Rocky McIntosh is ready for responsibility.
First and foremost, there is his new son Gavin, born in mid-June a few days before Redskins mini-camp.
Now, with Redskins training camp on the horizon, McIntosh wants to show coaches he's responsible enough for extended playing time at weak-side linebacker.
McIntosh knows he has a lot to prove. He wants to earn his place in the defensive lineup.
He was one of the top participants in Redskins' voluntary off-season workouts.
"I definitely don't want anybody to give me anything," he said. "I just want to go out there and earn my spot."
McIntosh, the Redskins' second-round draft pick in 2006, saw limited playing time last season, backing up Warrick Holdman on the weak-side.
He flashed skills at times, but he did not earn the trust of coaches until late in the year when the team was out of the playoff race.
Holdman is gone now, and McIntosh is poised to take his place. He'll need to fend off Lemar Marshall, displaced from the middle with the arrival of London Fletcher. A former college safety, Marshall has always been regarded as more of a weak-side linebacker.
McIntosh started just two games of the 2006 season, recording 23 tackles overall. It was not what he envisioned from his rookie campaign.
Through the season, McIntosh saw the bulk of action on special teams, finishing with 28 tackles, second-best on the club.
Did watching from the sidelines humble him?
"Sort of, but this is a team effort," he replied. "They needed me out there on special teams, and I went out there and made plays. Whatever they needed me to do, I was willing to go out there and do it."
His drive to succeed is evident. Now it's a matter of whether he fully grasps Gregg Williams' defense. He showed positive signs in his two late-season starts, but that's a question that won't be answered until training camp gets underway.
Entering his second year, McIntosh feels more comfortable.
"It's definitely a lot more natural out there this year," he said. "I have a better feel for the defense and I have veterans in there with me. I feel great out there with London Fletcher and Marcus [Washington] coming back.
"It was great getting playing time towards the end of the season last year, and I want to continue that and go make plays. I'm hungry to do that."
And then, of course, there is parenthood--a challenge for any 26-year-old.
"It's a big change," he said. "There's a lot more responsibility, and Coach [Joe] Gibbs was joking around with me about responsibility. He told me, 'It's time for you to go out there and make some money [for Gavin],' so I'm going to go out there and do that."