Redskins need more from Haslett's defense
London Fletcher played in his 243rd consecutive game Sunday, tying Bill Romanowski’s record for a defensive player since the 1970 merger. But for the first time this season, Fletcher did not play every snap on defense for the Redskins in Sunday’s 27-20 loss to the Lions.
The 38-year-old inside linebacker played 59 snaps (88-percent), while his backup Nick Barnett played the other eight snaps. Barnett first spelled Fletcher on the Lions’ third offensive possession of the game.
“To be honest, we’ve been talking about giving London a few plays off,” Coach Mike Shanahan said on Monday. “We don’t want to overwork him, especially with the offenses we go against nowadays, with the hurry-up and no huddle.”
Fletcher finished with eight tackles and a sack – a marked improvement over his performance a week earlier in Green Bay, where he recorded one solo tackle and one combined. Barnett, meantime, had two tackles against the Lions.
Asked why the coaching staff felt the need to give Fletcher an occasional break, Shanahan said they want to keep him fresh while also getting Barnett involved. Barnett did not take a snap on defense the first two games.
“First of all,” Shanahan said, “we feel very good about London. But we want to keep him healthy, keep him fresh. And we think Nick is doing a good job, too.”
Fletcher told reporters after the game: “Just simply made to keep me fresher. It was something I decided I wanted to do to let him get a few plays and keep me fresher. They rotate running backs to keep them fresher so I decided to rotate the middle linebacker.”
Shanahan also said he’s hoping to spell Fletcher more often in future games.
“I’d like to give him a few more plays off, just [to not] wear him down,” Shanahan said. “We’re trying to keep London at 100-percent and we don’t want to set him back at all.”