Alexander, who during his career has lined up at various spots along the offensive line, at fullback, at defensive end and at outside linebacker, got his first start at inside linebacker Saturday when London Fletcher was held out of the preseason matchup against Chicago.
Alexander recorded four tackles, but more importantly did well making the defensive calls for his unit.
Alexander said that although he was encouraged, he didn’t meet Fletcher’s standards.
“I want to be where Fletch is with the type of intensity he brings and the type of respect he brings to the game, raising people’s games up,” the 6-foot-1, 244-pound Alexander said. “Ever since I’ve been here, it seems like when he’s not in there, the defense plays at a different level. So I’m trying to take my game to a level where I command that same type of energy from the defense. That’s something I’m going to have to work on. Obviously, he’s been doing it for 15 years, and this is my first year. But I feel good.”
Alexander has spent countless hours in the film room with Fletcher, picking his brain and working to better learn the position. He said that although he can make all of the calls and put his team in the right coverages, his anticipation needs to improve.
“Fletch has such a high football IQ,” Alexander said. “He’s seen so much that he knows when things are going to happen, where the ball’s going, when he can cheat. All that makes him look like the Hall of Famer that he is because he’s so mentally in-tune with the game. . . Fletch can see little things and be able to react off of that, and that’s where I want to be over the next two or three years.”
Alexander handled the inside linebacker duties while filling his usual role as special teams captain.
“That’s always hard. Playing defense, I played 40 snaps, and I was on punt and punt return, that’s right around defense, and that wore me out a little bit,” Alexander laughed. “Especially the time where they punted, we had the turnover, and defense came back on the field. I’m glad I won’t have to do that all the time.”
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