By Danny Cox
CBS Sports analyst and CBS Sports Network’s That Other Pregame Show host London Fletcher has gone from a leader on the field to discussing them as an NFL commentator. After a long career in which consistency was one of his biggest assets, he is someone that knows the ins-and-outs of the game and what’s happening in the league today.
Fletcher took some time to speak about the upcoming Thursday Night Football game between the Washington Redskins and New York Giants, as well as the troubles that the NFC East is facing as a whole. Injuries, missing identity and starters on the bench—the NFC East is a bit of mess right now, and London Fletcher has taken it all in.
Washington Redskins – New York Giants airs Thursday night on CBS at 8:25p ET
Is Eli Manning actually hurting the Giants more than helping them right now?
London Fletcher: “No, I don’t think that. He’s played very well in both games for the Giants so far, but there are decisions he could have made that were better than those he did. Late in that Dallas game, Eli must realize that passing near the goal line was a mistake and he should have taken the sack. Yes, he’s made mistakes, but he’s not hurting [his team] and he will get better.”
How far do you believe Kirk Cousins can take the Redskins?
LF: “If Kirk Cousins plays like he did against the Rams—can protect the football and not turn it over…this team has a good running game. The Redskins can go pretty far in the NFC East and have a chance to win the division. Dallas is dealing with injuries and the Eagles have a lack of identity right now. Washington’s defense is outstanding, and if Cousins can protect the ball, they can go far.”
What must the Giants defense do in order to stop these late game collapses?
LF: “They really need someone to step up and make plays. There are not a lot of big playmakers on the Giants defense and there is a big lack of awareness. The defense needs to have a better understanding of how far the offense needs to get for a first down or how deep the secondary should be.
The New York Giants defensive coordinator is calling everything but it’s simply not working. There are busted coverage assignments and zones that are playing too deep. Awareness of the down and situation is huge and there needs to be more of it.”
Has Robert Griffin III played his last game in a Washington Redskins uniform?
LF: “It certainly seems that way. Kirk (Cousins) has played pretty decent through the first two games and RG3 is now down to third string. With a guaranteed contract for next year and not wanting to get him injured, the Redskins won’t allow him to get injured. Still, it’s a long season and you never know what injuries may happen or how a player will perform…so he may have to get out there.
Still, I think it’s unlikely that Griffin will play again for the Redskins.”
With the injuries the Dallas Cowboys have suffered, is the NFC East race wide open or does one team still have an edge?
LF: (Laughs) “It’s way too early to tell. You just don’t know…we don’t know how Brandon Weeden will be as a starter. Coming off the bench, he looked great, but as a starter it’s different. You don’t know if the Eagles are going to find their identity. You’d think with all the weapons they have, they could get it going, but it just hasn’t happened yet.
The Redskins are doing good things now, especially running the ball and with their defense. New York has played well, but they’ve blown two double-digit leads so far this season…can they finish? The NFC East is wide open right now, but it’s way too early to tell what will happen.”