Thanks to a fortuitous series of events on Sunday, the Redskins enter their Monday Night Football matchup against the Carolina Panthers in control of their own destiny for a playoff berth in the NFC.
This afternoon, Redskins great and 16-year NFL veteran London Fletcher joined CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney to discuss all things Redskins. But first, the guys dove into yesterday’s games, particularly a few peculiar coaching decisions and some major upsets, most notably the one pulled off by the Tennessee Titans over the Kansas City Chiefs.
“I felt like Tennessee would have a chance just because of their physical running game,” Fletcher said. “But I thought that Kansas City would ultimately win the game. And then we see Tyreek Hill with that big touchdown run early in the game and you just go ‘ok, this is going to be a cakewalk for the Kansas City Chiefs.’ But then the Titans — just the grit and the resolve of that Titans team — and you know, (coach Mike) Mularkey, who I played for in Buffalo, going for two and coming up short and his team coming away with the victory on that last-second field goal.”
Fletcher’s stint in Washington ended at the same time as the Mike Shanahan era, meaning he never got the opportunity to play for current coach Jay Gruden, who has done a masterful job of turning around the Redskins and his own reputation in his three years in D.C.
“(Jay) has, let’s just say matured as a head coach,” Fletcher said of Gruden. “His first year, first couple of years, he had some moments that weren’t, let’s say his best moments. But the more he’s gotten comfortable with the job the more he’s gotten head-coach savvy — especially with the media. You have to understand up in D.C., the media is going to ask some questions to try to get a reaction and Jay didn’t have a problem telling them exactly how he felt about things, which in some cases is not always the best thing to do. But I think he’s learned how to handle that relationship with the media — the players all love playing for him — but I think him handling the media and learning how to handle the media better has definitely been a key to him changing that perception of him. And, they’re winning.”
One team that’s surprisingly struggled to piece wins together of late has been the Denver Broncos and there was reportedly a locker-room spat between offensive and defensive players after the team’s 16-3 loss to the Patriots on Sunday.
So, the guys asked Fletcher, “how do you settle that?” when there’s a “schism” or a divide between two units on one team.
“I’ve been on both ends of it,” Fletcher said. “I’ve been on the dominant unit as a defense but I’ve also been on the other side where we weren’t living up to our end of it, so I know how it is. It’s kind of underlying tension initially and as the season goes and the losses pile up — or you find yourself in a situation like the Broncos, trying to make the playoffs — tension is going to happen and it boils over sometimes. It’s really up to the leaders of that team to get everybody on the same page and say ‘hey, we’ve got to stick together’ because that’s not going to solve it, having fights and things like that. You’ve just got to play better.”