The Washington Redskins’ Week 4 win over the St. Louis Rams was hardly a thing of beauty. Winnning ugly with stingy defense may just be their recipe for success in 2011. The Redskins improved to 3-1 on the year with an important 17-10 road win over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday. The ‘Skins offense controlled the ball thanks to Ryan Torrain’s , while the defense limited Sam Bradford and the Rams’ offense to a mere 172 yards of total offense, and zero points through the first three quarters. They sacked Bradford seven times on the afternoon, led by Brian Orakpo’s 2.5 sacks.
Veteran London Fletcher didn’t get it on the sack parade, and only registered a single tackle. But there’s no denying that Fletcher is still an important presence on a team that’s making a transition to a new scheme with a number of young players.
Fletcher talked about the Redskins’ impressive defensive effort and win on Monday during an interview with 980 ESPN D.C. Let’s take a look at what he had to say about the fine effort and the state of the ’Skins through the first quarter of the 2011 season.
Despite dominating for much of the game, the Redskins still had to sweat out the win in the fourth quarter after the Rams made it a seven-point game with 10 unanswered points to make it a 17-10 game. Fletcher was asked about the defense’s ability to ice the game after stumbling just briefly late in the game:
“Yeah the way the game was going, we thought we would maybe be resting towards the end of the fourth quarter. But that’s just the way it goes in the NFL, no team is ever really out of it. They made some plays down the stretch where they had us to where we had to get another stop….a few more stops actually in the fourth quarter to win that ball game.”
If you’re going to excel in the base 3-4 defense, you have to get great play from your linebackers. Fletcher was asked about the outstanding play of himself and Rocky McIntosh at ILB, and Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo from their OLB positions:
“It’s a very talented linebacking corps. Like you mentioned, the two book ends that we have putting pressure on the quarterbacks — Ryan Kerrigan, he’s a young guy that’s come in and played great; he’s switching from a hands-down defensive end to a stand-up pass rushing outside linebacker, and he’s transitioned very well. Brian with his second year in this defense, third year in the league, he’s creating a lot of havoc on the outside. He’s more comfortable in the system now. And Rocky, he’s playing lights out in his second year in the system, he’s feeling more comfortable as well. So we’ve got an excellent corps.”
Asked to sum up why the Redskins defense is playing at such a higher level this year, Fletcher didn’t waste any words: