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Fletcher Earns Defensive Player of Week

Middle linebacker London Fletcher has earned GMC Defensive Player of the Week honors for his performance in the Redskins' 21-19 win over the Arizona Cardinals last Sunday, the NFL has announced.

Fletcher logged a team-high 10 tackles for the Redskins and turned in the top defensive play of the first half.

Midway through the second quarter, with the Redskins leading 7-0, Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner dropped back to pass and had time to wait for a receiver to get open.

Warner's pass sailed past wide receiver Anquan Boldin in the middle of the field, right into Fletcher's arms.

Fletcher found a wall of blockers to his left and raced 27 yards into the end zone for a touchdown. Shawn Springs leveled a block on Warner just as Fletcher crossed the goal line for the score.

Fletcher was selected for the honor by fans in a vote in Redskins.com. He was among five finalists.

-- COOLEY ON THE OFFENSIVE

With all of the New England Patriots' offensive fireworks, it's easy to overlook that the defense is among the best in the NFL. The unit is ranked third overall.

The Redskins will face a 3-4 defensive alignment for the first time this year. The Patriots employ just three down lineman and four linebackers, but their linebackers are versatile enough to rush the passer and drop back in coverage.

Tight end Chris Cooley expects to be covered by either a linebacker or safety when he heads out into pass routes.

"They're a very smart defense, but eventually they have to end up what they are going to play," Cooley said. "It takes a little more film study to figure out where they'll be. They're very complicated on third-down situations.

"They give you all kinds of different looks and they fly all over the field. And so far this season, they've had a lot of third-down situations because they've been shutting a lot of teams down."

-- SMOOT, ROGERS LIMITED IN PRACTICE

Cornerbacks Fred Smoot and Carlos Rogers expect to play this Sunday against the Patriots, but through Thursday they have been limited in practice due to injury.

Smoot has a hamstring injury and Rogers has a sprained knee.

Gregg Williams was equally upbeat about their chances of playing on Sunday.

"Everything is good," Williams said. "They're coming along. They took a big stride [Thursday] and practiced better. Friday is usually a lesser day anyway because we don't have a long, lengthy run.

"I anticipate them taking the next step again [Friday], but everything seems to be progressing very well right now."

-- CARTWRIGHT STILL SIDELINED

Kick returner Rock Cartwright was the only Redskins player to sit out Thursday's practice. Cartwright is slowed by a quad injury.

Cartwright's status for the New England game will become clearer on Friday. If he can't play, Ladell Betts and James Thrash will likely handle kick return duties.

Meantime, offensive tackle Stephon Heyer was full-go in practice for the first time since suffering a hamstring injury in Week 5 at Green Bay.

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