Redskins try to slow Brady, Patriots on Sunday
ASHBURN, VA. (AP)
Washington's London Fletcher says it's not difficult to name the best
quarterback he's ever faced: Tom Brady.
The Redskins linebacker is speaking from experience. He has never
missed a game in 14 NFL seasons, has started two Super Bowls and played
in two Pro Bowls. He has dueled top quarterbacks from Dan Marino to
''Tom Brady is better than all those guys,'' Fletcher said of the New England Patriots' three-time Super Bowl winner and two-time NFL MVP who
visits FedEx Field for just the second time on Sunday. ''Look at what
he has done: three rings, all those wins. It doesn't matter who his
weapons are, he just keeps rolling.''
Redskins receiver Donte Stallworth was one of those weapons during New
England's perfect 16-0 regular season in 2007.
''It was always easy with him controlling everything,'' Stallworth
said. ''He's always the first one there early in the morning and he's
usually one of the last guys to leave. He's very smart back there, very
calm in the pocket. He makes a lot of plays.''
Fletcher and Stallworth weren't the only Redskins with high praise for
Redskins nose tackle Barry Cofield started on the only team to beat
Brady and the Patriots in a Super Bowl, the 2007 New York Giants, but
he, too, raved about the man.
''You gotta hit him, you gotta harass him, you gotta bat balls,
hopefully get an interception or two, maybe strip the ball,'' Cofield
said. ''He's a very tough guy. I've seen him take a lot of shots and he
would pick himself up the next play and make a great throw on the very
next play. The only way you can hurt Tom Brady is win.''
Fletcher has only beaten Brady twice in 13 meetings. Redskins defensive
coordinator Jim Haslett and defensive end Stephen Bowen have yet to do
''The key . is not letting him sit in the pocket,'' said Bowen, part of
a pass rush that's tied for third in the league in sacks per attempt.
''If he's able to do that, he's going to be able to tear us apart.''
Brady did that when he last faced the Redskins in 2007, directing a
52-7 dismantling of a defense that wound up ranked eighth and that led
Washington to the playoffs.
''If he's not the greatest, he's gotta be in the top three,'' Haslett
said. ''He's poised, big, got an unbelievable arm, makes all the
throws, can move enough to stay alive in the pocket, (his) leadership,
understanding of the offense is outstanding. And he does it day-in and
Redskins defensive end Adam Carriker said he's looking forward to the
challenge of facing one of the game's best quarterbacks for the first
Outside linebacker Brian Orakpo is taking a more cautious approach to
''He's a very smart quarterback,'' Orakpo said. ''All of a sudden, he's
calling out audibles. He's great in preparation, great at attacking
defenses. We have to be good with our pressure. We have to be tight in
our coverages. Regardless if someone's on a receiver, he's throwing as
if (the defender's) not even there.''
Notes: Bowen is the Redskins' winner of
the Ed Block Courage Award. Bowen's son Skyler died in July, 10 days
after he and twin brother Stephen III were born four months premature.
Last Sunday, less than nine hours before kickoff against the New York Jets, Bowen's mother-in-law, Muriel Johnson, died at 59 of muscular
dystrophy. Bowen, who had torn his left PCL the previous Sunday at
Seattle, started as always, although he didn't add to his career-high
4.5 sacks. . Strong safety LaRon Landry remained sidelined Thursday
with the groin he injured at Seattle and is unlikely to play against
New England. Newly signed defensive lineman Chris Baker also missed a
second straight day with an injured quadriceps.
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