A feature for SBNationDC
Feb 8, 2011 - Last week we started going through some of the key free agents the Redskins will have to make tough decisions on. I went through why the Redskins should bring back Santana Moss, and it looks like the Redskins decided to listen to my advice (NOT). This week we’ll look through two more intriguing names on the roster that also happen to be free agents: Rocky McIntosh and Jamaal Brown.
Rocky McIntosh’s 2010 season:
McIntosh was one of the players who was probably hit the hardest when Mike Shanahan made the decision to go from a 4-3 base defense to a 3-4. There was some confusion early about whether McIntosh was better on the inside or the outside. The decision was made that he would man the inside along with middle linebacker London Fletcher.
The decision yielded mixed results. On the bright side, McIntosh finished second on the team in tackles with 110 and even had two sacks to his credit. He had moments where he showed flashes of his prior successes in the 4-3, particularly when it came to applying pressure on the quarterback.
Unfortunately for McIntosh, when he struggled, it wasn’t always the most pleasant thing to watch. There were several moments in games this where he was caught out of position repeatedly. Whether it was covering a tight end or a running back coming out of the backfield, McIntosh looked a step slow at times in the new scheme. Whether that was because he was adjusting to the 3-4 or because he was simply put in a position that exploited his weaknesses (specifically coverage), there were some moments during the season where he looked bewildered.
What may be the most ironic thing about McIntosh’s 2010 season was that while he finished second in the team in tackles, he may have actually have been the second worst tackler on the team this season behind Kareem Moore. He was far more consistent in years past, but for some reason, he had a hard time wrapping up ball carriers this year. That’s not a good sign for any linebacker.
So Should He Stay Or Go?
The 28 year old linebacker walks into free agency on iffy ground. He's still a solid player, but he probably is more suited for a 4-3 scheme rather than Jim Haslett's 3-4. There were some real struggles this year for Rocky, some of which may be too glaring for the coaching staff to believe he could improve next season.
Not only does a so-so performance this season hurt McIntosh, but the potential emergence of his replacement could be one of the main factors as to why he could be a goner. Rookie linebacker Perry Riley didn't get much playing time at that inside linebacker spot this season, but when he was in there, he showed some flashes of someone who could eventually start somewhere down the road. I wouldn't be surprised if the Redskins truly view Riley as the long term option at that position. That, along with spotty play from McIntosh, may be enough to convince the Redskins front office to let McIntosh walk in free agency.
Given that the Redskins need more players who can effectively play in this 3-4 scheme, letting McIntosh go is probably the right move to make.
Click HERE for the rest of the feature.