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:
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How can the Redskins’ secondary improve this time around against the Dallas Cowboys?
The three-man crew at the NFL Network’s “Playbook” explored this very topic this week.
Though the crew of Brian Baldinger, Sterling Sharpe and former Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb each felt the Redskins would come out victorious in their matchup tomorrow night vs. the Cowboys, they pointed to a few areas of improvement to focus on for the Redskins’ defense in the video above:
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One of the key reasons why the Washington Redskins’ offense seemingly didn’t miss a beat last Sunday vs. the Cleveland Browns with rookie quarterback Kirk Cousins making his first-career start was its use of the play-action pass.
The Redskins feature the No. 1 rushing offense in the league, so Cousins and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan were able to use that to their advantage several times to get huge chunks of yards on various drives.
The NFL Network’s “Playbook” crew of Brian Baldinger, Sterling Sharpe and former Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb broke this down in the above video.
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