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Patriot Games For Fletcher, Redskins


Forgive London Fletcher if he's not very talkative this week. He has tunnel vision when it comes to playing the New England Patriots.

You see, perhaps no other Redskins player knows the Patriots like Fletcher--or has as much motivation to play them.

In January 2002, Fletcher and the St. Louis Rams lost to the Patriots 20-17 in Super Bowl XXXVI. That game basically launched the Patriots' dynasty, continuing into this year with their 7-0 start.

The following season, Fletcher signed with the Buffalo Bills and competed against New England twice a year from 2002-06.

The Bills' record against the Patriots in that span: 1-9.

Now Fletcher is a Redskin, and he's back in familiar territory. This Sunday, he'll travel to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., to take on the undefeated Patriots.

New England has been dominant in virtually every game this year, defeating opponents by an average score of 40-17. Quarterback Tom Brady has 27 touchdown passes. There has even been talk of an undefeated season.

This week, the entire Redskins' defense is limiting their media chatter. Fletcher set the tone during Wednesday's open locker room session with reporters.

He kept his answers short and nondescript.

"Just knowing [the Patriots] from the past, they're going to be a very well-coached football team and they're going to prepare very well week-in and week-out," he said.

How big of a challenge is it to take on the Patriots' high-powered, top-ranked offense, London?

"I think each week is a big challenge," he said. "Every opponent has different challenges that we have to face."

So are players trying to block out distractions in preparation for Sunday's game?

"Week-in and week-out, it's the same approach," he said.

Fletcher is coming off his best game as a Redskin. In their 21-19 win over the Arizona Cardinals, Fletcher logged a team-high 10 tackles.

He picked off Kurt Warner in the second quarter and raced 27 yards for a touchdown.

It was Fletcher's second interception of the season and 13th in his career. It was also his third touchdown in the last two seasons. (He scored twice last season with the Buffalo Bills.)

For the season, Fletcher leads the Redskins in tackles with 70, including 40 solo stops and three tackles for a loss.

In just his first season as a Redskin, Fletcher has emerged as a leader of the defense. So that makes it notable that his demeanor this week has been different than weeks past.

Fletcher was asked: Are the New England Patriots your least favorite topic to discus right now?

"No," he said.

Then he broke out in laughter, perhaps an acknowledgement that he was being choice with his words. The Patriots are a team known for finding motivation in even the most innocuous of comments.

Quickly he added: "No, no, not at all. They're an extremely good football team. They're a dynasty. They've won three Super Bowls this decade. They have a great coaching staff and great personnel.

"They have the right approach each week to games. We have a great challenge that we face this week."

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