Allen isn’t worried about leadership void left by Fletcher’s retirement

April 30, 2014

GM Bruce Allen says Jay Gruden will set the tone for the Redskins. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Redskins general manager Bruce Allen said that he has no concerns about his players’ ability to replace locker-room leader London Fletcher, who has retired.

Allen says new head coach Jay Gruden and his assistants will fill that void, and that gradually, the team’s locker-room leaders will emerge.

“I’m not worried about that. It think London was a special case,” Allen said Monday at the annual Brian Orakpo Leukemia Golf Classic. “Leaders develop as the season goes on, but it really flows from the head coach and his coaching staff that we’re looking to provide the leadership for our team.”

For seven seasons, Fletcher not only anchored Washington’s defense at inside linebacker, but players also viewed him as head team captain. Last season, Barry Cofield, Robert Griffin III, Trent Williams and Reed Doughty opened the season as co-captains along with Fletcher. But the linebacker, as the team’s elder statesman, served as the leader of that group within the locker room.

Cofield, Griffin and Williams all return, and this offseason. Safety Ryan Clark, who signed with the team this spring, also is expected to provide a stabilizing veteran presence.

Gruden challenged cornerback DeAngelo Hall to serve as one of the team’s leaders. Hall said he plans on doing just that.

Cofield earlier this month also expressr\ed confidence in the players’ ability to fill Fletcher’s role, and said that, more than anything, personal accountability is the key.

And Griffin said last week that he plans on taking a larger leadership role, both on and off the field this season.

“As a quarterback, my identity is I am the leader of this team, I am the guy that everybody looks to when things are going bad,” he said. “In those moments in the three games we won [in 2013] – where we had to come from behind to win those games – everyone is in the huddle, they are not looking at the coach. They’re looking at me as the quarterback and in those moments we were able to deliver. That is my identity.”

Have a question about the Redskins? Send an e-mail to mike.jones@washpost.com with the subject line “Mailbag question,” and it might be answered on Tuesday in The Mailbag.

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Mike Jones covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. When not writing about a Redskins development of some kind – which is rare – he can be found screaming and cheering at one of his kids’ softball, baseball, soccer or basketball games.
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