When he got word after the game about the harsh criticism that his former defensive captain had for him during a television appearance, Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett had little reaction other than shock.
For four seasons, Haslett had counted linebacker London Fletcher as his most trusted player, and an extension of himself on the field. Whenever asked about the linebacker, Haslett would gush about his smarts, his leadership and his toughness. Even last season, when Fletcher’s physical skills had deteriorated and his impact was minimal, Haslett had defended his linebacker, and refused to bench him for players that could have been more effective.
So, when Haslett got back to the locker room and heard that Fletcher had described him as clueless and questioned why he still had a job, Haslett struggled to understand the reason behind the comments.
Haslett briefly addressed reporters, saying, “I just heard what London said and all I’ll say is I’m disappointed in his reaction. Obviously, he has an opinion, but I’m disappointed that he would come out and say something like. But, every man has an opinion, and he obviously stated his.”
Asked if the two had ever had conflicts, or a falling out of some kind, Haslett said, “London and I have never had an issue.”
“Why does Jim Haslett still have his job as a defensive coordinator after five years now of just ineptitude at the defensive coordinator position?” Fletcher said. “He’s clueless as a defensive coordinator. He lacks attention to detail. He lacks feel on how to call a game. Some of the calls he used to call when I was playing were head-scratching. They were so bad, I used to change them, like, ‘We’re not running that.’ And we’d get off the field and he would ask, ‘Why did you change the call.’ (I would say), ‘Because that’s just a dumb call. That’s why I changed it.’”
Fletcher went on to say that Haslett “would take the ’85 Bears and turn them into a mediocre defense. He is clueless. He has no idea what he is doing. Believe me, I had a front row seat for four years.”
Fletcher’s former teammates expressed shock when informed of his comments.
“That’s surprising to me,” Fletcher’s former sidekick Perry Riley Jr. said. “I thought they had a good relationship, but you never know. … Fletch had so much power on this team, maybe they had some private conversations I wasn’t a part of.”
Defensive linemen Jarvis Jenkins and Stephen Bowen echoed Riley’s sentiments.
“Why would Fletch say that?” Jenkins asked incredulously.
Linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said, “That’s disappointing to hear that. As a guy who played with London for three years here, I have a great deal of respect for him, and obviously, have a lot of respect and affection for Coach Haz. That’s disappointing.”
E-mail a Redskins question to email@example.com, with the subject “Mailbag question,” and it might be answered Tuesday in the Mailbag.
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