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Blache on Fletcher: 'I feel blessed to have him'

In his 12th season, linebacker London Fletcher is hoping to be named to his first Pro Bowl. According to the league's numbers, he's second in the NFL in tackles with 118. According to the team's numbers, with three games remaining, he has 144 tackles, just two short of his 16-game total last season. Defensive coordinator Greg Blache spoke Monday about coaching Fletcher:
 
On Fletcher's season: "London has been one of the most consistent football players I've ever been around. There are no peaks and valleys in his game. He plays consistently. He's a consummate pro. Last year he had a foot injury that didn't allow him to practice for almost the second half of the season. Yet almost every Sunday, he got shot up and he played. And he played well. This year, knock on wood, he's been healthy. And I think his level of play is ever higher than it was last season. The fact that he is practicing during the week, it's good for him and it's good for his teammates."

On Fletcher's intangibles: "I feel really blessed to have him out there on the field, taking control of things for me. He knows our gameplan, he knows what our goals and objectives are from week to week. He prepares himself as well as anybody I've known in my 20-some-odd years in this league.

On if he could imagine the defense without Fletcher: "Right now, honestly, the next guy for us would have to be H.B. Blades. Now H.B.'s a young guy, and it's a good thing that he's been exposed to London. So London's helped him and he's coming along faster. But quite honestly, it's extremely difficult for me to imagine anyone else having to take over for London on a consistent basis because he brings so much to the table -- not just football, but toughness and leadership."

On Fletcher getting overlooked every year: "Peter King did a team of the decade and London was chosen for that. How does a guy make the team of the decade but doesn't ever get voted to a Pro Bowl during that decade?"

On the Pro Bowl voting problem: "There are certain positions that are usually stat positions and it's not necessarily the quality of play. If coaches and players got past the popularity thing in the voting, I think you'd see things a bit different. The fans -- I don't want to take it away from them because they pay to the come to the game -- but they see the glitter and not necessarily the substance."

On if he could lobby coaches and players on other teams: "Honestly, London would be offended, he'd be embarrassed if he thought we went out and lobbied to get him in. I think the real joy of being in the Pro Bowl is that you are elected by your coaches and your peers, predicated on what you've done and not some campaign committee. Like in college with all the Heisman stuff. I think he'd be embarrassed by that. I think the real football people watch tape and I think they know. There are some faults in the system like any other system; it's not going to be perfect. And like I said, the classy guys, like him, the real professional guys are going to get looked over from time to time because they don't bring attention to themselves. When they walk on the football field, it's about getting the job done and winning the football game as opposed to getting some postseason honor for themselves."

On whether, at 34, Fletcher is in danger of losing a step: "He plays the game not just with his feet and his legs, but he plays with his mind and his heart. He's got a passion for the game and he prepares with that passion. So where you might lose a step sometimes when you get older, he makes it up in knowing where he needs to be and knowing the angles and the alignments. He has a feel and a sense for the game that a lot of guys never get. You don't see the decline because of his mental awareness and his understanding that, 'I'm not as fast as I was 10-11 years ago, but I'm a heck of a lot smarter. I'm a lot more cognizant of splits, line splits, depth of the running back.' All kind of issues that he computes. I'm amazed when I watch him at practice, even on Wednesdays. Because he hasn't had the time to go home and digest it all, but he's in the DVDs on Tuesdays, looking at things. And the calls he's making to his teammates on a Wednesday are impressive. There was one game this year, after the ballgame, I stopped him in the hall, and I actually told, 'You know what, London, I'm so blessed to have you because I think you understand the game better than a lot of guys that coach in this league.' That was the biggest compliment I think I could give him."

On whether Fletcher has helped Orakpo: "It's hard to be anybody in this building to be around London Fletcher every day and not be affected by him. Sometimes, it's just the way he carries himself, the way he sits in the meeting and prepares. He's taking the notes, he's asking the good questions. He's not trying to impress anyone with questions, he's trying to prepare. Orakpo's being exposed to that -- I know for a fact it helps these guys. I've seen H.B. Blades come so far these past couple years just being around London. I know it helps me as a coach. I've been coaching all these years and I pick up things up from him. When you stop learning, they might as well take you and bury you. This guy shows you things, and you just got to be around him, watch him."

By Rick Maese  |  December 16, 2009; 10:30 AM ET
 
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Next: Orakpo named NFC defensive player of the week

Comments

FIRST to wonder if there's gonna be a post on every defender on the roster...

Posted by: brownwood26 | December 16, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Blache on Doug Dutch: "Who?"

Posted by: brownwood26 | December 16, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

So the position coaches don't get the players they want?

They get the players the FO wants them to have.

I wonder if this happens with other teams.

Doubt it.

Posted by: MistaMoe | December 16, 2009 10:29 AM


It doesn't.

But that's because the good teams have an identity and hire coaches and players that fit that identity.

Which is why the Redskins have the problems they do.

Posted by: brownwood26 | December 16, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

pa, the skins have to tweek their game plan to take advantage of that, alex smith had the cardinals jumping off-sides 3 times in the first quarter, incorporate that, run in to the lanes that the up the field charging DE, just vacated, draw plays, run right at Kiwi, he's not that talented that running right at him wouldnt' take the starch out of his game....

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | December 16, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

That adjustment will lead to a big dropoff in the passing game. Recently we've been really productive through the air. We've been forcing the defense to adjuts to us instead of us adjusting to them. I think we will score less points and run a lot more. It would be nice for us to come out and dictate things like we've been doing. I just don't see it happening. If we can come out and play like we've been then I'll be thoroughly impressed.

Posted by: PAskinsfan17 | December 16, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Wow. Decided to stroll down memory lane and take a look at the RULE 51 roster from 2006. Think the life of the average NFL player isn't short? After three full seasons, 19 - that's 19 players from the 2006 season are still on the active roster at the start of this season.

Many of those are problematic for 2010.

Included in this group are (4):

CHRIS SAMUELS heads the list followed closely by RANDY THOMAS, RENALDO WYNN, and PHILLIP DANIELS.

Suspect because of injury or contracts include (9):

JASON CAMPBELL, LADELL BETTS, CLINTON PORTIS, ANTWAAN RANDEL-EL, CRIS COOLEY, MIKE SELLERS, ROCK CARTWRIGHT, CORNELIUS GRIFFIN, and CARLOS ROGERS

Those fairly certain of returning include (6):

ETHAN ALBRIGHT, CASEY RABACH, DERRICK DOCKERY (although he wandered over to the BILLS and refined his techniques for awhile), ANDRE CARTER, TODD COLLINS (the security blanket), and SANTANA MOSS.

15 possibles out of 51 players just three+ seasons ago.

Posted by: glawrence007 | December 16, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

But that's because the good teams have an identity and hire coaches and players that fit that identity.

Which is why the Redskins have the problems they do.


Posted by: brownwood26 | December 16, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

We have an identity!! What's wrong with the west air smash coast spread?

Posted by: PAskinsfan17 | December 16, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

brownwood26

"But that's because the good teams have an identity and hire coaches and players that fit that identity."


Yeah.

And I think over the past four weeks, an identity has emerged on the redskin offense side of the ball.

Medium passing game, inside the tackle running game, occasional deep play: that looks like the kind of offensive identity we have.

That means more tight ends and a rotation of backs.

The fullback position is dead.

That means run blocking interior lineman.

Thing is, is the an identity that will win in today's pass happy NFL?

Posted by: MistaMoe | December 16, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Think the life of the average NFL player isn't short? After three full seasons, 19 - that's 19 players from the 2006 season are still on the active roster at the start of this season.

Posted by: glawrence007 | December 16, 2009 10:48 AM


Well done. Now do the same thing for the Steelers and see what you come up with.

The Redskins' way of doing things lends itself to that kind of turnover, probably moreso than most other teams.

Posted by: brownwood26 | December 16, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

I'm not basing my opinions of the young guys on the Giants game for 1 simple reason. I believe that Stephon Heyer is going to get abused. Teams with good pass rushers on both sides will still hurt us until he is replaced. I think Levi is going to struggle too. The Giants may be too good for us to beat with 3 step drops all game. I hope I'm wrong but I just don't see us containing the Giants pass rush effectively.

Posted by: PAskinsfan17 | December 16, 2009 10:27 AM

The one thing we know is that Osi and Mathias K are more concerned about their pass rush than playing their run or misdirection responsibilities. I'd abuse the Giants there. Also, the nemesis has been Tuck, if when can contain that mudda then they should be able to attack the Giants safeties.

Posted by: TWISI | December 16, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

"I'm not basing my opinions of the young guys on the Giants game for 1 simple reason."


Again: if I'm a redskin head coach, the next three games get treated like playoff games.

I want some kind of validation and intensity to finish what was a disappointing year.

Finishing 2-1 sets the right tone moving forward.

Posted by: MistaMoe | December 16, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

JASON seems to be adapting to the new style and away from the sixties-seventies game GIBBS brought to D.C. No seven step drops, three-five steps instead. No more statuesque poses, but rather movement in the pocket and more getting the q-back outside for lane passes upfield both medium and deep. More flexibility for JC to tuck and run. All this is pretty far removed from what was envisioned by GIBBS when he was brought in here. CAMPBELL seems to be adapting slowly. And that's why I'm for keeping him over a sign and trade.

Posted by: glawrence007 | December 16, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Orakpo just earned NFL's Defensive Player of the Week award.

Rock on, Brian.

Posted by: jive_turkey | December 16, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

moe, they've thrown for 589 yards the past 2 games, they need to keep that going, they should be on or around the 250-300 yards passing per game EVERY game....

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | December 16, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

beeps

Posted by: BeantownGreg1 | December 16, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Good post JR.

Posted by: taylormade218 | December 16, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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