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John Wall, Jay Gruden, Dan Snyder resolutions

January 1, 2019

Another Jan. 1 has rolled around, which means it’s time for resolutions. Out of 365 days every year, this is the most popular one for stopping to take stock of ourselves and our situations, and then using the assessment to enact steps toward positive change.

Of course, that’s easier said than done when looking in the mirror.

But making suggestions for OTHER folks? That’s way more fun and much less challenging! It’s a breeze to point out areas that need some improvement. So, I hereby make the following resolutions for these sports figures in 2019:

John Wall: “To return renewed and rededicated.”

The All-Star guard and Washington Wizards are pretty much stuck with each other. Wall’s injury history, whopping contract, and declining efficiency make him perhaps the NBA’s most unmoveable player. There’s no telling what the Wizards might look like next season when he returns from his latest surgery. But he’ll be challenged to counter his image as a lackluster, indifferent player who brings negative energy.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell: “To ensure equal opportunity.”

Black Monday was literal this year as four African-American head coaches were relieved of their duties. Marvin Lewis enjoyed a 16-season run with Cincinnati that was too long, but Arizona’s Steve Wilks was fired after one season while Denver’s Vance Joseph lasted just two. Every situation is different, but black coaches typically are the slowest hired and fastest fired. Not coincidentally, the front-office situation is worse.

Jay Gruden: “To do more with less.”

There are only 32 slots for NFL head coaches, and maybe 30 jobs are better than Washington’s right now. Gruden’s critics might argue that 30 coaches are better, too. Nevertheless, he needs to work within the limitations and extract the most he can from a roster that lacks star talent. If that means being less of a player’s coach and more of a disciplinarian, so be it.

Alabama and Clemson: “To continue raising the bar.”

For the third time in four seasons, these titans are playing for the national title. That’s not great for the 127 other FBS schools, but it’s great if you’re a fan of exceptional college football. Since 2015, Bama is 55-3 and Clemson is 54-4; they have ascended to another level and produced a pair of classic championship games. The third should be no exception.

Mike Rizzo: “To learn new tricks.”

The Nationals general manager has done a fine job building rosters with Bryce Harper as a cornerstone. But assuming that Harper will be elsewhere next season, Rizzo’s formula for success requires tinkering. He has a solid foundation in place and continues to add pieces for second-year manager Dave Martinez. Harper might be gone, but the goal of winning a playoff series for the first time remains.

NCAA president Mark Emmert: “To have some empathy.”

The unlevel playing field between laborers and management shows up in many ways. Manny Diaz signed to become Temple’s coach two weeks ago. But the Miami defensive coordinator backed out Sunday to stay and replace Mark Richt, who retired unexpectedly. Players would need a waiver or have to sit out a year to change schools. The flexibility for one group should apply to the other.

Ernie Grunfeld: “To do no harm.”

The Wizards general manager finds himself in a familiar position. His roster is ablaze with ill-fitting pieces and expensive players struggling to form a winning team. Washington is closer to the NBA cellar than the NBA playoffs. Some observers believe a dive in the tank is appropriate. Grunfeld’s best work has come after he’s created a mess, and now he has another opportunity. Don’t blow it.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred: “To keep the peace.”

For a second consecutive winter, baseball’s hot stove has been more like a really slow cooker. Roughly three-quarters of the free agent market remains unsigned.

Consequently, a dispute is simmering and could come to a full boil unless Manfred acts. The players’ union is upset that so many teams are tanking instead of competing (i.e., spending). Brace for the first labor fight in more than two decades.

Dan Snyder and Bruce Allen: “To get out of the way.”

The team owner and team president are the main reasons that Washington ranks among the NFL’s most dysfunctional and disappointing franchises. They excel at ducking responsibility and shunning accountability, surrounding themselves with yes men and removing those who don’t comply.

They’ve created a culture that breeds fear, distrust and betrayal, among best practices for losing organizations.

Other than that, they’re doing fine.

⦁ Deron Snyder writes his award-winning column for The Washington Times on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Follow him on Twitter @DeronSnyder.

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