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At the end of last season, London Fletcher stood in front of the entire Washington Redskins locker room and gave what many of his teammates described as a farewell speech. He thanked them for their contributions, told them how special the season had been as the team rebounded from a 3-6 start to finish the regular season 10-6, win the NFC East and reach the postseason.
For almost two months, the Redskins had no clue if Fletcher would return for another season. But in March, Fletcher opted to have surgery on his elbow and ankle, and informed team officials of his intention of lacing them up yet again.
“I’m feeling good, getting better each day. Getting stronger. I’m right on schedule to be ready,” said Fletcher.
Fletcher said his speech at the end of the season wasn’t meant to be a farewell, and that he wasn’t close to retiring.
“No,” Fletcher said, “it was really just anytime you have a season like that, you don’t get a chance to really appreciate what you accomplish, so I really wanted to let the guys know, and really express to them how gratifying it was, you know, for me, personally, being around these guys, seeing what we were able to accomplish, seeing what we were able to overcome, giving the odds we were up against – particularly being 3-6 and how we finished. So, really, it was just me expressing that.”
Asked about the decision to comeback for a 16th season, Fletcher said: “It’s just the desire to continue to play. I’m still playing at a high level, the team still wanted me to play. So, a lot of those things come into play. I still love the game of football, so those were the decisions. Also, I like where this team is at, the makeup of it. Those were all factors.”
Fletcher said the moves made in the draft were signs that the Redskins remain on target to continue improving on defense.
“You like it,” he said. “Really, any time you can add depth to your team, competition, that’s a good thing. I know they feel great about the draft picks, the guys they were able to add. Those guys are coming along each and every day, getting better. So, from that standpoint, I think they’re going to help us be a better team, be a better defense.”
Coach Mike Shanahan said he expects that Fletcher will take the field for next week’s round of practices.
The Redskins are looking to use Jordan Reed much in the same way that the New England Patriots use the player he is most compared to, tight end Aaron Hernandez.
Reed was a high school quarterback and originally came to the University of Florida with intentions of playing that very position before being transitioned to other positions.
Reed (6-2, 243) started 26 of the 36 career games in which he played at Florida, 25 at tight end and one at quarterback. He caught 79 passes for 945 yards and six receiving touchdowns in his collegiate career.
As a junior in 2012, Reed was named first-team All-SEC by the Associated Press after leading the Gators with a career-high 45 receptions for 559 yards with three receiving touchdowns. His 45 receptions were the most by a Florida tight end since Aaron Hernandez’s 68 receptions in 2009.
This is the fastest that all draft picks have been signed by the Redskins under the management of GM Bruce Allen.
Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III spoke to the media at Redskins Park Thursday for the first time since injuring his knee in a playoff game versus the Seattle Seahawks in January.
On how his knee feels:
“My knee feels great. I can do all the stuff on the field without any hesitations and that’s the best part. It is all about the confidence and if I work hard enough to get the confidence back, I can get back out on the field. ”
On working on the side during OTAs:
“In the weeks leading up to OTAs, I was feeling good so I went to Coach and asked him for the space to train since we have an all-world unclear team with me, Fred Davis, Jordan Reed, Pierre Garçon and Chris Thompson. I wanted us to have that area to the side so we wouldn’t be standing around the whole practice. Practice can get a little boring when you aren’t taking those mental reps, but as long as you can get at least a little bit of work in, we don’t feel like we are completely separated from the team.”
On the next step in his rehab process:
“There are two phases left in my rehab, explosive sprinting and cutting. Those are the only two things left with my knee being about four-and-a-half months out of surgery. I am a little bit ahead but the team is doing a good job allowing me to do the things I can do at the moment.”
On how hard it is to hold himself back in the rehab process:
“After my first knee surgery, it was really hard to hold back during the rehab process but I didn’t have the LCL so I could so some more things. Now that I have been through it already and I can see the bigger picture ahead, it is hard to hold myself back but I know why I am doing the rehab. As long as I know what I am doing the rehab for, the struggle to hold back does not matter.”
On the timetable for what he has left in his rehab:
“The timetable for the explosive sprinting is over the next couple weeks and the cutting a couple weeks after the sprinting. I am not worried about those phases. One of my goals is to be on the field for training camp. At this point I am just worried about what I can control. As far as the season goes, I want to be back by Week 1. As soon as I woke up out of surgery I put the date of the first game as the pass code to my phone. Playing in Week 1 has always been the goal, but I am not going to risk my career to play in one game. I am definitely all in for Week 1 but also all in for my career too.”
On testing out sprinting and cutting in practice:
“I have gotten used to not being allowed to do those things thus far. I can’t wear a jersey, throw with the quarterbacks or take snaps with anyone. Every day I get restricted just a little bit more. As far as the sprinting and cutting, I do some throwing and handoffs, which has some sprinting and cutting involved in them. I keep myself limited so I do not put myself or the team in jeopardy. My sprinting and cutting is more organized at the moment, but when the doctors clear me to begin those movements, I will.”
On holding training camp in Richmond, Va.:
“I think Richmond is going to be a good time for the team to get away from everything and be together as a team. This forces us to learn more about each other because you will have no family around. Your focus will be learning the playbook, playing some ping pong and doing non-athletic things. I think it is good for the team and good for the fans too. The fans will be able to see us in a different part of Virginia.”
On adjustments to his game:
“Everyone gets fired up about changing the way that I play. My view is I can’t change my mindset but I can be smarter about what I do on the field. I have a year of experience in the NFL. Some may think that’s not a lot but a year of experience in the NFL is a big deal. I know what I have to do and what I don’t have to do out on the field. It is all about limiting the hits and being able to stay on the field for my teammates. If it is third-and-7 and I am three yards away from the first down, then I need to slide or get out of bounds. After what happened to me and the team at the end of the year, I understand that I have to be on the field and more careful while I’m out there. I can still keep the same mindset about wanting to run every play but just knowing to be careful.”
On the future of the offense:
“Coach Shanahan and his staff know what they are doing. We have had talks about the offense. Whether it is me running or Alfred [Morris] running, we will be ready to go. We have to go out there and be united as a team and united as a staff to be successful.”
On how the season went last year:
“I was happy with the wins. I was happy how we faced the adversity of being 3-6 and coming back to make the playoffs and winning the division. All of those things were the building blocks and now it is all about continuing to grow the relationship as a team.”
On handling the injury at the moment it happened:
“The injury and how the injury was handled overshadowed the success we had on the season. The injury left a bad taste in the mouth of everyone between us players, the fans, and the coaching staff. At the end of the day, we won the division and played extremely well down the stretch but had an unfortunate loss in the playoffs. We tasted the playoffs but we want to get back there and go deeper into the playoffs this year. My injury seemed to erase everyone’s memory of what happened throughout the year and that was tough for me. People were picking apart every little thing about the team and I could not even walk. I could not go to the bathroom on my own or any of those things. It was tough.”
On his father’s comments this week:
“I talked to my dad after I saw what he said. I do not have a leash on my parents. They’re my parents, guys. And I love my dad. I talked to him after I heard what he said and I told him thank you because that’s what he is supposed to say as my father. He does not want to see me running around out there on the field. He wants to see me throwing the ball. He was the one that trained me, so he knows what I can do and coach knows what I can do. It is not that I disagree or agree with what he said, but I proud of the fact that he stood up and said something. As far as what he said about the team being united, it is true. It is proven in the NFL over the years that if the quarterback and coach are on the same page then you will win a lot of games.”
On if he needed to repair relationships with the coaches:
“It was an unfortunate situation at the end of last year. I do not think there is anything that needs to be repaired. We just need to move forward and let the bad taste come out of everyone’s mouths. We need to move forward. The only thing I needed to repair from last year was my knee and that is repaired. I am ready to go.”
On if he feels like there is any repair that needs to be done in his relationship with the coaching staff:
“No, I mean there was an unfortunate situation there at the end of the season. I don’t think there is anything that needs to be repaired. Obviously, we all need to just move forward and continue to let that bad taste that was in everybody’s mouth get out and move forward to the next year. The only thing that needed repair from last year was my knee and that is repaired and I’m ready to go.”
On Twitter and his tweet about his wedding gift registry:
“It’s really been crazy. You can’t really do anything or say anything without it being blown out of proportion. I know what tweet you are talking about so when it comes to the political correctness tweet, I don’t want to sit here and talk about it all day because we literally could. There is so many different aspects of that, that were in that phrase that we could dive into and the only thing I will say about that is I think there is a difference between political correctness, common sense, and being offensive. That’s the only thing I will say about that. And then the wedding registry, I just want to say thank you to the fans. Thank you guys. I didn’t ask you guys to do that. The media made that public and you guys decided to give out of the generosity of your heart so I do truly appreciate that. Anything else that came after that, criticism, stuff like that, I just have to move on and not worry about it.”
On what players have given him advice about coming back from an injury like his:
“I have talked to Adrian Peterson, that’s the obvious one and he says what everyone else says. I’ve already been through the injury once and I’m not all-knowing about the injury, so I listen to guys and Adrian said what everyone else says. I’m not Adrian; Adrian is not me. Everybody’s body heals a little differently. Rex [Grossman] also tore an ACL in his career and he’s talked to me about the uncertainties he had with the injury. My view is always, even from the first one, you come back as if you were never hurt because that is the only way you can play. You don’t play the game afraid to get hurt, you play the game like you are supposed to be invincible while at the time being smart and sliding and all of that other stuff.”
On moving forward in the offense, if he has to run less and throw more going forward:
“Going forward I think it’s whatever the defenses want us to do. I think defenses, with any quarterback in the league, want to be physical with the quarterback. It doesn’t matter who you are. Myself, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, [Colin] Kaepernick, Russell [Wilson], [Andrew] Luck, any of us, they want to be physical with the quarterback. I think when it comes to quarterbacks who run, the zone read option, I think it’s brought up a lot more but anytime you saw in the playoffs or down the stretch, teams were saying, ‘Hey we need to get to Peyton Manning. Hey, we need to get to Tom Brady,’ and that’s the same thing they are saying about me and other quarterbacks around the league who are running the zone read. I don’t know what it will be, what the mix will be, how many rushing attempts I’ll have or how many passing attempts I’ll have, I just know we want to win games and that’s what we are going to do.”
On if there was ever a moment of doubt following his injury and if there have been any setbacks in his rehab:
“No setbacks during the rehab. There was no point in the injury process or surgery that I woke up and said, ‘Oh no, I might not play again.” That was never a thought that crossed my mind. You know the tough part about it honestly was I went in the surgery not knowing what was wrong. I knew I was going to have to get my LCL repaired but looking at the MRIs and everything we couldn’t really tell if my ACL needed to be repaired. So you know I have been through this before so I know if you have a patella tendon graft on the same knee, you can’t get it from the same knee. So I knew when I got put to sleep if I woke up and felt my left knee that I’d had surgery on my ACL. So I woke up, the nurse didn’t notice I was up, and I felt my left leg and I went back to sleep because I didn’t want to have to deal with it at that time. Yeah, it’s tough for me to talk about it. It’s one of the things I get emotional about because it’s tough at that time. I woke back up and I told everybody who was there in that room with me and it was tough. I mean that’s the easiest way to say it. Yeah, I cried, real men cry. It doesn’t matter and I moved on. As soon as we finished our little cry festival, I put the date of the first week in my phone and that was my goal since then. You know the doctors have tried to keep me down and keep me from doing so many things and I appreciate that from them because that is what they are supposed to do. While at the same time I have to push through it because that is what you have to do with an injury like this.”
On not knowing he was going to have his ACL repaired:
“The doctor told me after he looked at the MRI that he was not sure if the ACL was gone, which gave me, my family and the organization a little bit of hope that the injury would not as serious. Then they put me to sleep and I woke up and my dad was talking to me and he said the doctor said he looked at it for 15 minutes and he could not tell what he needed to do. He said if I were 40 years old and I was not going to play football anymore and just play pickup game of basketball here or there, I would not have needed the surgery on my ACL, but because of the player that I am and the type of game that I can play, he went ahead and did it for me because he felt it was needed.”
On if his LCL was completely torn:
“The LCL was not completely torn.”
On if he will be ready for the opener:
“If I had the say, yes. I control only what I can control. I can control my recovery. I can control how hard I work. I can control my mental reps out on the field. I can control what I can do in the film room. I cannot control what the coaches do.”
On if he thinks he will have less say moving forward:
“No. I just feel like everyone is going to be very hypersensitive about anything that happens with me. My biggest fear is that I roll an ankle and they pull me out of the game, and that is being serious.”
On “everyone” being hypersensitive:
“I am saying everyone. It is the position you put yourself in when you are a high caliber athlete, especially a quarterback. Fans are going to be more hypersensitive, as well as the media and the coaches, but that is something that I have to deal with now. But just like I told Coach [Shanahan] at the time, I was being honest with him then, and I’ll be honest with him in the future.”
On his relationship with Shanahan:
“Mike and I hashed everything out well after the season because I was in Pensacola, Fla. for a month. We hashed everything out, we talked, and we are moving forward from it. I told you guys that before and I will say it again. That’s all I can say. We talked about it, we are on the same page and we are ready to go.”
On if there were apologies during his conversation with Shanahan
“No, there were no apologies.”
On if he would play in the season opener without playing in the preseason:
“I have thought about that, and yes, I would be comfortable with that. That is all I can say. I have no control over whether I play or not in the preseason. I would be comfortable running out of the tunnel at FedExField with the smoke and everything.”
On if he has been creative to replace physical reps he is missing:
“Yes, I have and that is part of the process of me with those other guys. Being on the 15-yard line, going in and we go through the entire script. I do the same thing I did as a rookie with going through the script each play and writing down what I have to do, because as long as I know it, I know I can do it. There is where the year of playing and knowing the system a little bit better now helps you so that you can make sure you actually get the mental rep and that you know exactly what you are looking at every play that goes up. And then after practice, I will stick around and do some stuff with the guys. The OTA process will be a very frustrating one. As you saw, I feel healthy and I look healthy, but they are not going to put me out there. They are not going to let me go anything, but I have to just keeping grinding as much as I can to make sure I get there.”
On mental reps:
“The mental rep is basically this, you know the play and you know the defense you are going against. You need to know where you are supposed to be looking, and what all your eligibles are. It is basically just paying attention. You know what you are supposed to look at and you are yelling it out before it happens. It helps you by looking at it from a different perspective, so that when you get out there on the field you understand that you only need to look at this one guy on this play or this one guy on this play, and you go about it that way.”
On gift he received and if he would throw a party for the team at his house:
“I do not know if the neighborhood I live in would enjoy that many cars being out there, but I will definitely being having a housewarming get together, because that is what we do in the National Football League; we get together, no parties. It will be fun. Once everything is settled and the furniture and everything is in, I will have everyone over.”
The Washington Redskins had their very first OTA (Organized Team Activities) workout on Thursday at Redskins Park and according to ESPN 980′s “The Sports Fix”, the pistol formation and read option was used in about 80% of the teams offensive activities.
Many fans and analysts have spent the entire off-season saying the Redskins should switch their offense in an effort that will keep RG3 away from running the ball too much and taking unnecessary hits. If you take into account the workouts today, the Redskins are not listening to those plea’s.
Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins and Rex Grossman all three were used in pistol formation activities and each looked good in the process.
The Redskins media world is buzzing over the way that Griffin performed today just months after having major knee surgery. The only signs that RG3 is coming off of major surgery that were seen today, was the knee brace he was wearing and the fact that he is practicing on the sidelines with the other players who are coming back from an injury as well. Griffin did not participate in 11 on 11′s.
While it was only one day, if the first day of OTA’s is any sign, expect the read option and pistol formations to continue to be a major part of the Redskins attack come fall.
Mike Shanahan had this to say when asked about the safety of the read option.
Shanahan on the safety of the read-option: “The read-option gave Robert more time in the pocket. He got hurt when he was dropping back.”
The Redskins will begin the third, final and most intense part of the off-season program Monday with the first of 10 voluntary organized team activities.
It’s the first time this off-season team drills are permitted under the collective bargaining agreement. That gives coaches the opportunity to install the team’s offensive and defensive systems on the field.
It’s also the first time the Redskins can require players to wear helmets. Live contact is prohibited, though, and no shells or pads are permitted.
During the last five weeks, players have participated in a strength and conditioning program, had meetings with coaches and performed individual position drills and offense- or defense-only drills.
“We’re going against the defense now, and those guys will be doing the things they usually do, so I’m really excited,” said fullback Eric Kettani, who spent last season on the practice squad and hopes to make the 53-man roster this season.
“Everyone’s optimistic and has confidence from last year, but we know each year’s a different year, and each team in the division is changing around,” center Will Montgomery said. “They’ve had changes, we’ve had a few changes. Last season doesn’t mean we’re going to have a good year this year. We have to go back to the grind and work for each victory.”
All 10 of the Redskins OTAs are closed to the public, here are the dates for those activities; May 20, May 22-23, May 28-30, and June 3-6; are closed to the public.
Quarterback Robert Griffin III this Thursday is scheduled to address reporters in an organized setting for the first time on team property since he suffered his severe right knee injury in January. Griffin is expected to be ready for the Redskins’ regular-season opener on September 9th.
Washington’s mandatory mini-camp is scheduled for June 10-13 and is also closed to the public.
Amerson (6-1, 205) started 35 of the 39 career games in which he played at NC State, amassing 169 tackles (131 solo), 18 interceptions and three interception returns for touchdowns.
His 18 career interceptions are the most in school history and are tied for the third-most in ACC history.
As a junior last season, Amerson started all 13 games for the Wolfpack, earning second-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors after leading the conference in interceptions for the second straight year.
A year earlier as a sophomore, Amerson led the nation with 13 interceptions, setting ACC and NC State records in the process.
That season, he was named the winner of the Jack Tatum Award, given annually to the nation’s top defensive back.
Amerson, 21, was born on Dec. 8, 1991 and he attended Dudley High School in Greensboro, NC, where he was ranked the number 19 safety in the country by Rivals.com.
Robert Griffin III as been selected as an honorary Grand Marshall for the 2013 National Memorial Day Parade. RGIII will be alongside country music singer Trace Adkins, actors, JR Martinez, Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna.
The annual parade, organized by the American Veterans Center, will take place on Monday, May 27, at 2:00 p.m. and will run along Constitution Avenue in the nation’s capital. The television broadcast will be nationally syndicated to more than 100 cities and 80 million households across the country, according to the press release.
The parade is featuring honorary celebrity marshals helping to call attention to the service and sacrifice of the U.S. military.
Robert Griffin Jr. and Jacqueline Griffin, both U.S. Army Veterans, will be featured prominently with their son as part of a special salute to the sacrifices made by America’s military families.
The parade will also include musical performances by former “American Idol” winner Taylor Hicks, and Miss America 2013, Mallory Hagan.