Saturday, May 06, 2006

Can Rocky make us go "Lavar who?"

The Redskins fed us a tidbit or two in explaining why Rocky McIntosh was worth three draft picks. In doing so, they divulged their view of Lavar Arrington's value to the defense. Joe Gibbs is quoted in the April 30, 2006 Washington Post as saying "he (McIntosh) has solved a central problem for the Redskins while simultaneously being able to exploit a part of their defense -- using strong-side linebacker Marcus Washington as a pass rusher -- that was underutilized last season. The problem, Gibbs said, 'was that the team was not comfortable with its personnel at weak-side linebacker.'"

Now that's an interesting concept, that McIntosh will bring pass rushing pressure, through Marcus Washington, by better coverage. The weak side was Arrington's area, but he saw limited playing time in 2005. The coaches never said it in words, but it was shown by the roster that they saw Arrington as no more effective than journeyman linebacker Chris Clemons.

"Gibbs said a main target of the draft was a linebacker who could play all three downs, a luxury the Redskins did not believe they had last year, with LaVar Arrington, Chris Clemons and Warrick Holdman rotating. Arrington, who last week signed with the New York Giants, played on first and second downs, only to be spelled on third down by Clemons. Holdman played sporadically after the Redskins settled on the Arrington-Clemons rotation."

A run on linebackers in the first and early second round elevated the coaches' concern that McIntosh would not be available unless they traded up. They did, at the cost of three draft choices, two in '06 and an '07 second rounder. Three draft picks is the equivalent of a first round, at least to me. The Skins are saying that McIntosh is the equal of Arrington in Arrington's first year. McIntosh brings more pressure on either Clemons or Holdman. With less need for a weak-side rotation, one of them becomes expendible and their slot can be used for another position.

Time will tell if Mr. McIntosh will cause fans to reduce Lavar to a dim memory. Check that. It will be the highly capable Mr. Washington who will make the fans go "Lavar who!"

No comments: