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A Dubious Feat for Fletcher

Nobody in the NFL was in on more tackles Sunday than Redskins middle linebacker London Fletcher, who was credited with 18 -- 11 of them solo. Fletcher, though, doesn't necessarily believe that's a great stat.

"When you get up to that many tackles, it's kind of like a bittersweet-type of deal," he said. "You get your middle backer 10-12 tackles, 15 at most, and you win the football game. But when you get up to 18, getting close to 20, often times those aren't very good situations for you."

The idea: If Fletcher is making that many stops, other players -- notably, the defensive line on running plays -- aren't doing as much. That means backs are penetrating the line and getting to the second line of defense. Fletcher tied for the sixth-most tackles in the league last year, but his best statistical performances almost all came in losses: 17 against the Giants in the opener, 14 against the Giants in a home loss in November, 13 against Baltimore in another loss, 12 against Cleveland in a narrow win, and 11 against San Francisco in a season-ending loss. And the top three tacklers in the league on Sunday -- Fletcher, Carolina's Thomas Davis and St. Louis's James Laurinaitis -- all were on losing teams.

"I felt like I was pretty active, trying to run to the football, trying to just be around and just play the defense," he said. "A lot of times it was just the way the defense was called that I ended up being the tackler on a lot of those plays."

The encouraging part of the day for Fletcher was that his nagging foot injury, one that limited him much of last season (though he didn't miss a game), did not bother him against the Giants. He was first bothered by the problem last November, and he took steps to manage it during the preseason.

"It's not an issue," Fletcher said. "I sat out the last preseason game just because knowing what we were going to be faced with in a 16-game season, during training camp, things like that, it got a little achy on me. When I first injured my foot, they told me that it would be a process, it would be about a year-long process to get healed, so to speak, as a normal person. But I play football, so it may take me a little bit longer."

By Barry Svrluga  |  September 14, 2009; 2:04 PM ET
 
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Comments

London Fletcher will be the FIRST to 100 tackles this year.

Posted by: Kenbeatrizz | September 14, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I have never seen B Jacobs fly backwards like that. Thank you once again London u da man. Straight drop that dude!!

Posted by: Stu27 | September 14, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

The Giants had their starting CB and nickel CB missing, and Zorn did nothing to exploit that.

Posted by: ga8085 | September 14, 2009 2:03 PM

This, to me, is the most galling thing about yesterday's game...

Even if this was overlooked in the original gameplan, whatever happened to game-time adjustments?

Why does it seem like the offensive gameplan NEVER exploits the other teams weaknesses? It's not like we have Riggo and the Hogs, and no one can stop them.

Posted by: Alan4 | September 14, 2009 2:11 PM

Posted by: Alan4 | September 14, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

That reverse play was Randle El's mistake for not throwing the ball away, not a bad play call.


Posted by: Redskins001 | September 14, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

very true. he was way outside the tackle box, chuck it in the stands. As a former QB that was inexcusable, killed the drive. Even our POG had a huge mental blunder...

Bottom line we put forth a very poor team effort, yet were still largely competitive with an elite team.

Prediction: we beat the Rams by 14 or more, get our mojo back, use the soft upcoming schedule to find a good rhythym on offense and get some confidence, and get to the bye week at 5-2. I will repost this - right or wrong - in 6 weeks.

Posted by: Notorious_LMG | September 14, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Piece 8, The DL

I liked much of what I saw. Carter was better and the INT came because the DL forced eli backwards and eli doesn't throw well when going backwards. I already mentioned Albert, I thought his sidekicks at DT did well also. Daniels was a mixed bag. Lorenzo didn't make many plays, but he made a great diving tackle that saved a potential huge gain on a running play -- then recovered a fumble later in that same drive.

Both turnovers came from DL pressure -- and that is a good sign since we played a good OL with a vet QB.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | September 14, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I feel like LFB was in on most of his tackles against WR's who were running around in the back field like a bunch of jack rabbits.

Posted by: alex35332 | September 14, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

The Giants had their starting CB and nickel CB missing, and Zorn did nothing to exploit that.

Posted by: ga8085 | September 14, 2009 2:03 PM

Agreed. I really thought we would test their DB depth with multiple deep balls and a lot of intermediate stuff to Cooley/ARE. The latter was OK; the former was nonexistent. I know it's rarely if ever as simple as it seems, but Zorn clearly needs to improve on his gameplanning and play calling

Posted by: Notorious_LMG | September 14, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Gotta agreed with London... He should not have to be the guy making that many tackles in a game. Thats reflective of how well well or poor the rest of the defense played... Minus a couple of pressures on Eli, they looked like the WSH DEF of that last 8 games of 2008. And that ain't good!

The way Hall and Smoot play so far off the line sometimes, just makes me sick... The Defense has a long way to go to live up to the high expectations. Sunday was pathetic minus a couple of plays here and there...

Posted by: EinVB | September 14, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Loss by only 6 huh? The concern here is not that they lost to the Giants, its how they lost to the Giants. They showed no improvement from last yr and Zorn' playcalling has been just as bad as last yr. That's why the uproar. I don't give a crap if they beat the Rams and then get whipped by a good team because, "They have a good defense." Fact, they looked like crap in the preseason and its spilled over to the regular season. Fact: The Giants had their starting CB and nickel CB missing, and Zorn did nothing to exploit that.
Posted by: ga8085 | September 14, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

HUH?? No improvement?? Did you actually watch the Giants games last year. They scored more points yesterday than they did in both games combined against the Giants last year. Yesterday’s game could have went either way, depending on a few plays here and there. Last year’s games were TOTAL dominations, PERIOD.

Again, another prime of example of RI hysteria at its finest. Keep up the good work.


Posted by: cj658 | September 14, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: cj658 | September 14, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

@skinsfan713,

Although they did get to the playoffs twice under Gibbs 2.0. Once under Norv when Snyder first took ownership. Before that "the son of JKC".

I guess I agree. I think a model similar to what they have in Miami, perhaps with a Gibbs as true president/GM hiring a GM and head coach plus assistants. Cowher would also work.

Snyder needs to exclude himself entirely from football operations if he ever wants to see a winning season again.

Posted by: periculum | September 14, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Fletch knocked the sh*t outta Jacobs, that was beauty!!

Posted by: frak | September 14, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

SMACK!

-by London Fletcher, the best non Pro Bowl player in the NFL.

Posted by: Chia_Pet | September 14, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

LBF is a beast, no doubt. Thank God for him. But he is no spring chicken. Anyone know his contract status? I think we signed him for 5 yrs, which would mean next yr would be the final yr but not sure...

Next draft's focus IMO needs to be RB, LB, O-line.

Posted by: Notorious_LMG | September 14, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Best tackle-Fletcher hammering Jacobs back 5 feet. Worst Offensive Play-Every first down run.

Posted by: ThrowItToMyTeam | September 14, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Fletcher's tackles weren't really a result of defensive line deficiency, but more of a result of sustained drives which were brought on by poor secondary effort. The first two lines of defense were actually good for the most part. It was the repeated 3rd down completions that killed the clock for the Giants.

Posted by: psps23 | September 14, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Next draft's focus IMO needs to be RB, LB, O-line.

Next draft's focus IMO needs to be CB, OT, O-line, RB.

Posted by: periculum | September 14, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Piece 9, Santana Moss, Malcolm Kelly

missing in action? If not for the fight, who would have know Moss was even playing? Not sure who/what was going on. The fact that Cooley and ARE both had good days going over the middle suggests that the jints did a emphasized stopping Moss and Kelly on the outside

Still, I find it hard to believe they doubled both guys on most every play. Didn't see what the jints were doing, but it sure was effective.

Still, the bottom line is we need Moss as our playmaker and Kelly should be tough for one guy to cover because of his size. I'd be interested in hearing about how these guys were taken out of the game from someone who watched those match-ups more closely

Posted by: zcezcest1 | September 14, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

I really wish the 'skins would've got Fletcher when he left St Louis instead of him going to Buffalo.

All he does is make tackles, but he's 34.

They must find his replacement next year.

Posted by: RedDMV | September 14, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

That reverse play was Randle El's mistake for not throwing the ball away, not a bad play call.


Posted by: Redskins001


What!!!!!!!! The second play of the first game of the season!! After a 34 yard run. Hell if it wasn't a bad call! Yes El has to take some responsibility for not throwing it away. But that is one of the worst calls ever!

Posted by: jm220 | September 14, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Rocket Screen

Posted by: JohnDinHouston | September 14, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

HUH?? No improvement?? Did you actually watch the Giants games last year. They scored more points yesterday than they did in both games combined against the Giants last year. Yesterday’s game could have went either way, depending on a few plays here and there. Last year’s games were TOTAL dominations, PERIOD.

Again, another prime of example of RI hysteria at its finest. Keep up the good work.

Posted by: cj658 | September 14, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, I will.
Get it right. They scored 10 offensive pts. They scored 7 in last yrs first game. Wow, what improvement! I love this quote from you, "Yesterday’s game could have went either way, depending on a few plays here and there."
Quote of the day! That goes for every game for every team. A few plays here and there is what can break a game open. It's what can take away or give momentum. Zorn's playcalling has not improved from last yr. Please try and dispute that.

Posted by: ga8085 | September 14, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone recall our current coaching staff exploiting another teams weakness? Do we think they can? I'm starting to worry they show up on game day with blinders on and just plow straight ahead with the game plan rather than adjust on the fly.

Posted by: will_ga | September 14, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

z, I want someone to ask JZ why only 1 pass to both MK/DT. I was a raving lunatic about this last year, whats the point of drafting these guys if you don't use them?? Given the space that ARE/Cooley had to work with, and that there were mostly 2 guys covering moss, this should have been a no brainer........ugh...still not ready to move on.....

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | September 14, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

That reverse play was Randle El's mistake for not throwing the ball away, not a bad play call.


Posted by: Redskins001 | September 14, 2009 1:40 PM

ARE made a bad play worse but it doesn't change the fact that it was a bad play. And the fact that it was scripted makes it even more pathetic.

Posted by: mack1 | September 14, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

On the topic of linebackers:

Will the Orakpo at SAM experiment pay off, or is this another example of Greg Blache misappropriating resources?

(and Rocky Mac had a good game as well.)

Posted by: Chia_Pet | September 14, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm still waiting for the JC excusers to defend this one:

"Campbell also was upset with himself that he checked into a running play on a third-and-8 in the second half. He said he lost track of how many yards the Redskins needed and that he should have checked into a pass play." - Matt Mosely ESPN

a 5 year veteran and 4 year starter can't keep track of down and distance.....that's inexcusable...

Posted by: zjfr2 | September 14, 2009 1:23 PM

This is weak point to make. Too many examples to where professional, veteran people make mistakes in the heat of the game, even the great Joe Gibbs.

Posted by: TWISI | September 14, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Your only defense of this is "it happens"? Gibbs was old and grieving for ST when he didn't but I crushed him then as proof it was time to get out...and he did. I promise you that Payton, Brady, Brees, or even guys like Garcia or even freaking Todd Collins have forgotten what the down and distance is in a game you are trailing late in the 3rd quarter....but I knew somebody would find a way to brush it off as no big deal or somebody else's fault, I bet it was the system that cause him to think it was 2nd and 2 instead of 3rd and long right? or the system made him forget where the line of scrimmage was on the INT, or him being a 5 year veteran isn't enough time for him to have matured into a guy who doesn't hold the ball on his hip and not step up into a perfect pocket, or the system was to blame for the horrible deep pass or the throw 2 yards behind moss on a late 3rd down......but I know I know, if we just give him 37 more seasons he's going to develop into a really good qb.

Posted by: zjfr2 | September 14, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Will the Orakpo at SAM experiment pay off, or is this another example of Greg Blache misappropriating resources?

Posted by: Chia_Pet | September 14, 2009 2:29 PM

FACT: The nature of an experiment is that you don't know how it will turn out until you complete it. (Unless, of course, you've already done the experiment a few times.) This one has to run a few more weeks.

OPINION: Didn't look very good yesterday, did it?

Posted by: talent_evaluator | September 14, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

sorry that was haven't forgotten the down and distance, I often struggle with n't

Posted by: zjfr2 | September 14, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

zjfr2,
Just curious... how do you feel about JC at QB?

Posted by: Alan4 | September 14, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

zj, we get it, you've made your point ad neauseum, for about the BILLIONTH time....move on....JC screwed up on that play..yup, agreed.....but for F's sake move on would you please.....are you married, because I can't imagine another human being, being able to stand you for longer than a 10 minute stretch of time....

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | September 14, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

To answer my own question:

Rack is a pass rushing DE, not a linebacker (and enough about how he's too small to play at this position in the NFC East.)

Love what we saw from Albert in the middle yesterday, but still no pressure on the QB...

Posted by: Chia_Pet | September 14, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

That reverse play was Randle El's mistake for not throwing the ball away, not a bad play call.


Posted by: Redskins001


What!!!!!!!! The second play of the first game of the season!! After a 34 yard run. Hell if it wasn't a bad call! Yes El has to take some responsibility for not throwing it away. But that is one of the worst calls ever!

Posted by: jm220 | September 14, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

It's always easy to criticize the play call after it fails miserably...I too was yelling "WTF?!" at the TV and angry that we didn't run the ball again after ripping off a big one. But I think the far bigger mistake was def ARE's. He could've underhanded the ball out of bounds but he chose to eat it. Inexplicable to me, given that he had plenty of time to throw it away and when you consider he was a former QB. Those trick plays are very hit or miss - either the D bit and someone is pretty open and you let it fly or they didn't and you throw it away and cut your losses. But you cannot take the "sack" there

Posted by: Notorious_LMG | September 14, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

beep beep

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | September 14, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

I said ALL preseason that my biggest concern was the chemictry lost with our new defensive players. Let's hope we're good enough to win without it during the upcoming "soft" part of our schedule and that BOTH sides of the ball get that chemistry b4 the second half of the season rolls around. It's not how you start it's how you finish. Two years ago Giants started 0-2 b4 beating us at home, then went on to beat the unbeaten Pats in the SB. Last year we started 6-2 then crumbled. It's one game.

Posted by: vegasskinsfan | September 14, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Also, was it just me, or did Reed Doughty not see much action against the Giants?

And if it's not just me, why not?

The man needs to be on the field, not on the sideline, but maybe I missed something...

Posted by: Chia_Pet | September 14, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Agree on Orakpo. He is a DE, plain and simple. Not at all surprised that he lined up there much of the game. That, and LBF's age (and this apparent whiff on Glenn) are why I think LB will be one of the most important things to address in the 2010 draft. O-line and RB too. You could definitely make a case for secondary after yesterday but I'm not ready to give up on 23 yet. And given his massive contract, neither should anyone else.

Posted by: Notorious_LMG | September 14, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

zj, we get it, you've made your point ad neauseum, for about the BILLIONTH time....move on....JC screwed up on that play..yup, agreed.....but for F's sake move on would you please.....are you married, because I can't imagine another human being, being able to stand you for longer than a 10 minute stretch of time....

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | September 14, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

LOL

Also, I think on like one or two plays JC was trying to go to Kelly on a fade in particular in the redzone but didn't have the time to get the ball out.

Posted by: ga8085 | September 14, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

LOL @ jm220 because it's true.

------------------------------------------------------------------

I don't get it. How could anyone be ok with that call?

The only thing I can think of is that Zorn must have felt... um.. emasculated by that HUGE gain by Portis.

I think the dude really wants to put his staple on the team, but he just can't. Zorn can not shake the fact that this is a running team.

Zorn calling that gadget bs in that spot, in the first game of the season speaks to his flawed play calling and his damn ego.

Posted by: RedDMV | September 14, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

zjfr2, never said it wasn't his fault. JC never said it wasn't his fault. You're trying to help your weak argument. lEt me ask you this, what do you think has contributed to the redskins inability to score a first quarter touchdown in 7 straight games ( you don't have to answer, I already know your answer). Look, JZ, JC, the OL, the RBs, the WRs are to blame for the lack of production. The coach needs to coach them up on the plays they script to start the games. The players need to execute these plays. The coach has to come up with plays to get the playmakers the ball. The playmakers have to make more plays.

Posted by: TWISI | September 14, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Campbell just needs 2 or 3 more seasons you'll see... lol

Posted by: BenchCampbell | September 14, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

On QB tv closeups, when Campbell calls an audible, I don't see his eyes looking over the entire defense. I can't believe he knows the defensive alignment based on what I see him observing because it looks like his eyes never move above the defense right next to his offensive line. He flat out looks uncomfortable when he audibles, like he's never done it before or like he's not sure what he's doing. Compare Campbell to Manning, Brees, Rivers, and others who seem to be in charge and who seem to be confident in what they're calling. Isn't everybody just getting tired of hearing from Zorn "he's improving", I mean this is a 5th year QB, not a rookie. Just tell the truth and say that we have made a mistake with Jason Campbell and now you can see why their attempt to trade him spoke volumes as to how they felt about him.

Posted by: getitritegov | September 14, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

At the end of the day, JC completed 19/26 passes against the one of the best defenses in football. (By far the best D-Line). The mistakes that cost us the game are nothing to fret. They can easily be corrected. After yesterday’s loss, I am still confident about the season. I could not say the same after last year’s opening game. Skins 30-Rams 7. Book it.

Posted by: cj658 | September 14, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

London has sooooo many tackles becuase drops back into coverage too often. He's the 3rd safety. I'd rather see him get less tackles and blitz up the middle from time to time and obvious passing plays.

Did Chris Horton get injured in the 2nd half? Doughty played a lot and made a couple of good run support plays.

Daniels and Carter rush like Frankenstein and the Mummy...Put Jarmon and Orakpo in more.

Posted by: boricuabopper | September 14, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Or he was protecting his lineman from the "limelight". Its what good QB's do. Heyer did not have a good game. He is better suited to pass blocking but still needs work.

Posted by: periculum

You give him credit for being a "good QB", which he is not right now, nor has he been consistently over his NFL career. I take him at his word. The O-Line did not cause Campbell to: 1) take a sack fumble when he had a well protected pocket he could have stepped into; 2) force a ridiculous throw to Moss resulting in an INT after he had scrambled 3 yards past the line of scrimmage; or 3) check down to a short yardage play on third and long (right after burning a time out). Pocket awareness and game management are all part of what makes a "good" QB.

Posted by: Kenbeatrizz | September 14, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

HERE ARE SOME MORE FACTS FOR BLOGGERS:

FACT: The Giants defense is BY FAR the best defense the Skins see all season. Great opening day test. They’ll get it together.

FACT: Carlos played and excellent game yesterday. He is a bigger, better corner than both DHall and Fred. Other teams will see this and continue to go at Hall and Smoot all game long. If DHall doesn’t get it together, this could turn out much like the Asomugha/Hall situation in Oakland. Good for Carlos, bad for Deangelo and the Skins.

FACT: All the Skins need to do is go 3-3 in the division to easily go 11-5 overall. Of the 10 non-divisional games, only 2 scare me: NO and ATL. And even both of those are winnable games. (Yeah I know, this is actually an opinion, but it is still a pretty accurate statement.

FACT: Bloggers need to look at facts rather than making hasty generalizations after a week one loss on the road to the best defense in the NFC.

FACT: I continue to type in bold and caps because it looks cool on the screen.

Posted by: cj658 | September 14, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

I think Jason Reid missed Fletchers main point. The reason why he had so many tackles yesterday was that they had long drives, consistently converting 3rd downs.

Posted by: tedunni1 | September 14, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

"FACT: Bloggers need to look at facts rather than making hasty generalizations after a week one loss on the road to the best defense in the NFC....
Posted by: cj658

LOL I didn't see too many facts in there -- but a heck of a lot of opinions.

Posted by: Samson151 | September 14, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

One game that ended just like the first game last year. Similiar comments posted again - just like last year. I hope we go on a roll and win a string of games - just like last year. If we avoid injuries, we will make the playoffs. I know that it is hard for fans to see that we played a whole lot better against the Gmen this year than last. If we just mix up the playcalling on both sides of the ball a little better, we will be alright. Let Orakpo rush the QB, let JC operate in the hurry-up offense mode and run from the spread formation and we will be better off. 15 more games to get better.

Posted by: SPUD2 | September 14, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

What kind of a "fan" starts talking about the draft after game one??? London Fletcher had too many tackles because the Defense was on the field too long period. To hell with the draft until it gets here!!

Posted by: punchdaclock | September 15, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

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