Middle linebacker is considered perhaps the most intense and complicated position on a defense. Here are a few thoughts on what qualities are essential in a good middle linebacker.

SmartS

"Nobody wants a dumb guy. Who wants a dumb guy?"

Redskins linebackers coach Dale Lindsey

ToughNESS

"The middle linebacker takes a lot of hits from a lot of angles. He gets hit from every angle on the field, from guys who are bigger than him. You have to throw yourself in there against guys that might have 100 pounds on you, and then go chase a linebacker. That's tough to deal with."

Redskins offensive lineman Chris Samuels

Leadership

"They're in the center of the field. They're like your second baseman and center fielder in baseball. He'll control the front- and back-end elements that make a defense successful. Leadership is getting people wanting to pay attention to you, and when you're right more times than not they do. Lemar [Marshall] puts in the time. He has the answers when people ask him the questions."

Redskins assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams

Tools

"This is something I can't teach. I don't want a short guy. If I've got a short guy, I can't make him taller. If I have a fast guy, I hopefully don't make him slower, but I definitely can't make a slow guy faster."

Lindsey

Instincts

"They recognize read and diagnose and act on a play very quickly. The good ones can do that without hesitation. They set sail and get going. The ones that aren't as good take a little bit more time to recognize where the play is going. The good ones get there when the ballcarrier gets there."

Arizona Coach Dennis Green