London Fletcher takes over the middle of the Redskins' defense in 2007 and he brings a wealth of experience. Fletcher spoke with Redskins.com and media during training camp:
Q: Do you review the stats from last year's Redskins defense and the lack of turnovers?
A: "You can read into take-a-ways two different ways. There are a lot of different things that come into play, such as pass-rush coverage or the way the course of the game is going. If a team is running the ball a lot, it's going to be harder to get those turnovers. Regardless, when I look at it and see that the Redskins only caused 12 turnovers, that's not something we want to duplicate this year. We want a lot more turnovers. It increases your likelihood of winning the football game."
Q: What do you think about the Redskins' season last year?
A: "I feel like people dwell too much on last year, good and bad. You can rest on your laurels when you do something good and obviously think you can just roll your helmet out and things are just going to happen. Or you can kind of harp on last year--and that's what it is, it's last year. If you keep living in the past, you're going to repeat it. It's a new year, new team, new attitude, new focus and that's what I am looking forward to: come out here and help the Redskins be the best defense possible and best team possible."
Q: Why did you come to the Redskins?
A: "I think it is a perfect fit. They had a need at the [middle linebacker] position and my familiarity with the scheme. [Assistant head coach-defense] Gregg Williams felt like he could trust and know what I was like on a personal level and from a players standpoint, it was a perfect fit.
Q: How do you maintain consistency as a player?
A: "It's part of my preparation--and I have 10 other guys doing their job to put me in a position to make the plays. Also, the coaching staff puts me in a position to make the plays. Preparation, whether it be on the field or off the field helps me get a step in terms of film study of knowing what the opposing teams like to run. Then I put myself in a position to be able to make plays using my God given abilities."
Q: Do you feel the need to bring the defense together?
A: "The guys on defense, they want to play together. They know how important it is for us to be together, both on and off the field. We don't have to like everybody but we are going to have to play together and respect one another. I think, for myself, some of the other guys have a lot of leadership qualities that can bring us together."
Q: What are some of the small things you do that can really affect the defense?
A: "Each period, from the beginning of practice to the end of practice, we all come together. The 11 guys that are out on the field, we all say something and then break together. It really sets the tempo and the attitude by which we want to play."
Q: What does the do the linebackers do when you meet together right after practice?
A: "From a linebacker standpoint, I felt like there were still some things that we needed to work on in terms of our fits and adjustments. Those things are sometimes necessary, especially from a linebacker standpoint because we have so much responsibility in the running game and the pass game that it is very important to get everyone set."