Monday, December 6, 2010, 6:56 p.m.
By Ryan O'Halloran
During London Fletcher's first three years with the Redskins, the defense never finished worse than 10th in yards allowed per game and was among the top 11 in fewest points allowed two times.
Things haven't gone as well this year.
After the latest eyesore ' allowing 197 rushing yards in a 31-7 loss to the New York Giants on Sunday ' the Redskins are 31st in yards and 23rd in points.
'We've been a very powerful unit over the last few years but with this new scheme and we have some new players, it's taken us awhile ' longer than we would have all liked,' Fletcher said Monday at Redskin Park.
Said cornerback Carlos Rogers: 'That's terrible, for us to be that low on defense.'
The Redskins have allowed at least 137 yards rushing in each of the last four games and the takeaway well has dried up ' only three in the last four games.
'We're used to performing at such a high level and being something you could hang your hat on, knowing week in and week out, we would always give ourselves a chance to win the game because of how we played defensively,' Fletcher said.
What has disappointed Fletcher is a recent inability to stop games from getting out of control. Philadelphia scored on its first five drives in Week 10 and the Giants put up two quick touchdowns on Sunday.
'The thing I sense for us is, sometimes, we have big plays that happen and all of a sudden, we go in the tank so to speak,' Fletcher said. 'The Giants game and the Philly game ' same type of feeling. Something happens and doesn't go our way and instead of realizing it's going to be a 60-minute game, let's keep playing and see what's happens, it's a feeling of, 'Ah, shoot, here we go again.''
On Sunday, Fletcher said the Redskins needed be tougher physically. On Monday, he said the mental toughness has to improve.
'In pro sports, you have to be mentally tough, physically tough and at different stages, one is more important than the other, especially throughout the course of a game,' he said.
Safety LaRon Landry (Achilles') expects to practice Wednesday and coach Mike Shanahan said running back Ryan Torain (hamstring) will be fully available but he's 'not sure' on Rogers (hamstring).
Left tackle Trent Williams (shoulder) didn't start the game and departed for good at halftime.
'It's a little sore,' Shanahan said. 'I think he'll be able to go.'
This week's opponent, Tampa Bay, lost two key players when cornerback Aqib Talib (hip) and center Jeff Faine (triceps) were placed on injured reserve.
Shanahan, Thomas Meet
Shanahan said former Redskins receiver Devin Thomas, who made two big special teams plays for the Giants, was waiting for him outside the locker room Sunday.
'Great conversation,' Shanahan said. 'I told him I was really rooting for him because I really like him as a person. I was very proud of the way he handled himself on and off the field Sunday. You can tell he's a guy who's grown up and heading in the right direction.'
Shanahan said he was 'very proud' of the offensive line against the Giants. New York sacked Donovan McNabb four times.
Cornerback Phillip Buchanon confirmed he was benched in favor of Kevin Barnes at halftime. Buchanon saw playing time as the nickel corner. 'Phillip has done a great job for us all year and doing a great job in the nickel package,' Shanahan said. 'There were a couple tackles in there, Barnes being a bigger corner may have helped us.'
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