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Redskins Defense Unwilling To Play Down

Posted Sep 13, 2012

After confounding Drew Brees and the NFL's top offense from a year ago, the Redskins defense has no plans of backing down against the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.

The Redskins defense set the bar high against New Orleans, holding last year's top offense to just 25 points on 358 yards, and 4-for-15 on third down conversions.

Throw in three opportunistic takeaways and a pair of sacks, while holding Brees under 50 percent completion, and the Redskins defense is justifiably pleased.

"We went out there and executed our game plan, maybe about as well as we could have hoped," defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said after the game.  "I thought the coaches and players on this team spent a lot of time on it, and really did a nice job with it.

Despite the success, defensive captain London Fletcher knows the unit can improve heading into next week, when they face a new-look Rams team under head coach Jeff Fisher.

"Obviously, we’d like eliminate the big plays," Fletcher said.  "We gave up a touchdown on the 4th-and-10.  They were able to get that 33-yard touchdown against us. 

"Those are things we look at going into each game – not giving up big plays, making teams earn everything they get.  It’s something we continue to stress."

The Rams were ranked 31st in the NFL last season in total offense, but the Redskins are in no mood to relax.  Even with injuries on the Rams' offensive line, Fletcher expects his teammates to prepare with intensity.

"They’ve got a new head coach with Jeff Fisher this year, and he'll have those guys well-prepared," Fletcher said.  "I think he can change them quickly, with the new scheme that their running, offensively and defensively. 

"You can tell a difference in their ball club this year.  Seems like they play a lot harder, harder football."

Haslett didn't get into detail about his gameplan for the Rams, but said the inspired play last week opens up the possibility for more plays.

"[Last week,] we wanted somehow to disrupt the timing of the passing game," he said.  "Whether it be to the rush, being aggressive with the coverage, putting pressure on the quarterback, hitting him, knocking balls down.

"I thought those guys did exactly what we needed to do to win the game."

Heading into Sunday's game, Haslett understands that the last two matchups against Bradford and the Rams won't prepare the Redskins for this time around.

"I think they’re a much improved team from even last year. They’ve got better players," Haslett said.  "They’ve got good running backs and a good coach for the receivers. I’ve always thought the quarterback was a good player."

The Redskins embrace the challenge of opening up two weeks on the road, and Fletcher expects his teammates to rise to the occasion.

"Whether it was at home or on the road, it doesn’t really matter--you just want to win every game," he said.  "We’re going to be in another hostile environment.  It’s their home opener so their crowd I’m sure will be loud an excited.

"We just have to go in, have a great week of preparation, and hopefully it’ll carry over for us on Sunday."

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