Bill Cowher says Redskins problems “start at the top”

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Updated: December 16, 2013
NFL Today

Speaking yesterday on the NFL Today show on CBS, former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher said the Redskins are “dysfunctional” and appeared to lay the majority of the blame at the feet of owner Dan Snyder.

“I think you look at this organization, and to me, it’s somewhat dysfunctional. There’s got to be, in my mind, separation between management, between coaching, between owners and management and players. And one thing I’ll say is: RGIII, for whatever reason, I think has failed to accept the responsibility that he’s not played very well. He has some maturing to do, a little bit like Cam Newton a year ago. I think he has some maturing to do, but I think you should play him. I disagree with Mike from that standpoint. And I think from that standpoint, the message you’re sending I think is not a very good one.”

It’s difficult to address the part about Griffin being too immature to accept responsibility for his lack of efficiency in 2013. Griffin has certainly accepted a share of blame publicly, but he’s also clashed with his coaches and perhaps that’s what is bothering Cowher, a former coach himself.

I do agree with Cowher, though, when he says Griffin should be playing. If he’s the franchise quarterback — and even the Shanahans publicly acknowledge that he is — then getting  him more work and more reps is far more important than building up Kirk Cousins‘ trade value. The future of the Redskins for the foreseeable future will be determined in large part by whether or not RG3 develops into the star QB he seemed to be last year. That’s got to be top priority for the next coach of the Redskins. Cowher seems to agree with that.

“He needs to be out there playing,” Cowher said of RG3. “Cam Newton wasn’t playing well last year, and they were out of the playoffs as well. And if he’s going to develop as a player, he needs to be on the field playing, and not sitting there saving him for next year.”

Cowher doesn’t seem to think the real problem is Griffin, though.

“But I think when you look at the bottom line, it starts at the top. This is an owner that’s had six head coaches in 13 years. There is a problem, in my opinion, down there somehow in how that building functions. Instead of walking out of the room and saying we’re in it together, it seems like they walk out of a room and everyone heads their own separate ways. So I think it starts at the top, in my opinion.

As someone who has been fairly harsh in his criticism of Dan Snyder for well over a decade now, I can’t argue with any of that. Even if I think the real problem at the moment is Mike and Kyle Shanahan, ultimately, it is Snyder who must be blamed for bringing this gang to DC and putting them in charge of the entire football operation.