The Pressure's on McIntosh

By Howard Bryant
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 2, 2006

As if wondering where he would land in the NFL draft was not enough pressure, Rocky McIntosh, the former University of Miami linebacker selected by the Washington Redskins in the second round Saturday, considerably increased the angst by getting married four days earlier.

And then there was a little more pressure for good measure. McIntosh, taken by the Redskins with the 35th pick overall, was officially introduced yesterday at Redskins Park as the possible eventual replacement for three-time Pro Bowl player LaVar Arrington.

"That's what he did, and what he did was great," McIntosh said of Arrington. "I'm just glad they picked me up. I'm used to the pressure. People can label me and say whatever they want, but I've got a job to do."

Coach Joe Gibbs indicated that the Redskins believe they have acquired a player who will be able to succeed against the run and pass without the necessity of making a substitution, as they believe they've had to for the last two years.

Assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams and linebackers coach Dale Lindsey declined to comment, both on McIntosh and on a draft in which the team selected five defensive players.

With Arrington now with the New York Giants, Warrick Holdman and Chris Clemons -- who will compete with McIntosh for the starting weak-side linebacker position vacated by Arrington -- will feel the effect of McIntosh's arrival.

"He's very flexible, and the other thing that we thought was real important that made us anxious to add Rocky to our program was that he can play all three downs," Gibbs said. "He can play first- and second-down run and he's also a very good cover guy."

When the Redskins traded up to draft McIntosh on Saturday, Gibbs said one of the reasons they were so impressed with him was his intellect. McIntosh had said he scored a 29 on the Wonderlic intelligence test, but a player agent with detailed player information from the February combine in Indianapolis said McIntosh actually scored a 31, which happened to be the highest score of any linebacker.

"The best thing you can do is to learn everything about the league. Learn from everyone, from the coaches and the players and even the guys that got drafted behind you," Redskins left tackle Chris Samuels said. Samuels was taken third overall by the Redskins in the 2000 draft and said that, in a sense, McIntosh's not being drafted in the first round will help him with the veterans.

"I went so high in the draft that a lot of guys might not have wanted to talk to me because a lot of guys drafted up there have big egos. But I was humble," he said. "My locker was in between Bruce Smith and Marco Coleman, and I was just a sponge with those guys."

Redskins Notes: The Redskins announced the signing of eight undrafted free agents, including Miami tight end Buck Ortega, who is a longtime friend and high school teammate of Sean Taylor. The Redskins also signed Maryland wide receiver Derrick Fenner, Oklahoma cornerback Chijioke Onyenegecha, Brigham Young defensive lineman Manaia Brown, UCLA linebacker Spencer Havner, San Diego offensive lineman Jasper Harvey, Marshall cornerback Chris Hawkins and California punter David Lonie. The acquisition of McIntosh and Ortega gives the Redskins five Hurricanes, joining veterans Santana Moss, Clinton Portis and Taylor. . . . The rookies will make their debut in a three-day camp this weekend at Redskins Park. . . . A hearing to determine new trial date for Taylor is schedule for Monday, according to Richard Sharpstein, one of his attorneys. Taylor was arrested last year for felony assault and his trial was set to begin yesterday, but was delayed due to the addition of a new judge and prosecutor in the case.

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