Despite missing the June 16-18 mini-camp, linebacker Roger "Rocky" McIntosh says he is getting more and more comfortable learning the Redskins' defense.
McIntosh, the Redskins' top draft pick last April, sat out the full-squad mini-camp to recuperate from minor arthroscopic knee surgery. The decision was made to have the surgery now so there would be no issues with his knee heading into training camp in late July.
Before the surgery, McIntosh was showing flashes of potential during Organized Team Activity (OTA) practice sessions.
In the last week of OTAs, assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams said McIntosh had several outstanding plays and proved that he can adjust to the speed of the NFL game.
"Hopefully, the game is really slowing down for him right now," Williams said.
Talk to McIntosh and you get a sense he is his hardest critic.
In comments prior to his surgery and the mini-camp, McIntosh said: "I have to learn to stop doing some of the things I did in college and correct [mistakes]. I have to learn to do what's required of me now in the NFL. I just have to go out there and make that transition."
He added: "As each day goes by, I get more comfortable and I'm able to do what the coaches want me to do. There are some excellent teachers out there and I'm just trying to be a good student and try to learn."
When training camp arrives, McIntosh will be one of several candidates for playing time at weak-side linebacker. According to Williams, veteran linebacker Warrick Holdman has the edge right now, with Chris Clemons and McIntosh close behind. Second-year player Robert McCune is also in the mix.
Asked if he was looking forward to the linebacker competition in training camp, McIntosh said: "I'm always a competitive guy, but I know I have some great guys ahead of me. I'm just learning, watching from them and waiting for my chance."
McIntosh is the only Redskins draft pick who has not yet signed his rookie contract. The signing is not expected to be an issue. He doesn't have to report to training camp until late July and negotiations will likely continue during the next few weeks.
The Redskins selected McIntosh in the second round (35th overall) of the 2006 NFL Draft.
The 6-2, 231-pounder played his college ball at the University of Miami, where he played two seasons with current Redskins safety Sean Taylor.
McIntosh started 26-of-46 games in college, including 11 games in his senior season last year. He logged a team-high 89 tackles (50 solo) and added 5.5 sacks and 10 tackles for a loss.
How is the NFL game different from playing at a major college football program like Miami?
"Coaches are a lot more in-depth with everything they're doing," McIntosh said. "They are very detailed in how you're supposed to do things. They want things done a certain way. I just pay attention to details like always and go out there to do my job."