Monday, December 20, 2010, 3:33 p.m.
By Ryan OHalloran
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The Redskins are better. Period.
A day after losing their fourth straight game and sixth in seven tries, that's what linebacker London Fletcher maintained regardless of their 5-9 record.
I think, collectively, were doing a lot of things better than we were last year and the direction of the organization is better than it was before, Fletcher told reporters Monday morning at Redskin Park. Just the feel and the optimism about our football team is a lot better than it has been in the past.
Several weeks ago, Fletcher said even the occasional win last year equaled a negative tone, whether it was not scoring a touchdown in a Week 2 win over St. Louis or struggling to win by three points in Week 4 over a Tampa Bay team that ended up starting with a 1-12 record.
I enjoy coming to work this year, Fletcher said. Last year, it wasnt enjoyable and it was like that early in the season. Each day, you still enjoy the process of preparing and competing with the guys you have in this locker room and this coaching staff.
Despite the ugly statistics 27th or worst in10 significant defensive categories Fletcher sees progress being made, citing a recent stretch where the Redskins allowed less than 20 points in three of four games.
I see improvement in us compared to the beginning of the year, he said. I think we have a better understanding of what were doing where before, it was sometimes and there were little gray areas because guys were learning the defense.
Safety Reed Doughty told reporters Monday he sustained his head injury on the games first play from scrimmage when he collided with teammate Brian Orakpo. Doughty continued to play before being replaced by Kevin Barnes.
I made the tackle and then got hit from the side, somewhere in the jaw and head, Doughty said. It was one of those things, I didnt feel quite right and Kareem Moore told the trainers he didnt think I was quite right. The symptoms were progressing.
Doughty didnt confirm if he had been diagnosed with a concussion, which would be the first of his football career. He hopes to play Sunday in Jacksonville.
I wasnt knocked out or blacked out but at the same time, they want to take precautions, he said. Of course you hit and its football and times you get hit and it doesnt feel the best but this was a different situations.
Up until his injury, Doughty had played an unofficial 253 consecutive snaps in place of the injured LaRon Landry.
The other Redskins injury updates:
Defensive end Phillip Daniels will be placed on injured reserve with primarily an abdominal injury.
Orakpo (hamstringgroin): Hes still pretty dinged up, Shanahan said.
Defensive end Kedric Golston (groinelbow), out against Dallas remains a little bit of a question mark according to Shanahan.
Shanahan said linebacker Rocky McIntosh sustain a tweak in his hamstring but the training staff feels hell be back.
Moss to the TiVo
Last week, Redskins kicker Graham Gano returned to teams complex to review early-season game tape to compare it to his two misses against Tampa Bay.
On Sunday night, receiver Santana Moss told reporters he did an initial Dallas game review at his home.
Moss two TD catches were his first multi-score game since Oct. 2006 against Jacksonville (three scores, including the overtime winner) but his fourth-quarter drop of what could have been a 75-yard touchdown was what he analyzed once returning to northern Virginia.
I always TiVo the game and once I saw what it was, it was one of those plays you wish you had but didnt, he said. Im stumbling trying to make a play. Stumbling threw off the timing a lot. My hands were turned different outward.
But, Moss added: You have to catch it.
Moss said its his routine to watch an immediate replay of the game on Sunday nights.
Just to put it out of my mind and get to Monday and a whole new week, he said.
Fletchers halftime speech
Following the Dallas game Sunday, linebacker London Fletcher downplayed Orakpos claim that the defense came out flat, citing the Cowboys ideal field position in building a 27-7 third-quarter advantage.
A day later, though, it was revealed Fletcher had something to say at halftime. The Redskins trailed an NFC East rival for the third straight game 42-14 to the Eagles, 21-0 to the Giants and 20-7 to Dallas.
I just didnt like the way we were necessarily playing the energy wasnt what I would have liked it to be, Fletcher said. I wanted to share that with my teammates.
The 63 combined points was the most in a Redskins-Cowboys game since Dallas 41-35 overtime win to open the 1999 season.
Since the start of 2004, the Redskins have scored 30 or more points 13 times in 110 regular season games and have gone 9-4 (although 3-3 the last six times). By comparison, NFC East rival Philadelphia is 27-2 in that span and perennial NFL power New England is 44-2 when scoring 30 or more points.
Fletcher found no problem with benched quarterback Donovan McNabb remaining an offensive co-captain and participating in the coin toss. It shocks me that former players on television would think he shouldnt have gone out there, Fletcher said. We voted him captain for a reason.
And one more from Fletcher. On the decision to dive over the offensive line on a Dallas fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line to stuff Felix Jones: Sometimes, you calculate a guess so to speak. I just had a feeling of, Hey man, Im going airborne here, and was like, OK, this may work out for me. It did the Redskins stopped Dallas to take over on downs.
Barnes was thrust into action when Doughty departed for good in the first half. Moore was the only remaining healthy safety on the roster, forcing Barnes move from cornerback. They told me to be ready to play at safety, he said. I didnt know what happened to Reed but I made sure I made all my tackles and did all I could. In the off-season, I took a lot of pride in learning the defense safety, corner and nickel so I felt comfortable out there.
Jacksonville has been installed as a 6.5-point favorite for Sunday, the Redskins first regular season visit to northern Florida in eight years.
Contact Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org