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London Fletcher Full Transcript: 07/24

On Wednesday, July 24, 2013, Redskins LB London Fletcher addressed the media following the training camp conditioning test at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va.


On if he is completely healthy entering this season:

"Yeah, I feel great. This time of the year, most guys get excited. The grass starts to smell a little bit different because you know football season is just right around the corner. So for me, I'm excited to be here. I'm ready to get going. I feel good."

On saying last year he'd never had a quarterback like Robert Griffin III and his thoughts on him now after his first season:

"Well, if I was impressed with him before the season, how do you think I feel about him now? [Laughter]. You know, I saw what he was able to do and accomplish last season. I think he exceeded all expectations, and that's really hard for a guy like him to come in with such high expectations. And when you think about it, this franchise has been looking for a franchise quarterback for, I don't know, over 20 years, so to finally get one… And the talent is one thing, but also the way he carries himself and the way he goes about his business is refreshing."

On what it takes to go from making the playoffs one year to being a perennial contender:

"I think it's a combination of things. Obviously, having good football players, the right coaching staff, players buying into the system, health, guys being healthy and really just having a mentality of 'every day I'm going to come in and work, not worry about what happened the last game, not worry about what happened yesterday,' and things like that. Consistently having your same core group of guys on your team year in and year out. That's probably the difference."

On how close the team is to making the next step:

"I think the organization, Coach [Mike] Shanahan, Bruce Allen, they've done a great job of adding to the talent of this football team. I think the roster, when you look at the young talent they have, the veterans, the older guys they have, I think it's a great group of guys. The locker room, we like our locker room. We like coming to work. And guys just really have a mentality of, "We want to come in and get better each and every day." When you have that type of character, that type of talent, that mix of young and old, you can accomplish some good things."

On the difference of having training camp on the road:

"For me having been in the league now for – this is my 16th training camp and prior to coming to Washington I'd always gone away for camp – having been in D.C. and now it's my seventh year, so for six years, being at home for training camp, I was kind of looking forward to this. Going away, getting back. I think it bonds your team a lot better than staying at home and practice, because guys, any time you get free time, guys want to run home and do some other things, but now with us being here in an environment where we're forced to spend more time with each other, guys can go out and have a meal together, spend more time together. I think that's beneficial to our football team in general. And also, it allows us to connect with some fans who normally wouldn't get a chance to see us practice, so I think it's great."

*On the impact of linebacker Brian Orakpo and defensive end Adam Carriker returning from injury:        *

"'Rak, he's what you call a difference maker. So for him, he can help make some of the other players better. When you're able to pressure the quarterback, get sacks on the quarterback and also from a game plan standpoint, the offensive coordinators, they have to account for him, so he's going to help other guys play better football. Again, last year 'Rak was out and guys had to step up. [Linebacker] Rob Jackson came in, played well for us and a number of other guys came in and played well for us. So you've got to have depth on your football team because injuries happen but I think if we can be as healthy as possible, keep our starters and continue to add guys in there who will play a lot of football for us, that's going to make a difference for us."

On if he thinks about his durability:

"When you mention it, or when somebody else mentions it. It's just something where you get up every day and go to work and don't think about it. It's pretty much how I go about my business. I get up every day, come to work and don't think about the durability part until somebody brings it up. I feel good. I try to do a lot of different things to keep myself feeling good. The training staff does a great job of working with me, and the coaches do a great job of monitoring my reps and things like that. So, I don't think about it a whole lot."

On the role luck and other factors play into his longevity:

"Yeah, that's genetics. So, genetics are one. God blessed me with some good genes, a little bit of dumb toughness too probably [laughter]. So, it's a lot of different things. Really the main thing I look at is not really wanting to let my teammates down and being honest with myself and [I] want to be out there on the football field with them. So, if I feel good enough to play, I play."

On if it is "RGIII's world" and how the players feel about that:

"We don't think about it. You know, it's not a situation where we're feeling like 'It's RGIII's world.' He's a dynamic talent. He's a great person, so I think that part of it makes it easy. He gets a lot of attention nationally and deservedly so. And that's just a part of it. When he came in, he's a Heisman trophy winner, but he's a charismatic person and a tremendous talent. So you know there is no situation where us as teammates look at him like, 'What about the rest of us?' or anything like that."

On the difference in the defense in the second half of the season last year:

"Last year we did have two different types of seasons. I think obviously having some injuries and trying to figure out different roles for different guys, that factored in. Coaching staff really realized, "OK, I've got these guys. What are their strengths? What are their weaknesses? Let's play to these guys' strengths. I think we really just locked in better as a football team collectively. Offense played great, defense played great, special teams played great. It was a lot of different of things that came into play as far as us playing the way we played at the second half of the season. Guys really honed into the details of the game plan a lot better, understood situational football a lot better. So those things all played a part into us playing better down the stretch."

On his first impressions of training facility in Richmond:

"I think this is a fabulous facility. You know, when you pull up, it's a brand new place and you walk in there and the facility is great. The locker rooms are great; the fields are magnificent. This is a pretty nice setup for you all. So I think, for us, we appreciate this."                         

On if he thinks about his future and/or his next contract:

"No, not really. Really, in the National Football League, you are always on your last year of your contract for the most part. This is just the nature of the business. I have scratched and clawed my whole career. I came in as an undrafted free agent, so I was on the last year of my contract 16 years ago when you really think about it. It's not something I spend a lot of time with. I'm focused on this season and that's pretty much it and the rest will take care of itself."

On quarterback Kirk Cousins' performance last season:

"I think with Kirk, it started in the preseason. He progressed each and every practice. He did some good things in the preseason games to where Coach Shanahan felt good enough about making him the No. 2 guy as a rookie. You know, in practice, he made plays. He did a great job of getting us prepared for games from a defensive standpoint. And then when he got his opportunity to play, you think about the Baltimore game when he had to go in there in a situation where we were behind, he makes some great throws and plays for us to win the game. Then we go to Cleveland, he played well. Kirk's definitely shown that he can play in the National Football League."

On if he is "a better player, a smarter player or both":

"I think from a physical standpoint, obviously with the 15 years of wear and tear, there's a decline that goes with that. But mentally, I think I'm as sharp and in tune with my game as I've ever been. So where the physical part has gone down, I've gained from a mental standpoint in understanding whether it's a line and a step here to the right or to the left, just different things that help me still continue to play at a high level. I think it's a combination of a lot of different things that has kept me playing at a high level."

On balancing the desire to play against knowing his body's limits in his career and how that can be applied to Griffin III's career moving forward:

"I think the more you spend time in the game and you understand if you're going to be in there and hurt the team, you have to come to the conclusion, 'You know what? I'm not putting us in the best position because of my health situation, so let me get out the game and let the next guy go in and play because he'll give us a better chance to win this ballgame. With Robert, his position of quarterback, it puts more internal pressure on you to go out and want to be there on a play in, play out basis, game in and game out situation. There's no more important position on the football team than quarterback, so it's a fine line where you have to realize and understand and listen to your body, trust the coaches, trust the training staff, the medical staff and really be honest with them about how you're feeling and then go from there."




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