Thiesmann: Redskins lack a true 'face of the franchise'

Josh Luckenbaugh
December 27, 2018 - 1:00 pm

Legendary Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann sees the disconnect between the fans and the franchise as a multifaceted issue, stemming from mediocre on-field performance and off-field controversy.

"If you build it, they will come. If you win, people will show up, and the Redskins have not been able to win," Theismann told The Sports Junkies.

"Who is the face of the franchise?" Theismann asked, and when John-Paul Flaim mentioned the injured Alex Smith, Theismann retorted, "And now that's gone."

"I don't understand the way Dan runs the business side of things, it's his football team," he continued. "I think Brian (Lafemina) and Steve (Ziff) came in, in hopes to be able to build the fan base, to continue to try and get the fan base back."

However, news broke Wednesday both Lafemina and Ziff, along with two other members of the business operation, are no longer with the Redskins.  Theismann believes suspect decisions such as this have hurt the relationship between Redskins fans and the organization.

"I think people have been discouraged by things that have happened," he said. "We've had our share of controversial, questionable things happen to our football players, which I think reflects into the community."

In addition, Theismann cited the lack of marquee names on the roster, partially due to injury, as another factor in why fans are staying away from FedEx Field, and even not watching Redskins games on TV.

"This is a players' league. If you have players that are outstanding, people are gonna come and want to see them play," Theismann said. "We, for some reason, don't have the players."

"One of the reasons is everyone's on IR. This is the second consecutive year you're gonna have (at least) 20 guys on IR. That's not an excuse, that's just a fact. Which makes this football team a lot less competitive. The fact that we were a week away from having the possibility to qualify for the playoffs is absolutely mind-boggling to me."

Theismann went on to blast D.J. Swearinger, the safety released by the Redskins Monday after criticizing defensive coordinator Greg Manusky to reporters last Saturday, linking it back to the Redskins' lack of leaders. 

"He doesn't know how hard Greg works, he doesn't know how hard that coaching staff works," said Theismann. "If you want to criticize the coaching staff, go and spend a week with them and work 100 hours in the week."

"It has to stay in-house. Nobody's willing to stand up and say to one of the players in the locker room, 'Hey man, don't do that. This is our house. This is our family.'

"Where's the respect for the game? Where's the respect for one another? Where's the family? It's not there. And that's something that needs to be fixed. It needs to be fixed, and it needs to be fixed in a hurry."

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