In all likelihood, the Washington Redskins' second-year quarterback Robert Griffin III and 16-year NFL veteran linebacker London Fletcher will begin the 2013 NFL season as the teams co-captains. Under head coach Mike Shanahan's system, the Redskins players vote to select an offensive and defensive co-captain to represent the team for the start of the regular season.
During the team's bye week, additional captains are selected, up to an NFL maximum of six, to round out the co-captain designation.
Last season, the team captains included RG3 and Fletcher along with departed special teams Pro Bowl linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, who signed with the Arizona Cardinals during the offseason, nose tackle Barry Cofield, left tackle Trent Williams and defensive end Stephen Bowen.
RG3, Cofield and Bowen were selected at a time last season when the Redskins held a 3-6 record and coming off a disappointing home-field loss to the Carolina Panthers. The Redskins would then rally to win seven straight games, clinching the NFL East title and a berth in the playoffs.
Following the naming of the trio during the team's bye week last season, Coach Shanahan emphasized why he deems it important to have the system set up this way.
“What it does, voting at the midpoint, is you give players a chance to see guys play during the season, like Stephen Bowen and Barry Cofield,” Shanahan said in November 2012, via the Redskins.com. “You know, guys who have been around here for a year, you see them through the first half of the season and they say, ‘Hey, we want these guys to be our captains,’ and I think it’s a great honor.”
This captain designation mattered quite a bit to Fletcher prior to the start of last season. Following his singing with the team on April 13, 2012, he shared his excitement with his followers on Twitter.
— London Fletcher (@LFletcher59) April 13, 2012
Along with the recognition by teammates and the ceremonial coin toss "meet and greet" with opposing team captains, the Redskins outfit their co-captains with a jersey bearing a capital "C" which is accompanied by a star stitched in gold thread if they are a returning captain.
With the selection of RG3 as a rookie co-captain during the bye week, something Shanahan could not recall happening on teams he had coached, the quarterback seemed humbled and honored by the selection last November.
"You just know that everybody's looking at me to be the guy, to make everything work," Griffin said, via ESPN.com. "To me, that's not pressure. But I just echo it to everyone else that it's not just me. People will say it's me and I'll get all the blame and all the fame, but it's the guys around me that make me great."
With Fletcher leading the defense in tackles last season, his career and longevity in the NFL as well as his streak of consecutive NFL games played, I don't see anyone replacing him as a defensive captain.
RG3 is a no-brainer.
Captains aren't necessarily the players with the best stats but perhaps, more importantly, they are leaders. However, it's no coincidence the leaders also tend to have the best stats. They are the entire package.
Whether it's RG3 his rookie season or London Fletcher as one of the oldest players in the NFL, last year was no exception.
We have no idea who the team will vote for to represent the team as 2013 captains—Alfred Morris, Brian Orakpo, Trent Williams, Pierre Garcon. Will another rookie emerge?
What will be interesting is to see who will be the standout at the midpoint of the season. Hopefully we will have multiple contenders vying for the capital "C" recognition on their jersey.