At 2PM Eastern (now) on Redskins.com. I'm taking notes for you:
Our three Vince Lombardi Trophies are at the podium and speak for themselves.
Coach and Fletcher are out there, Fletcher is shorter though looks like a large enough man.
London went to school on a basketball scholarship, transferred to John Carrol playing Football. He is expecting his first baby in the near future. Played with the Rams, then the Bills (nothing new).
We know a lot about Fletcher. He's familiar with the coaching staff, "fits" with the staff. "Football players win football games" (nice!). Fletcher lead all LBers with four interceptions.
Over the past four years, Fletcher has more tackles than anyone in the NFL. Played in 103 straight games. Takes every snap in practice. Plays 1st, 2nd, and nickel. Guy loves to play and Gibbs is excited.
He knows Jerry Gray, Gregg Williams, Steve Jackson, Al Saunders (from St. Louis), and Danny Smith. That he will still come here knowing them suggests he isn't so smart (joke by Joe Gibbs, oh snap Coach). Knows our scheme. Worked under Gregg Williams and Jerry Gray.
We've been keeping our eye on him for a while. Gibbs is appreciative to the scouts, including Vinny for getting him.
Here comes Fletcher... Your Washington Redskins #59:
Thanks to Snyder for allowing him to become a part of this storied franchise. Coach Gibbs, Vinny, Gregg Williams, Jerry Gray, all the guy who played a major role in him becoming a Redskins. Drew Rosenhaus. Etc.
Told Drew this is the place he wanted to play. Team is not far away from returning to the glory days. Coach Gibbs is the kind of Coach who can get us back to where we should be. Getting a fourth (Lombardi) trophy up here.
Has not slept since Free Agency started (really?). Coaches have been calling him in the morning and bothering him. Too many phone calls. Pleased that the deal finally was taken care of and Fletcher is extremely excited.
Q What time did phone ring? 12:01. They called immediately and spoke with Gibbs, Gray, Danny Smith, Al Saunders, Williams, etc. Williams called him again at 3:00AM to tell him that we were coming to scoop him. Said don't forget to bring a suit.
Q Any contact with other teams? Drew Rosenhaus in contact with several other teams.
Q Defense sank from 9th to 31st, what can you do to help that? Looking at what the team did in 2004 and 2005, team was stout against the run and generated turnovers. Had some injuries in 2006. They brought me in to be the QB of the defense to make calls and exude confidence in those calls. Getting all the defensive players on board, specifically on 3rd and 4th down situations. Will be a leader defensively.
Q Feel like it was time to leave Buffalo? Not necessarily, Buffalo is a promising team. An opportunity like this, however, comes along and you cannot pass up on it. Love the Buffalo fans and organization. Close to home (in Cleveland). Opportunity was too great to pass up, however. Dan Snyder will do whatever he can do to make this team a winner. Former players called this a first rate organization. Beyond first class.
Q London Fletcher or London Fletcher-Baker? Added Fletcher-Baker to honor my father and grandfather. Homage to them. Will be Fletcher for now on. Grandfather was sick through last year and did it to honor him, has since passed.
Q How did you go from point guard at basketball to ILB? Football something I always loved. Only played Football my senior year of HS and 3rd year of College. As started playing both sports, Football became the main passion and where I had the most opportunities in the future.
Q Height concern? Holes open sideways not vertically. Height has never bothered me, has never been a concern, my career speaks for itself.
Q Good contract in Buffalo, are you surprised that this contract was so good, given your age? Not really. Always been confident in my play and looking at my career certain aspects of my game have actually improved over time. Can continue to improve and get better. Ageing is related to how you take care of yourself and how your coaches use you. Am confident that I can play many more years.
Q Does Gregg Williams get to berate you now? Now that I've signed on the dotted lines I guess it will start (much haha and laughter). Coaches have their own styles, Gregg Williams wants the best out of his players. Must understand it as coaching and not take it personally.
Q Was the coaching a reason for coming? Absolutely, but the contract was also a reason. When the deal was consummated there was no need to see other places because I knew that I wanted to be here.
Q Why have you had so much success? Great teammates. Coaches putting me in a position to win. Hard work. Being a smart player about where to be on the field and following where the play will develop. Schemes, players, Coaches, etc.
Q You guys have a game in Buffalo, know that? Wow. Think the fans will be nice to me. Will be awesome to go back and play there. Should be different but played against (former team) Rams in Buffalo. I'm ready to hit them like anyone else.
Q Are you still in great shape? Yea. As I mentioned, it's about the things you do in the offseason and during the season to take care of yourself. Mentioned to Coach Gibbs that I'm getting two massages a week etc. to prolong my career and to keep me playing. Cut out the basketball in recent years as well.
Back to Coach Gibbs:
Thanks to Dan for making this possible. Free Agency is a place where we can get select players where you really feel you can get a good look at who are playing at a high level. Has proven out that way [ED. no comment]
Nothing else imminent right now. Trying to do the best job we can monitoring things. Other players visiting but have nothing right now. Tried to work hard to keep the people in Washington who play hard for us and are a valuable football team stay here. We wanted to do that this offseason. We worked on contracts both at the beginning of FA and before. Signed Randy Thomas, Mike Sellers to contract extensions. Resigned Vernon (Fox). Tendered Derrick Frost.
Lemar Marshall has played OLB, ILB, and is a valuable part of this football team. Us getting London gives us flexibility. I think we've got some good young talent that will make an impact next year.
Derrick Dockery played extremely well for us and we didn't want to lose him. Did everything we could to keep him and worked at it for a long time. As we approached Free Agency we didn't have a good feeling about it. And it didn't work out. We are one of the most stable organizations in keeping our players [ED. no comment]. Sometimes the circumstances make that very difficult. Tried to get everyone resigned. Worked hard. Had a gameplan. Etc. etc. etc.
Defense slipped last year very significantly. Still a short trip back. We played extremely well in our first two years and had some things happen to our defense last year that are correctable. We feel like we can get back to that prior level.
Taking a different approach in a lot of areas. Offseason workouts are on the Veteran players, put it on them to be prepared and it is on them. Would like to start as soon as possible. Did some research and asked players about what we can do differently. Have a great group of leaders. Last year was awful and our fans deserve a lot more than that.
Q Any visits later? Will not rule out any additional visits.
Q What stands out about Fletcher? Doesn't come out of game. Plays all downs and gives us someone who can play constantly. Runs sideline to sideline. Practices hard and very competetive. We've brought in some great guys in FA (Marcus, Cornelius) where I wonder where we'd be without free agency.
Q Tight End still an area? Talking to Todd (Yoder). Last year Mike Sellers played on the line of scrimmage a lot. Feel great about Chris Cooley. Would love to have Todd. Depth wise we would like to add someone.
Q Derrick is gone, spot on the O-Line, do we have to add at FA? No, there are some other options available.
--- Missed some due to phone call ---
Q Did you have a talk with Lemar? Have not talked to him about it, though he knows how we feel about him. All of this has happened so fast that we haven't really had a chance to talk with him about it.
--- Missed some due to phone call --- Talking about injuries, I have no idea what was asked. Also briefly mentioned Smoot, though Coach Gibbs was very hesitate to say anything definitive about a deal. Made no indication that he was signed. Said the organization likes Fred.
If you don't want to read through my clunky notes, there is no substitute for the actual Press Conference located here.
Post your comments or thoughts below.