John Riggins seems predisposed to say critical things about the Redskins. Two of his favorite targets in recent years have been Dan Snyder and Mike Shanahan. We all know that going in.

That said, Riggins is one of the most popular players in franchise history, with a large audience during his regular WTOP segments, and a weekly postgame show that at least some Redskins fans listen to. And his critique on Sunday after the team’s fourth straight loss seemed particularly scathing. Watch the whole thing here. Highlights:

Snyder’s Dilemma

“I really believe that, for the good of the franchise, somebody else has to own this franchise. Because now, not only is the owner really not competent in football terms....They’ve made another bad choice in Coach Shanahan. I just don’t think he’s ever gonna get the job done. I think he’s not that guy any more, if he ever was. John Elway had a lot to do with his success, put it that way....

“So now you have a person who’s so concerned about [his] image and what everybody’s gonna think if he makes a move — he’s hamstrung. His hands are tied. He can’t lead, because he’s in a position where he’s on the defensive. He doesn’t want to have to have people talking about Oh my God, he fired Shanahan. So I think there’s a real problem here. And hopefully I’m completely wrong about this, and actually Mike Shanahan has got everything under control. I can’t believe he’s got this team right where he wants them to be. I’m telling you right now, I don’t see any of it. I just see a franchise that is lost as it’s always been, it’s as lost as it’s ever been.”

Shanahan’s Struggles

“Nobody will ever tell you anything about Mike Shanahan and his personnel decisions. Most people will say he’s always been suspect there. And now I think you have to compound that with the fact that the coaching is getting difficult for him. He’s just a furious looking guy over on the sidelines, is all he is. What’s he doing? I mean, to me, really, this franchise is in a tough way. There just isn’t a way they’re going to turn that’s going to be right for quite some time.”


“People are going to start to see that the big brand that was gonna turn everything around, people are starting to question that now. I have to believe that. Shanahan’s credibility is slowly eroding. I don’t know if he’s aware of that. And this season continues like this — seriously, this team doesn’t win another game, let’s just throw this out on the table, and it’s possible, it is possible this team may not win another game — you go 3-13, how do you sell Shanahan next year? I don’t know how you do that.

“I mean, I think he’s got himself a real problem here. Once again, you’re scared to make a change, because what are people gonna say — oh you only gave him two years, that’s Mike Shanahan, my God, he signed on for five years, he needed five years. And at the same time, you’ve got to know in your gut, each game is wasted with Mike Shanahan as the head coach. That’s the way it feels.

“There’s nothing that they’ve done, that I can see, that gives anybody any hope. They get beat by Miami next week for their, what, fifth loss in a row, and then you’ve got yourself into a position now where I’ve got to believe people just start tuning them out. That there’s no relevance to this team any more. They’re losing their relevance very quickly. It’s just really unfortunate.”

Modern Coaching

“When you look at the coaches that are actually getting it done in the NFL, they ain’t these old retreads. The old retreads ain’t getting it done. It doesn’t happen for them. It’s the young guy that’s hungry, that’s out there.”

Shanahan’s Reputation

“I think he’s a very frustrated guy, and I don’t think he has an answer. Certainly his personnel decisions have been suspect, and at the most important position. How do you give a guy like this a pass on that, and you’re paying him $7 million to boot?

“I mean, you’re supposed to be getting instant Lombardi Trophy. He’s supposed to be instant Lombardi Trophy, as close to it as you can get. That trophy’s getting further away from this franchise. It ain’t getting closer, it’s getting further away....This team is playing like a very poorly coached team, I think. And maybe that’s all the talent they have, but once again, who picked the talent?”