Linebacker London Fletcher acknowledged following Monday night’s loss that he’s disappointed about how things have unraveled for the Washington Redskins after he expected big things when he decided to return for his 16th NFL season.
But Fletcher also expressed continued support for Coach Mike Shanahan. He said Redskins players continued to put forth effort, in his view, during Monday’s defeat to the San Francisco 49ers. And he vowed that the Redskins won’t surrender on the season even with the team’s record at 3-8.
“It’s a situation where coming back I was — we all were anticipating being able to do some great things this year, hoping to build off the momentum we were able to build last year winning 10 ballgames, winning the NFC East and thinking we’d be better this year, getting some guys back healthy,” Fletcher said. “We all had high aspirations as a football team, thinking we could do some things, go further in the playoffs this year.
“So it’s disappointing for me. It’s disappointing for everybody as a team. I don’t put myself above anybody. We’re all disappointed, the way the season has gone. Whether you’re a first-year, second-year, third-year guy [or] you’re a 16-year vet, nobody is happy with the way things have turned out.”
Fletcher was one of the last players left in the home locker room at FedEx Field as Monday night gave way to early Tuesday morning.
“For us as players and fans, you look at the record, you look at 3-8 and say, you think like, ‘Man, this is pretty bad,’ ” he said. “But if you look at we’ve had four or five ballgames … where there’s three, four plays that’s the difference in us winning and losing and we’re sitting here with four or five more wins.”
Fletcher said he remains in Shanahan’s corner.
“He’s a great leader. … Effort [by players] has never been an issue for us,” Fletcher said. “Preparation has never been an issue for us. We won’t let anybody give up on the season. And we don’t have those type of guys. That’s just not the character of our guys on this team.”
Fletcher did not attribute Monday’s performance to the after-effects of dealing with the controversies that swirled around the Redskins last week.
“I don’t think so,” he said. “It’s a situation where I think Coach does a great job of trying to make the main things the main things, and really emphasizing what’s the main thing. For us it’s about the 53 guys in the locker room … us focusing on us and not really listening and hearing the outside noise. Yeah, it’s a situation where you don’t like to answer all the questions. You’re into Wednesday of your game-plan week and you’re answering questions about who’s the leader, leadership and Robert [Griffin III] having to deal with all the questions that he had to deal with. But once you get into the work week, you’re so focused on the opponent, the game plan and stuff like that — that stuff is non-essential.”
Fletcher said he didn’t see players giving up Monday night.
“I really just focus on [the] defense. … I don’t think playing hard is an issue for this football team,” he said. “Now, we need to play smart sometimes. And I’m not talking about tonight. I’m talking about in general. But I think effort, if you look at it, defensively I thought we ran to the football pretty good. You had four or five guys swarming, tackling. You didn’t see too many plays where it was one-on-one tackles where guys had to make. You saw multiple guys in the frame and swarming to the football. So I don’t think effort was an issue.”
Mark Bullock is The Insider’s Outsider, sharing his impressions of the Redskins’ play without the benefit of access to the team.
● Mike Shanahan’s 3 p.m. news conference with reporters.
● The Redskins practice at 11:40 a.m. on Wednesday and 10:25 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning.
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