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With Fletcher ailing, Alexander could start

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With Fletcher ailing, Alexander could start

If London Fletcher does not suit up Sunday in Pittsburgh, it's possible reserve Lorenzo Alexander will replace the venerable veteran and join the starting lineup for the first time since 2010.

Fletcher has played in 231 consecutive games, the longest streak among active players in the NFL. But the 37-year-old suffered a strained right hamstring Sunday and began complaining of balance problems Monday.

Fletcher did not practice Wednesday and was scheduled to be examined by a neurologist later in the day. He did not appear to practice Thursday, either.

Coach Mike Shanahan is expected to provide an update on Fletcher's status Thursday afternoon.

“Hopefully he’ll be cleared,” defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said. “We feel good [about] Lorenzo and Keenan” Robinson.

Alexander, meantime, started 12 games at linebacker in 2010 and saw ample time there against the Vikings, recording 1.5 sacks and a fumble recovery deep in Minnesota’s end.

When Fletcher left Sunday’s game at MetLife Stadium early in the fourth quarter, Alexander stepped in. Robinson also saw time at Fletcher's inside linebacker position.

“They did a nice job when they stepped in for London last week,” Haslett said. “It would be weird, a different feeling obviously” without Fletcher.

If Fletcher can’t go, it also could potentially change the complexion of a key matchup. Fletcher normally would assist in covering Heath Miller, the Steelers’ 6 foot 5, 256-pound tight end who’s averaging five receptions a game. That responsibility would then fall on Alexander, who has significantly less experience in pass coverage.

“London is awesome on the tight ends,” Haslett said. “Heath is a heck of a player. 'Zo will have his work cut out for him in that area. But he’ll be up to the challenge.”

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Even without Robert Griffin III's return, Redskins-Browns is plenty big

Even without Robert Griffin III's return, Redskins-Browns is plenty big

From the day the 2016 NFL schedule was released, Oct. 2 was a date all Redskins fans circled. And highlighted. And bolded. Because Oct. 2 marked a date with the Cleveland Browns, a game that was supposed to feature the return of Robert Griffin III.

A familiar sight for Washington watchers, however — an injury to RG3, which he suffered in Week 1 against the Eagles — has prevented that storyline from coming true. Instead, the Browns will start Cody Kessler under center, meaning Kirk Cousins won't get a chance to square off with his fellow 2012 draftee, meaning this Sunday doesn't mean nearly as much as it would've if a healthy No. 10 was heading back to FedEx Field.

Or, that's what some are saying.

"This is a dead week," Eric Bickel of the Sports Junkies said on Thursday's show. "This was supposed to be our Super Bowl for sports talk radio. And people are like, 'Eh, this is great, boring's good.' They just don't understand our business."

"They don't work in this biz," John "Cakes" Auville chimed in, lamenting the phone calls and hot takes that were lost when Griffin went down.

"They dont understand how it works around here. And this was supposed to be, really Cakes, one of the best weeks of the year," Bickel said. "We've been pointing to it for months," Cakes added.

"This was really supposed to be an amazing week, and, you know, the big story is, we lost our center," E.B. concluded.

"You're also coming off a win, you can get to 2-2," J.P. Flaim pointed out, trying to prove to his despondent buddies that the game still carries a lot of meaning.

"Even that pales in comparison to Robert's return," Cakes responded.

Now, it's easy to understand why the Junkies are a little down. E.B. is a noted Griffin guy, so not getting a chance to see one of his beloved ex-'Skins definitely hurts. Plus, as mentioned earlier, the morning is a lot quieter when there's no Griffin-Cousins/Griffin's revenge/Griffin's going to get what's been coming for him angles to yell about.

But, RG3's absence notwithstanding, Sunday should still mean plenty for the Burgundy and Gold and their fans. Because, while not having the polarizing passer to watch removes some national intrigue from the contest, the Redskins can't afford to lose an ounce of interest as kickoff approaches.

A win helps the home side even up their record, which absolutely matters in a year where the NFC East looks improved. Building off of last week's victory in New York would be a giant step in the right direction after a lackluster start. A loss, meanwhile, sends this city right back to the edge of the cliff. The edge of the cliff isn't a fun spot to be in.

Therefore, it's necessary for people in the area to ask themselves a question: What's more fun, having a controversial player to talk about from Monday to Friday, or having a franchise coming off of a win to talk about on Sunday?

The answer shouldn't be up for debate. The Redskins need to go all in for Week 4, Griffin or no Griffin.

MORE REDSKINS: DEZ BRYANT HURT AND FINED

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If hairline fracture not enough, Cowboys Dez Bryant reportedly fined

If hairline fracture not enough, Cowboys Dez Bryant reportedly fined

Even when things are going well in Dallas it seems like controversy is never too far away. The latest stems from wide receiver Dez Bryant injuring his right knee during last Sunday's victory over the Bears. 

News of the severity of the injury did not emerge until Wednesday, when Cowboys coach Jason Garrett revealed Bryant suffered a hairline fracture where his tibia bone hits the knee. 

Why the wait? Reports from Dallas show that Bryant missed his scheduled MRI on Tuesday and the tests could not be held until Wednesday. Bryant also missed team meetings on Tuesday. 

MORE REDSKINS: PREPARING WITHOUT DOCTSON

Due to missing the meetings and MRI Tuesday, Bryant has been fined an undisclosed amount, per the reports

The injury comes at a tough time for the Cowboys as the offense has moved the ball well with rookie QB Dak Prescott. 

Dallas has won two games in a row after a narrow loss to the Giants to open the year. In three games, Bryant has 150 receiving yards and a touchdown. 

Against Washington in Week 2, Bryant went for more than 100 yards receiving. Late in that game, the Redskins began to shadow Bryant with Josh Norman.