Redskins linebacker London Fletcher has never missed a regular season game in his 14-year career, starting every game since the 2000 season.
Even last year when he was battling significant leg injuries in Week 7 vs. the Buffalo Bills, he started anyway, and finished with a game-high 20 tackles.
So when the Redskins defense look the field last Saturday night against the Colts, it was a strange spectacle to see someone other than No. 59 at the heart of the Redskins' defense.
"London is still not feeling right," head coach Mike Shanahan reported after the game. "I'm not exactly sure why, but any time London says he's not feeling good, you know something is wrong.
"Hopefully, he will feel better this week."
After a weekend of rest, Fletcher was back to practice on Monday, providing his typical enthusiasm and on the field and leadership in the locker room.
"I feel pretty good," he said with a broad smile.
Veteran linebacker Lorenzo Alexander got the start in place of Fletcher on Saturday, and noted that the defense lacked tackling technique because players do not tackle in practice.
"You really get good at tackling by doing it in games," Alexander said. "[In practice] you do drills where you want to [get] fit, but it's not the same thing as taking someone down."
Fletcher has been in the NFL long enough to remember live tackling in practice, which is now largely banned in the collective bargaining agreement.
Fletcher agreed with Alexander's assessment of the defense, and noted that attention to detail is the key to success.
"When you get into the game situation, [you're seeing] different schemes and going against different athletes. You have to really work at it, and it's something that you get better with as the season goes on.
"You have to constantly try to put yourself in a great tackling position."
Despite any impediment defenders may have with tackling early in the season, Fletcher said he was grateful for the rule changes, as it related to player health going into the season.
"Obviously, you don't want to get a guy hurt in practice with tackles," he said. "You have to protect your guys, your teammates, but you still try to get some things done."
Fletcher reported that he hopes to play Saturday vs. Andrew Luck and the Colts at FedExField.