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London Fletcher’s Act is Getting Old

London Fletcher is without a doubt the heart and soul of not only the defense, but also the Washington Redskins. Losing him would not only add a hole at the linebacker position, but also at the teacher and leadership role. It’s been said that signing Fletcher is imperative, but what happens when he’s his own worst enemy?

Fletcher has been a dominate force his entire NFL career. An undersized, under-appreciated linebacker who has put up numbers that match close to those of Ray Lewis. Perhaps because he’s never been flashy or loud, he’s never been given the credit when due (such as Pro Bowl votes).

Last year we saw that change. After making a big play, his celebrations were much longer and much louder. Was that an effort to make his name known around the league in hopes of getting his final payday, something he knew the Redskins were no longer doing?

According to sources, Fletcher was looking to receive something close to what Ray Lewis had re-signed for in 2009, three-years, $25 million. The Redskins on the other hand weren’t looking to pay him the $7-8 million a year he wanted, but rather $6 million, leaving him at a three-year $18 million dollar contract.

Feeling he was worth more than the $6 million per year the Redskins offered, Fletcher hit the free-agency market in hopes of a bigger offering. Unfortunately Fletcher was hit with reality when not one team called showing interest. That’s just the norm for an aging veteran. While Redskins fans see a leader and player, the other 31 teams see a 36-year-old going on 37.

Where does that leave Fletcher? In a position much worse than what he was in – had he signed for the three-years Washington offered. With free-agency signings, money that was available for Fletcher has dropped significantly. The Redskins can no longer afford to offer him a three-year contract to his measure – and while younger players are hitting the market, such as Curtis Lofton who nearly signed with the Baltimore Ravens for one-year, Fletcher’s value is only dropping more.

More surprising though, is how he’s gone to twitter in what appears to be an effort to toy with fans:

Other than the Redskins, Fletcher knows he has nobody eying him. So what’s the hold up? If he doesn’t sign with Washington, he has nowhere to play. He’s said many times on twitter that he loves it in Washington and wants to be here, so why is he playing games? If he loves the fans as he says, he’d do them and himself a favor and sign with the Redskins.

Otherwise, Washington will have no other choice, but to sign a younger LB such as Lofton or draft one, such as Mychal Kendricks. Whether we like it or not, it’s smarter to bring in a younger, just as talented linebacker, for close to nothing than to sign an aging linebacker like London Fletcher to a three-year deal.

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Operation Re-Sign London Fletcher

Over the last couple of weeks, Redskins fans have been sending messages to London Fletcher on Twitter, letting him know how much he means to not only the team, but also them (the fans). Unfortunately, Fletcher has still not signed a deal with the Washington Redskins, and it appears that they could be losing him. It’s time to make the final push Redskins Nation, take to Twitter and let Fletcher know we need him!

Twitter: @LFletcher59

Make sure to include the hash tag #ReSign59 and spread the word to your friends.

Redskin Players Using Twitter to Recruit Fletcher

So it looks like Josh Wilson is not the only Redskin trying to get London back in Burgundy and Gold.

Last night we shared this tweet from Josh to London.

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It turns out Josh isn’t the only member of the defense that wants his captain back.

Returning DE Adam Carriker got in on peer pressure on Tuesday night and continued on Wednesday.

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Joking or not the Redskins need to get their Defensive Captain back. It is nice to see players join the fans in letting London know we want to keep him in DC.

God Bless You Josh Wilson

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Nothing like a little peer pressure. Keep it up guys we need London back in the worst way.

Redskins Free Agency Round Up Day 1 – Free Agency Tracker

The 2012 NFL off-season has been anything, but boring for Washington Redskins fan. Really though, what do you expect from the team crowned “Off-season Champs” year after year?

Unless you have been living under a rock or abducted by aliens you knew that the Redskins agreed to trade with the St. Louis Rams late Friday night, giving them the second overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. The pick is sure to bring the Redskins their first franchise QB in nearly three decades with Robert Griffin III.

Though the deal was agreed upon and confirmed over the weekend, it was not made official until the start of the league year today at 4pm.

Locking down the QB of the future gave the Redskins the ability to spend the early part of Tuesday’s Free Agency opening concentrating on giving RG3 the weapons he needs to succeed.

Bruce Allen wasted no time on Tuesday afternoon signing Free Agent WR Pierre Garcon within the first 30 minutes to a 5 year deal worth just over 40 million dollars. It’s important to note that Garcon’s salary for 2012 is only 5.6 million (helping the team deal with the wonderful NFL Cap-Gate fines).

Moments later word broke that San Francisco WR Josh Morgan had agreed to a deal as well.

Rumors late Tuesday night point to former Denver WR Eddie Royal agreeing to terms with the team, reuniting the versatile WR/KR with his former Head Coach.

The Redskins also brought back one of their own locking up DE Adam Carriker to a long term deal.

The flurry of WR signings does a few things for this team, and while on the surface the upgrades appear minor – I have to believe that these moves are nothing if not methodical.

While we have from now until September to argue whether these moves will work out, there is no denying that Allen has made good on his promise to infuse this offense with youth.

All three receivers are younger than 26 years old, and just like last year’s Free Agency class, they are hungry players entering the prime of their careers.

You have to believe that these moves also spell the end of the road for guys like Santana Moss, Jabar Gaffney and Donte’ Stallworth in D.C.

While it is hard to see favorites like Moss on the way out, it is refreshing to see the Redskins getting younger at every position – not only through the draft, but through free agency as well.

For the first time since arriving in D.C. Mike Shanahan appears to be putting together an offensive unit that has his fingerprints all over it.

Free Agency Tracker:

Players Added

QB Robert Griffin III – Trade with St Louis for 2nd overall pick in the draft

WR Pierre Garcon – FA Indianapolis

WR/KR Josh Morgan – FA San Francisco

FS Brandon Merriweather – FA Chicago

Players Re-Signed

DE Adam Carriker

Players Lost

FB Mike Sellers

FS OJ Atogwe

Players on the Hot Seat

WR Santana Moss

WR Jabar Gaffeny

WR Donte’ Stallworth

SS Laron Landry

RT Jamal Brown

WR Brandon Banks

WR Anthony Armstrong

Targets

ILB London Fletcher – FA Washington

WR/KR Eddie Royal – FA Denver

RT Eric Winston – FA Houston

CB Aaron Ross – FA New York Giants

Can Mychal Kendricks Be the Next London Fletcher

Let’s face it boys and girls, London Fletcher is not getting any younger. While I wish I could sit back here and say with confidence that he will continue playing at his current level for the next three years (assuming the Redskins actually resign the guy), the truth is that is not realistic. Even in a perfect world where the Redskins do bring their captain back, the reality of the NFL is that the clock is ticking.

Now is the time for the Redskins to begin to groom a replacement that will make transitioning to a life without London a little easier.

Resident SOW Draft Guru Justin Partlow breaks down Cal linebacker Mychal Kendricks and asks if he can be the guy to lead this defense.

While undersized and sometimes overlooked, Mychal Kendricks is still seen as one of the better ILB prospects in the 2012 draft class. With a knack for making tackles and finding the football, Kendricks has proven to be a true leader for the Cal Defense. The question though for many will be can he stack up against the big time OL in the NFL? That question will be answered throughout this profile as I really like Kendricks and think for the Washington 3-4 D he’s a very good fit.

Strengths: 3 things really stick out for me while watching Kendricks. Those are his tackling ability, blitzing skill and his coverage.  When I watched a few cut ups of film on him I really was taken aback by his tackling ability. While he’s not a big guy who’s not going to wow anyone with his frame, he is a form tackler who can pack a good punch to his opponent. Unlike a guy like Burfict who tries to intimidate his opponents on the field and then use poor tackling to get by, Kendricks instead uses his play on the field to make sure O coordinators will game plan for him.

Another thing that was impressive was watching Kendricks blitz the QB. It almost reminded me a bit of watching London Fletcher here in the 3-4 D.  He just sits backs and waits while everyone else takes off first and then will fly into the backfield and get after the QB or RB. It was impressive because this one cut up from draftbreakdown.com showed a great blitz by Kendricks on Andrew Luck.

Check out that clip from about the: 36 second mark and watch him sit behind and wait then take off and get Luck for the sack. That was impressive and the times I watched him blitz on film, he did the exact same thing. In our 3-4 D we need guys like that who can get after the QB but also play calm and get after the QB. It’s one thing to be a guy who can blitz, but it’s another thing to be an effective blitzer.

Finally let’s get to his coverage. It’s almost a bit underrated because at times it really doesn’t stick out on film, as he’s just a LB. When watching the film though, he really does a good job on covering guys who are obviously bigger than him. He needs work on his technique, but also think of it this way; really what players coming out are perfectly sound on technique? With a year of seasoning per se and the ability to sit under one of the top ILB’s in football in London Fletcher, Kendricks really could have the chance to shine and be a starting ILB.

Weaknesses: Really there are two weaknesses that I see from Kendricks that really stick out. There are others that are more minor but for the sake of this profile I’ll stick to the major ones. Kendricks will have problems with his height as well as his ability to almost overrun the play at times.

First off let’s talk about his height. Look I hate to do it, because players shouldn’t always be judged on height/weight/speed if you always do that then you need to sign up be an Oakland Raiders scout or front office guy (I kid I kid). What the truth is though that Kendricks is a smaller guy, so he will have difficulties at times matching up against big time TE’s who are 6’4 or 6’5. It’s not something that should be the end all be all with him in terms of deciding to draft him or not, but at the same time it’s something that scouts will mark negatively and will be the reason why he’s going in the 4th round range instead of the 2nd round. Kendricks though uses his size to his advantage, which is a positive to watch at the same time. What Kendricks needs to do is continue to use his height as an advantage, but at the same time it wouldn’t surprise me if teams did take him off the field on 3rd downs or obvious passing downs.

Also the other negative that shows up on film, is that while Kendricks for the most part does play the run and pass well, he has a tendency on running plays to overrun and end up letting big gains occur. A couple of times on the film I watched, I saw him just barely overrun the play, but by him overrunning the play another 5-10 yards were gained on the play. This is more of a technique and reading of the play flaw with Kendricks that can be taught, but also like I said you need to give him time to develop and learn.

So where does Kendricks fit? I love the idea of Kendricks in Washington as a 4th round pick. Bring him in, let him sit and learn and come in on certain downs and get his feet wet and then let him take over when London Fletcher retires. Kendricks has potential to be a starter and because of his size will fall on draft day, but look for Kendricks to become a starting caliber guy whether it be for Washington or another 3-4 team that I expect him to go to.

Big thank you to draftbreakdown.com for the YouTube cut up used in the draft profile.

Justin Partlow is the resident Draft guru at SonofWashington.com. For more great Redskins and NFL related info hit up Justin on Twitter @JTPartlow21.

With Fletcher Redskins Need to Learn From Past Mistakes

Over the last decade the Washington Redskins have become known for many things — most of them not good.

They have been called: a laughing-stock, a shell of the team that once boasted three Lombardi Trophies, and bluntly -. losers. Most notably though, they have become known as the place where past their prime players go to collect their final, big pay-day.

Outside of 2005 and 2007 this team has been the embodiment of all of those things. However, there is a bad habit this team can’t shake which is worse than all of the things mentioned above.

During every off-season under Vinny Cerrato, the Redskins would open their wallet to big name free-agents in an attempt to build a real life fantasy football team, while letting home-grown talent walk away without batting an eye.

For every Adam Archuletta, Randel El, and Albert Haynesworth, there were equally painful Ryan Clarks, Antonio Pierces and Stephen Davis’s.

Sadly, Snyder’s obsession with bringing in big money guys has prevented the Redskins from re-signing their own guys for years.

This week Bruce Allen faces the biggest potential blow – and it is not his fault.

You have to go back a bit to fully understand what I’m talking about – so let’s jump back to 2009.

The Washington Redskins had just come off a very disappointing season that began with a brilliant 6-2 start, only to see the wheels come off as they finished 2-6 (8-8 overall).

During that 2008 season, there was one constant, the defense, led by Captain London Fletcher, which bailed out the offense week after week.

When the 2009 season started, it had become clear the Redskins wanted to strengthen their already strong defense. In the weeks leading up to Free Agency, whispers around the league began to point to the Redskins targeting All-Pro defensive tackle, Albert Haynesworth.

Haynesworth had just come off a strong season which helped lead the Tennessee Titan’s to being one of the most feared defenses in football. Considered being the best player available during the 2009 free-agency class, Cerrato was smitten and prepared to do whatever it took to bring the ‘most dominant’ defensive lineman since Reggie White to D.C.

Cerrato succeeded a few hours into free agency, throwing $100,000,000 at the lineman, which completed Haynesworth’s deal. Leading many around the league to question if the Redskins had tampered with then free-agent.

The Redskins also re-signed “superstar” defensive back Deangelo Hall to an impressive 6 year $55,000,000 deal with $23,000,000 guaranteed. The two players were supposed to take the defense from being good to being feared. While also “getting the team over the hump” and helping Jim Zorn bring a Lombardi back to D.C.

They failed, miserably… but you already knew that. Here is something you may not have known.

During that same off-season the team’s Defensive Captain, and unquestioned leader, London Fletcher, quietly approached Vinny Cerrato for a contract extension.

Fletcher, who had led the team in tackles since joining the Gibbs 2.0 Redskins in 2007, was looking for a deal that would see him through the end of his career. He had won a Super Bowl in St. Louis and wanted to bring one to D.C.

What he got was a blow off.

Constrained by 10 years of a miss-managed salary cap, Cerrato knew that Fletcher was under contract through 2011 and wanted to make a splash. Making an extension for London a non-priority. Just like the long list of talent that Cerrato let leave to find success with other clubs, he was more worried about getting big names than keeping one of his own.

Jump forward three years, a new Head Coach, General Manager, Defensive Coordinator, and Defensive Scheme, Albert Haynesworth has been cut, DeAngelo Hall appears to be regressing, while London Fletcher is coming of his third Pro Bowl and looks as good as he ever has. Washington is coming off back-to-back 10+ loss seasons, and are less than one week away from losing the heart and soul of not just the defense, but the team.

The fact that London could even see free agency is absolutely criminal, but you cannot really blame Bruce Allen or Mike Shanahan.

When the team switched from a 4-3 base defense to a 3-4, no one could have known how the undersized Fletcher would transition. After back-to-back seasons of 136 and 166 tackles, Fletcher has earned the right to make his money.

For the Redskins, it’s time to pay the piper.

It is believed that London is seeking a 3 year deal in the area of $25,000,00 – a deal that is worth every penny.

I know Fletcher is in the twilight of his career, but if this were Ray Lewis would anyone bat an eye?

Fletcher’s career statistics are nearly identical to Lewis’. Had he been more outspoken, you have to believe that he would have far more than three Pro Bowls, in fact I would call him just as easy of a lock for the Hall of Fame as Ray Lewis.

In today’s NFL, characteristics like passion, integrity, leadership, teamwork and consistency often get overlooked for entertainment. Selling jerseys and popularity is what brings in the money (see Tim Tebow).

The point is; the characteristics that make London boring to the outside observer are exactly what this team needs. To lose his leadership and the accountability he holds to this team would be devastating. You can not replace a guy like London Fletcher who is one of a kind.

George Santaya once said ”Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” 

If Bruce Allen never does anything else for this team, learning from the mistakes of his predecessor would be enough to land him in the Ring of Fame.