The Washington Redskins’ offense has been consistently effective throughout the entire 2012 season, but in order for the team to become a playoff contender, it needed the same consistency from its defense.
Riddled by injuries to three starters early in the season, the Washington defense struggled through the first half of the season. But as the unit and its coaches got more comfortable with its personnel and assignments, the second half of the season was a different story.
Not coincidentally, the overall product on the field improved dramatically. The Redskins (10-6), 2012 NFC East champions, today play host to the first playoff game at FedExField since 1999 winners of seven straight.
The unquestioned leader of the Redskins’ defense is captain and middle linebacker London Fletcher. Fletcher — who last week was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Month — has had a dominating second half of the season in 2012, despite a nagging ankle injury that has kept him out of several practices in the weeks leading up to the games. This season, Fletcher has 74 tackles, two sacks and four interceptions in the second half — an all-around performance that gives head coach Mike Shanahan and defensive coordinator Jim Haslett much to be proud of heading into today’s NFC Wild Card round playoff game vs. the Seattle Seahawks (11-5).
Fletcher recently joined the set of the NFL Network’s “Playbook,” and talked with analyst Matt Millen about what it takes to play the linebacker position. The full video of that appearance is below, but here’s some snippets of the conversation:
What is the role of the middle linebacker in a team’s defense?
“As a middle linebacker, we’re what they call the quarterback of the defense. The first thing I think about is the down-and-distance — you know, what is it? Is it 1st and 10 or 3rd and 1? Things like that. Their personnel grouping, formations, things like that. Anything I can get pre-snap to give myself an advantage, and also relay that to my teammates to give them an advantage.”
What are you looking for before the snap to get an advantage?
“If you think about it, if a team’s in a three wide receiver set, one back, things like that, one tight end, more than likely, they’re going to be passing. If it’s two tight ends, two running backs, one wide receiver, 3rd and 1, more than likely, they’re going to be running the football. So anything like that when you can have something pre-snap to give you the information to give you a better chance to win.”
Tags: london fletcher, NFL Network, playbook, washington redskins
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »