Linebacker Nick Barnett, top, wraps up Tampa Bay’s Mike James with the help of Phillip Merling during the preseason.

Nick Barnett said he wasn’t surprised that he played eight plays last weekend against the Detroit Lions filling in for inside linebacker London Fletcher. Barnett said that was his understanding when he signed with the Redskins in training camp of what his role would be — replacing Fletcher occasionally during games in a bid to maximize Fletcher’s effectiveness by keeping him better rested.

“I think that was kind of the idea when I came here, is to kind of get to go in and rotate and let him get out a little bit so he can come back fresh and play as fresh as possible,” said Barnett, a former starter for the Green Bay Packers and Buffalo Bills. “So I’m just here to spell him and if that role increases, then the role increases. If the number of plays increases, it increases. If not, I’ll be ready for it.”

Barnett said he thinks Fletcher derived benefits from the time-sharing arrangement.

“I think he noticed the difference,” Barnett said. “I think he felt fresher when he got in and was ready to go. I think he felt fresher and was running around a lot more. I don’t know if it was a direct [correlation] to him getting those reps off. But I think it helped.”

The part-time role is an adjustment for Barnett.

“The biggest thing for me is to stay loose and be ready to go in and be comfortable and play,” he said.

Have a Redskins question? E-mail Mike Jones at with the subject line “Mailbag question” for him to answer it in The Mailbag on Tuesday.

What’s ahead:

● The Redskins practice Friday at 11:50 a.m.; Sunday’s game in Oakland kicks off at 4:25 p.m.

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