Redskins' Talented Linebackers Eye Detroit

The Lions might have an improved LB corps, but the Redskins flaunt three talents of their own. Notes, injury updates, and quotes from the Redskins' side of things as Washington prepares to play Detroit on Sunday.

He's not a superhuman tackling machine like middle man London Fletcher. He's not a high-profile first-round draft pick like strong-side rookie Brian Orakpo. But make no mistake: Linebacker Rocky McIntosh is in Fletcher's words, "one of the staples," of a Washington defense that is ranked in the top 10 for a third straight year.

Coincidence or not, McIntosh has been a starter for those three seasons. The Redskins ranked 31st in 2006 when McIntosh was a rookie backup.

"What Rocky does (is) taken for granted," said linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti. "Taking out a fullback, dropping to a landmark and then coming up and making a sure tackle. There's nothing really sexy about it until you miss it."

McIntosh missed out on causing two turnovers last Sunday against St. Louis but through no fault of his.

First, he tried to end the Rams' second series on its second play, smacking Kenneth Darby so hard that the running back fumbled. Andre Carter recovered at the St. Louis 17, but the takeaway was negated when Orakpo was whistled for roughing the passer.

Five plays later, McIntosh stripped quarterback Marc Bulger, but this time the Rams recovered. McIntosh was oh-so-close to two huge plays.

But he didn't come up empty. His coaches and teammates appreciate what McIntosh, who ranks third on the defense behind Fletcher and safety Chris Horton with 11 tackles, does on a consistent basis.

"Rocky's playing lights-out football," said defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin. "He plays with passion. He plays the first play and the last play the same way because he knows you never know which play is going to make the difference."

Player Notes:

  • OT Mike Williams didn't practice on Thursday because of an illness, but returned to practice on Friday.
  • QB Jason Campbell (foot) was limited in practice for a third straight day. He sprained his foot against the Rams but is expected to start Sunday at Detroit.
  • RB Clinton Portis (ankle) was limited in practice for Wednesday and Thursday, and was heldout of practice on Friday. He is listed as questionable for Sunday's tilt.
  • DT Anthony Montgomery was limited in practice for a third straight day after being inactive against the Rams with an ailing knee. He is probably for Sunday.
  • CB Fred Smoot, who missed the Rams' game with bruised ribs, is expected to play against the Lions.

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