For the last few years MLB/ILB has been a spot that the Redskins and Redskins fans have been spoiled at. London Fletcher has been an Iron Man at his position. Year after year he lead the team in tackling, and was the big factor in Washington's strong run defense in the earlier era of his arrival in 2007. His leadership to this team is unquestionable, strongly justified by having the most credentials of any player on our defense. Fletcher has been class personified, especially in a time where this franchise had become the joke of the NFL. London has long been able to conform us all into believing that for some people, age is just a number. As his age has crept up, his numbers and performance have stayed consistent. But at age 38, is 2013 the end of the road for this man?
The Washington Redskins have not been able to stop the run in 2013. We have given up an average of 201 yards per game, good for last in the NFL. It is a good thing that our secondary cannot cover a lick, or that number might as well be 300. Last week against Green Bay, we made James Starks look like the second coming of Emmitt Smith. We are talking about Green Bay, a team that not had a 100 yard rusher since 2010. Starks often made it to the safety level without even being brushed. Cutback lanes were bigger than Octomom. In Week 1 versus Philadelphia, LeSean McCoy was dropping down linebackers left and right. London Fletcher has been the sargeant on our defense. A defense that has left not been hold us competitive long enough for our offense to have a chance. It is very clear that if this level of defensive played is continued, the Redskins will struggle to win over 7 games this year.
Fletcher has been a shell of himself these first two games. Often lately, he has been unable to shed blocks and easily getting pushed out of the play. The angles of his pursuit have been suspect, and his ability to cover open field has been severely hampered by his slower step.
Were we naive to go into the season believing we were set at ILB? At the same time, how can you replace Fletcher? This man is a leader of the team. That is a position in the locker room that is impossible to maintain if you are not on the field. It is obvious that the Redskins will strongly consider moving on from Fletcher after this season, but does that mean that we are doomed for 2013? If you cannot stop the run in this league, it is very hard to win games. A bad secondary can be masked by a solid pass rush, but a spineless run defense will be exposed all day long. What adjustments do the Redskins need to make to stop the run and save the season?