alpha male than Mike Shanahan and he was neutered. That's all you need to know. Mike Shanahan is Mr. Alpha Male, and he was completely – at the end of the day – neutered by Dan.

Bishop proffered the thought that this – all of it – could be dismissed as a massive game of telephone being played out before our eyes.

Bishop: Someone could have told someone, who told someone, who told someone, who told McShay, 'Yeah, (Snyder) doesn't really like the quarterback.'
Bickel: Well you don't find it interesting, though, that Stephen A's got his sources presumably, whoever they are?
Bishop: They're all blowhards.
Bickel: Yeah, but they're probably not making it up. Somebody's telling them.
Bishop: Yeah. And I believe the other guy who had the source that said they really like Tua. Why wouldn't you believe that? That they want to draft Tua.
Bickel: I believe that too! I believe all of it! I believe they like Tua, and Dan is insisting that they don't pick him, though! I believe all that. I believe that scenario exists.
Bishop: Dan's probably pro-Dwayne. I get that. But again, I'm gonna see what happens on draft night. See where they go.
Bickel: We'll know. On draft night, we'll know. Well, the thing is, we won't know if Rivera really wanted him. That's probable.
The Junkies then theorized the meaning of a particular tweet from Haskins that seemed to cut through all the combine noise.

Pissed off for greatness ‼️

— Dwayne Haskins, Jr-- (@dh_simba7) February 29, 2020

Flaim: Do you think that Dwayne Haskins – the whole 'pissed off for greatness!' tweet – do you think he's called Dan and been like, 'Hey, what's going on?'

Bickel: Well I hope not.
Flaim: That would be the most unhealthy situation. That would feel very RG3-like.
Bickel: He's essentially a rookie. You just gotta eat it. You gotta just perform. You shouldn't have that kind of sway.
Flaim: I agree with you, but that to me would feel like RG3, like Oh, I'm going to the owner, bypassing the head coach.
Bickel: You really shouldn't have that kind of sway. You just have to be able to deal. This is the one thing I can say about Dwayne. And I think he has upside and we can win with Dwayne Haskins. I really believe that. Eventually. He's got thin skin. There's no doubt about it. He probably would be better served not being so active on social media, but, you know, all the kids are, so I get it. But he appears to have fairly thin skin. Which I don't think is a great look for him, but it's fine. It doesn't matter.