The Washington Redskins find themselves on the second four-game losing streak since Coach Mike Shanahan took over in the offseason of 2010, and the third such streak since the 2009 season. But team captain London Fletcher insists that this is nothing like the toxic, circus-style skid that occurred on former coach Jim Zorn’s watch.
The week before the 2009 four-game streak began, Dan Snyder and Vinny Cerrato brought on retired coach-turned-Bingo caller Sherman Lewis as an offensive consultant. Eventually, Zorn was stripped of his play-calling duties, which were turned over to Lewis. Zorn, a dead man walking, watched his team outscored by a combined 92-57 in losses to Carolina, Kansas City, Philadelphia and Atlanta.
“When you look back to ‘09 and the regime that was here before, it was the kind of regime that was in disarray and a locker room that wasn’t a great locker room,” Fletcher said in that locker room Monday. “There were a lot of divisive pieces in the locker room. So it’s a different atmosphere. Coach Shanahan came here last year and he started a process of rebuilding YEARS of mistakes by the prior people who were running things. That’s going to take a while. I thought last year he took a step toward doing that, as far as establishing his standard of doing things, and this year, I feel like we’re taking another step. It’s not necessarily the wins and losses. We see a lot of improvements in this locker room, just in the talent they have been able to bring to this team the last two years. So it’s a process.
“Some times you have to go through a couple losses to get to where you want to be,” added Fletcher, whose five seasons in Washington have been filled primarily with disappointments.
Washington’s defense has endured some ups and downs this season, but offensive struggles are the primary reason for the losing ways.
Fletcher, 36, won a Super Bowl with the St. Louis Rams as a second-year player in 1999. He has been trying to return to the pinnacle ever since, but is running out of time.
He is playing in the final year of his contract, but he said it’s not hard for him to remain patient and dedicated to helping the Redskins turn things around this season and beyond.
“As a professional, I’m going to go out and give my all regardless of the situation, whether we’re up by 20 or we’re down by 20. That’s the only thing I know how to do,” Fletcher said with a smile. “I love playing the game. I love playing here in Washington. I want to be a part of getting them back to the glory days. I’ve shared this with the people in charge, that I want to help establish something so when I leave this game and I’m sitting on my couch, I’m proud to say I was a Redskin because I helped establish a new winning tradition. And that’s the way I look at it. I don’t get caught up in all the other stuff.”