Barnett played eight snaps over two series for Fletcher in Sunday’s 27-20 loss to the Detroit Lions.
“It’s something to keep me fresher,” said Fletcher, 38. “They rotate running backs, so we decided to rotate middle linebackers. … I thought it helped me during the course of the game.”
Fletcher finished with eight tackles, one sack and two tackles for loss. He did not come off the field in the first two games, but struggled to get off blocks at Green Bay. As others have said, every player succumbs to age at some point.
“We don’t want to overwork him, especially with the offenses we go against nowadays,” Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said. “I’d like to give him a few more plays off to not just wear him down. We’re trying to keep him 100 percent. We feel very good about London. We want to keep him healthy and we think Nick is doing a good job, too.”
The Redskins were hurt in the preseason when second-year linebacker Keenan Robinson tore his pectoral muscle and was lost for the season. He was Fletcher’s backup and, potentially, his eventual replacement. Barnett, 32, is more of an insurance policy for this season.