Seven weeks after third-year cornerback Carlos Rogers suffered a season-ending knee injury and three weeks after fourth-year safety Sean Taylor was murdered, second-year linebacker Rocky McIntosh tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee in Sunday's 22-10 victory over the New York Giants.
McIntosh, who is Washington's second-leading tackler, will have surgery in the coming weeks, and figures to miss between nine months and a year.
"It's a real negative for us," coach Joe Gibbs said. "He was playing great for us."
McIntosh, who had the most recent of three scopes on his right knee this past offseason, didn't want to believe how bad his left knee was.
"The kid kept saying, ‘Are you sure; are you sure?' ... Because he can stand on it, but clinically, when you test it, you can see the looseness," said Redskins director of sports medicine Bubba Tyer. "He got crushed under somebody, hit his leg and it bent backwards."
So now, the Redskins are without Taylor (fifth overall pick, 2004), Rogers (ninth, 2005) and McIntosh (35th, 2006) and yet they've won their past two games to improve to 7-7 and remain in the NFC wild-card race heading to another showdown Sunday night at Minnesota.
It's unclear whether rookie H.B. Blades, veteran Randall Godfrey or special teams ace Khary Campbell will replace McIntosh for the rest of this season. Blades and Campbell shared the snaps against the Giants. Godfrey was inactive after filling in when strongside linebacker Marcus Washington was sidelined for most of five games in October and November.
Blades had played almost exclusively on special teams prior to the Giants game. The sixth-round draft pick from Pitt had five tackles on defense in the first 13 games, 13 on special teams.
"I'm in most of the regular packages when somebody gets hurt," Blades said. "I was excited to have an opportunity to play so much on Sunday Night Football with our season on the line and everybody watching."
Guess what, H.B? You have a chance at a repeat performance this week against the Vikings.
"I like that mean attitude," said Washington. "It kind of strikes a little fear in them when ‘Dirty 30' is back there."
"When I was a kid, I used to watch (Strahan) so it was crazy going against him, but I was up to the challenge," Heyer said. "It was definitely a big step in my career."
"Luckily I had some good preparation during the week," Collins said. "The baby was due Dec. 29, but I had a good week of preparation and I got some studying done on the airplane. A lot of good things have been happening and I'm thankful for all of them."