Mike Shanahan Says Redskins Have a Plan to Keep Fletcher From Wearing Down

At the age of 38 even the most athletic players will wear down during the course of an NFL season. When you add the fact that London Fletcher has never missed a game since being named a starter early on his NFL career (243 consecutive starts), you need to be careful when it comes to over-working the player. Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan decided that giving Fletcher the opportunity to take a few plays off to catch his breath was something to consider.

“To be honest with you, we’ve been talking about giving London a few plays off”, Shanahan said. We don’t want to overwork him, especially with the offenses we go against nowadays with the hurry-up and the no-huddle. I’d like to give him a few more plays off, not to just wear him down. That’s what happened yesterday. I think he got a few in the second half. I was hoping that Nick would get a few in the first half, but we’re trying to keep London at 100 percent and we don’t want to set him back at all.”

Shanahan was quick to add that the Redskins still have a lot of confidence in Fletcher’s ability, they just wanted to play it safe. It doesn’t hurt that when London is not on the field that they have a player like Nick Barnett to fill in.

“First of all, we feel very good about London, but we want to keep him healthy, we want to keep him fresh. We think Nick is doing a good job, too”, added Shanahan.

When asked if he thought the 38-year-old Fletcher was showing signs of being physically worn down, Shanahan promptly responded by saying, “Not at all. In fact, London, I think, needed a break. That was our game plan going in. We talked and if he ever felt like he needed some time to kind of sit back and give himself a breather, we encouraged him to do it. He did it during the game.”

If the Redskins want Fletcher to stay healthy the entire season this plan of action is a smart move.

Last season was particularly trying for the Redskins captain, as he dealt with a concussion, vertigo and an ankle injury in Week 11 that clouded his ability to practice for the rest of the year. This past off-season Fletcher had ankle surgery, the first surgical procedure of his career, to ensure that he would be healthy heading into training camp.

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