After the first quarter of the 2012 season, the Redskins' defense is still trying to find success in shutting down opposing offenses. They are currently ranked in the bottom five in passing and total defense, while sitting at 10th in rush defense.
Last Sunday in Tampa Bay, the Redskins limited the Buccaneers to 132 total yards in the first half. After halftime, however, they had trouble getting off the field, surrendering 241 second half yards.
“We’re still not happy about the big plays because if you can eliminate those big plays then we have a situation, now where we’re really strangling that team last week,” Fletcher said. “They didn’t have much going on in the first half. In the second half we kind of allowed them to get back into the game with the big plays.
“That’s what we really have to constantly focus on and continue to work at.”
This Sunday, the Redskins will host the 4-0 Atlanta Falcons in their second home game of the season. Led by quarterback Matt Ryan, the Falcons offense is one of the most talented in the league.
“You look at their offense, their team in general, with them being 4-0 with a lot of great skill guys,” Fletcher explained. “Matt Ryan is playing extremely well. The two big receivers they have, those guys are playing great. Tony Gonzalez doesn’t look like he’s slowing down at all. They’ve got an excellent running back. The offensive line is good. It’s going to be a tough challenge for us.”
Falcon’s running back Michael Turner has the ability to take the defense’s focus away from the passing game. With Turner’s size and power, Fletcher knows the Redskins will need to play smart and gang-tackle in order to contain him.
“Obviously you want to have gap responsibility and then getting as many guys to him as possible because he is a big back, he runs hard and he keeps his legs moving,” Fletcher said. “You want to get several guys tackling him, as many as possible.”
Fletcher is ready to hand the Falcons their first loss of the season; however it all starts with the days leading up to game day.
“I think really it’s just about improving each and every week and each and every day in practice.”