'Quiet storm', 'rock,' 'wild child' _ Redskins LBs quite a lineup

Updated: September 21, 2007, 5:52 AM ET
Associated Press

ASHBURN, Va. -- It only takes a quick glance to notice the different looks of the Washington Redskins linebackers.

"Rocky's the quiet storm. Fletch is like the rock in the middle. And Marcus is just a wild child -- anything goes."

That was defensive lineman Kedric Golston's description of the three players who line up behind him: young and humble Rocky McIntosh, durable leader London Fletcher and live-wired talker Marcus Washington.

"There's some different personalities," Washington said. "But we all come together and take care of business."

No arguing either point there. Only two games have been played, but this trio might be the best set of linebackers the Redskins have put on the field in more than a decade. The defense has allowed only one touchdown and has cut down on the big plays that haunted the team a year ago.

"Personalities is one thing, but production is more important," assistant coach Gregg Williams said. "You can be the funniest, the happiest guy, but if you don't produce you're not in this game very long. Those are very productive guys. Those are three guys who in a quick amount of time have meshed together."

To check the efficiency of a defense, find out who is making the tackles. Last year, when Redskins ranked 31st in the NFL in yards allowed, safety Sean Taylor led the team. This year, McIntosh and Fletcher are the top two.

Fletcher is showing he still has ability at age 32 despite not having missed a game in his 10-year NFL career. Signed from Buffalo because of his familiarity with Williams' defense, he has asserted himself quickly and even gave the get-tough motivational speech when the Redskins were trailing at halftime in the season opener against Miami.

"He gets us lined up. He does a good job in telling us what's coming," defensive end Phillip Daniels said. "That's what you want in a middle linebacker. I don't mind that. My middle linebacker's got to be a leader."

McIntosh already has the inside track on most improved player. He barely got on the field as a rookie last year, but he has been making plays all over the field and leads the team with two sacks.

"He's always been a guy who can play hard and hit, but the second year is when you come into your own," Washington said. "He kind of reminds me of me. The first year I didn't play as much as I wanted to. The second year I was able to fit in and be comfortable."

McIntosh might be comfortable, but he's not loud -- at least when the game's not being played.

"I ain't got too much to say," McIntosh said. "I'm the youngest guy in the group. I'm just quiet, but when I get out there on the field I like to talk a little bit. I'm crazy on game day."

Wait a minute. The quiet kid is a trash talker?

"He'll talk a little trash," Washington said. "He does it in flashes. You have to catch him doing it."

Washington was out with a dislocated elbow in preseason. The elbow is still sore, but there's been little to fault about his play. It speaks volumes that the former Pro Bowl linebacker has so far been overshadowed by the other two.

All three are quick to point out that Sunday's opponent, the New York Giants, will bring a better offense than the Redskins have seen so far this season. Also, the defense still isn't forcing enough turnovers.

Meanwhile, their position meetings must be very interesting.

"I think it's a good blend," Fletcher said. "You've got a quiet assassin, so to speak, in Rocky. Marcus is insane and an extremely intense player, very physically gifted. And me, I guess you could say I'm the cerebral one. Maybe a little bit of a mix of both. I want to be quiet, but there's a side of me that's like Marcus, so that's a battle within."


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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