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Posted at 1:48 PM ET, 01/ 4/2011

London Fletcher: still tackling after all these years

By Jason Reid

Despite a scheme change and struggles on defense, insider linebacker London Fletcher continued to impress in his 13th NFL season.

Coach Mike Shanahan and defensive coordinator Jim Haslett raved about the performance and leadership of Washington's defensive co-captain, who again was among the league leaders in tackles.

Tackles are not an official statistic, but Fletcher finished seventh in the league with 136, including 87 unassisted, according to NFL's Game Statistics Information System. Fletcher also had 2½ sacks, one interception and three forced fumbles.

At 35, Fletcher does not appear to be slowing down. With a base salary of $4.9 million and a $100,000 workout bonus, Fletcher made $5 million in 2010. He will work under the same contract terms in 2011, the last season on his current deal.

Fletcher has no plans to retire soon, and he hopes to finish his career with the Redskins.

"Those things [contract extensions] kind of take care of themselves," Fletcher said the other day. "Now is not the time to really think about it. I haven't thought about it. I'm still playing at a high level.

"I still can play at a high level. I have not lost my desire to compete ... and that's one of the things that I pride myself in. As far as the organization goes, we'll cross that bridge when it comes."

By Jason Reid  | January 4, 2011; 1:48 PM ET
Categories:  London Fletcher  
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Next: Football Insider Live: What will the Redskins look like in 2011?


Thank God for London Fletcher. Only way to build a team is with free agents like this. Except for the other ways to build a team, of course.

Posted by: beep-beep | January 4, 2011 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Redskins defense was near the top in number of plays...lots of tackles to go around...but nice job again Fletch.

Posted by: PlayAction | January 4, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

"You don't switch to a 3-4 defense if you don't have the players. We had a top 10 defense last year."


Here's why:

1) The Redskins were 4-12 with a "top 10 defense".

2) We could not create turnovers.


Again, for once we're not taking the "Win Now" approach.

Posted by: rickyroge | January 4, 2011 2:05 PM | Report abuse

When you win...all your personnel moves make you a genius

When you lose...all you personnel moves make you look stupid.

Posted by: rickyroge | January 4, 2011 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I swear London Fletcher is a superhero.

He's undersized, never gets hurt, he doesn't get old, doesn't miss tackles, owns Brandon Jacobs and he can probably play until he's 40.

The man is indestructable.

Posted by: iH8dallas | January 4, 2011 2:08 PM | Report abuse

I'll say it.

I do think Fletcher lost a little this year. Maybe part of it was getting comfortable in the 3-4.

Fletcher still plays at a high level, but against his very high standards, 2010 was a bit short.

Posted by: zcezcest1 | January 4, 2011 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Look, I am not saying the Redskins need to pick an offensive lineman with the tenth pick. I am saying they trade down for multiple picks, pick a nose tackle, or, yes, they draft another left tackle. I am saying they definitely don't need to pick a quarterback with all of the holes they need to fill.

Moe, Brown is not under contract. The team will need to re-sign him, he wants to get paid, and he's not 100%. I don't think it is a sure thing that he will be back.

Psp, T. Williams did miss Osi the first time. The second time, when Osi came inside, it looked to me like Williams was looking for help from Lichtensteiger because he locked on to the guy who was on his outside shoulder. Lichtensteiger was busy helping Rabach. I agree that Lichtensteiger does a pretty good job getting to the second level. The problem is, when he has someone in front of him on the first level he is going to end up on his buttocks unless he gets help. You want to know who has been dominated on the offensive line? Look at the end of any game at FedEx and see who has grass stains on their backs. It's disgraceful. This offensive line is not good.

Posted by: RedSkinHead | January 4, 2011 2:04 PM

Posted by: RedSkinHead | January 4, 2011 2:13 PM | Report abuse


But, Moe....Don't you want the 340lb. Carl Nicks?

I sure do.

I'm putting money in our o-line in ways Vinny put money in AH alone.

I'm re-signing J Brown after an extensive medical exam of his hip.

I'm adding starters R Kalil-center (panthers) and Carl Nicks-guard (saints).

Both players are under 27, btw.

The line:

T Williams

K Lictenslieger

R Kalil

C Nicks

J Brown

Yes, Nicks isn't the light-quick guy Shanny prefers.

But when you watch the saints, no one pushes him back into Drew Brees' face.

Nicks is Pouncey with experience, y'all.

Kalil centers a good run-blocking panther o-line.

I'd open up the checkbook for both players knowing they've had success in the NFL.

It would also allow me to take another o-line back up or two in round 5, a wr in 4, a olb/dt in round 2, and quarterback in 1.

Posted by: MistaMoe | January 4, 2011 2:16 PM | Report abuse

PAs not watching this BEEPS--->

Posted by: Diesel44 | January 4, 2011 2:18 PM | Report abuse

By the way, for those that didn't realize it, Santana Moss led the NFC east in receptions and yards for a Wr. He was 4th in the nfl in receptions and 10th in yards. He also had 6 Tds.

Armstrong finished with over 800 yards as a no. 2. And he was top 5 in ypc.

Cooley finished top 30 in the NFL for receptions. That's 3 players on the top 30 for receptions. Not bad for this offense.

I've made my thoughts known about the young line and their progress.

And I do believe Torain is the real deal when healthy. The trick is stating that way for him.

I'm also excited by the prospects of banks and Austin on offense. Fred Davis and Logan paulsen are top notch for their relative roles as well.

It's the perfect time for a young QB to come in and grow with this group. We aren't going to the super bowl, but there is a bright future for this offense.

Posted by: psps23 | January 4, 2011 2:18 PM | Report abuse

badSJK, fo sho.

Posted by: DikShuttle | January 4, 2011 2:21 PM | Report abuse

I know this will draw out the locals with pitch forks and torches, but I think London Fletcher is a little too old, too short armed and overpaid to play inside linebacker in this defense. The guy is great in space but not nearly so good when he plays at the line of scrimmage. I could see him sticking around as a situational player, but the salary is pretty high for a sometimes player. Was it my imagination, or was Lorenzo Alexander playing inside linebacker at the end of the season? Could he be London's eventual replacement?

Also, since I have already upset the apple cart let me tip it on over by saying HB Blades doesn't have any business in this defense, either. He suffers from the same alligator arms syndrome that plagues London Fletcher.

I'm not taking anything away from either of these guys. They have been great for the Redskins, but they don't fit anymore. It is time to be "all in" with the 3-4 and these guys need to play somewhere else.

Posted by: RedSkinHead | January 4, 2011 2:21 PM | Report abuse

I feel sorry for Fletcher; he's waaay too classy to be associated w/ the dysfunctional bunch that is Dan Snyder's Redskins.

Posted by: nonsensical2001 | January 4, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

The 3-4 NT from Stanford (who I told y'all to watch) looks like a good 3rd/4th round pick up......Also, Marvin Austin may be available around that time as well....

NT/DT/DE converts seem to be deep this year...It's just aout determining witch ones will be the good ones in the NFL....

Posted by: 4thFloor | January 4, 2011 2:28 PM | Report abuse

>>> I know this will draw out the locals with pitch forks and torches, but I think London Fletcher is a little too old, too short armed and overpaid to play inside linebacker in this defense.

I don't have a pitch fork but I couldn't disagree more. Well sure I agree that the guy has short arms, but he's been an incredible and versatile player and rock solid through a lot of ups and downs (mostly downs).

He still dives over the offensive line to make stuffs on short yardage, and also breaks up passes deep in the secondary, covers receivers, hits over the middle, makes a majority of the team's tackles, rushes the passer, etc. If we had 5 London Fletchers, the 3-4 defense would be unstoppable.

He isn't quite as explosive as Polamalu, but I think he is on his level. He doesn't take as many chances and does the heavy lifting on every play. As he gets older, he gets smarter without losing any quickness or toughness. You can't ask for any more from your LB.

I can't believe he constantly gets passed over in the Pro Bowl. The players that go to the Pro Bowl are those that make the highlight reels with big picks but also get burned a lot (D. Hall). Fletcher carries the defense on his back but never gets the credit he deserves.

Posted by: unclelonghair | January 4, 2011 2:47 PM | Report abuse

By the way, for those that didn't realize it, Santana Moss led the NFC east in receptions and yards for a Wr. He was 4th in the nfl in receptions and 10th in yards. He also had 6 Tds.

Posted by: psps23 | January 4, 2011 2:18 PM | Report abuse

psps23 - great points. And to think that DeSean Jackson got the pro bowl nod with 47 catches. What a joke.

Agree that we have a better set of skill players than people think. Perfect situation for a young QB. Just needs to be the right one in the mould of Ryan, Flacco, Bradford, etc.

Posted by: quinn3 | January 4, 2011 2:59 PM | Report abuse

You gotta love this guy. He could make the Pro Bowl each year if he (like unclelonghair said) made highlight-real-like hits. Controversy helps, too, but there hasn't been any of that, either. There's plenty of that with the Skins already, don't you think?

Posted by: Supporter51 | January 4, 2011 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Fletch was the best FA signing since we got Riggins from the Jets. He leads the team in tackles, passion, smarts and work ethic. Give him a blank check for his next contract. When he's too old, make him a linebacker coach. You do not let a guy like this get away from a team. He can do soooooo much for an organization for years and years. Are you listening, Danny???

Posted by: Riggo2 | January 4, 2011 4:56 PM | Report abuse

When I think about Fletcher this season I can't get the image of him getting pushed backwards by Josh Freeman on that pivotal 2-point conversion.

Fletch sniffed out the play and still couldn't stop a 2nd year QB from sneakin across the goaline for crissakes.

I'm over London right now. I'm fine with Henson and Riley battling to take his spot.

Posted by: elfreako | January 4, 2011 6:11 PM | Report abuse

LF59 is a rare one, a rock even so late in his career, you def resign him if he's anywhere close next year with his performance. guys like this just don't come along that often, like once a decade if that.

Posted by: greatteamdan | January 4, 2011 6:51 PM | Report abuse

I like London Fletcher. He's a professional but I laughed when I read in the summation of the defense that Fletcher is in Shanahan's "long term plans". Really, a 35 year old linebacker is in the Redskins "long term plans". I hope long term means next season, when he'll be 36.

Posted by: jroane | January 6, 2011 10:34 AM | Report abuse

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