Redskins' Fletcher, Hall to start

Redskins' Fletcher, Hall to start
October 30, 2011, 6:41 pm
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Out of practice for one day and limited the other two days with a hamstring injury wont keep inside linebacker London Fletcher from making his 170th consecutive start today when the Redskins play Buffalo in Toronto.

Fletcher missed the final 12 snaps of last weeks loss at Carolina, his first missed playing time of the season.

The start ensures Fletcher will play in his 215th consecutive game, having never missed a contest.

Also starting despite being limited during the week are cornerback DeAngelo Hall (hip) and safety O.J. Atogwe (knee), who returns after a one-game absence.

Ruled out on Friday were receiver Santana Moss (hand), left tackle Trent Williams (ankle) and fullback Mike Sellers (back). The healthy scratches are linebacker Markus White, tight end Dominique Byrd, cornerback Phillip Buchanon and defensive lineman Darrion Scott.

Cornerback Brandyn Thompson, promoted from the practice squad on Friday, will be active.

Leftovers from the week leading into the game:

The Bills will close as 5.5-point favorites. During the teams last meeting, in 2007, Buffalo won 17-16 as six-point underdogs. In its previous three games in Toronto (all losses), the Bills were a one-point favorite over Miami and, the last two years, three-point underdogs to Chicago and the Jets.

In the two games since the bye, the Redskins are 0-2 and their offense has seven turnovers and three touchdowns.

Last week against Carolina, only five of John Becks 37 attempts didnt travel beyond the line of scrimmage. He also scrambled for gains of 7 yards and a 4-yard touchdown. Beck was hurt by four drops and a lost fumble.

Through six games, Buffalo used its 10 formation (one RB, 0 TE, 4 WR) a whopping 37.7 percent of the time; the rest of the league used it only 3.7 percent of the game. The challenge for the Bills is they run out of that alignment on 20 percent of the snaps. That falls on Fletcher and London Fletcher and the safeties to be sure one-on-one tacklers since the Redskins will have to be in nickel coverage.

They usually spread you out pretty good, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said Friday. They have a lot of different sets and I think you have to cover the whole football field well.

It came as a surprise when the Redskins opted not to promote running back Evan Royster to the active roster once Tim Hightower was put on injured reserve. The Redskins are expected to go with only two tailbacks (Ryan Torain and Roy Helu).

Asked about Roysters improvement, Shanahan said: You really dont know with running backs until you put them into game situations and you see how they react. A lot of times you get a feel in practice but unless you get them going live, you dont know for sure. Hes done a good job in practice and I like the direction hes headed, but hes just got to get some opportunities.

With so many young players being thrust into big roles the last few weeks, does Shanahan and his staff have to do more coaching?

No, youre coaching the same, he said. These young guys havent been through all of the scenarios that youre going to see during the game so there are going to be some mistakes. But thats what you try to do through practice, try to put them through as many scenarios as possible, especially with what you think youre going to see on Sunday and try to eliminate those mistakes.

Stallworth said rookie receiver Niles Paul has taken on or given himself the nickname of Spiderman.

Hes a tough kid and he likes to take on that role, Stallworth said. He works hard, studies hard and catches the ball really well in traffic.

Injured tight end Chris Cooley, whose season ended against Philadelphia two weeks ago, did not make the trip to Toronto because hes on crutches for another week. But he intends to make the remaining trips and be on the sidelines. Against Carolina, he charted coverages and communicated with quarterback Rex Grossman, who was ill and watched from the locker room.

A key for the Redskins defense is getting into third-and-long. Last week at Carolina, the Panthers needed 9, 8, 8, 13, 17 and 13 yards on their first six downs (two conversions). From there, though, Carolina needed only 1, 6, 4, 2, 10 and 9 yards. The Panthers finished 5-of-12 on third down.

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