Outside linebackers have come and gone for the St. Louis Rams over recent seasons. The team never quite found the formula they were looking for from the late-round picks and veteran free agents brought in to bolster a soft underbelly of the run stopping unit. This year, new general manager Les Snead borrowed a page from his predecessors, signing a trio of veterans in Jo-Lonn Dunbar, Mario Haggan and Rocky McIntosh. So far, Dunbar and Haggan have been working regularly as the starters, begging the question leaving fans to wonder about McIntosh's status.
Head coach Jeff Fisher talked about the former Washington linebacker on Monday.
"We wanted some depth, and we wanted to improve the competition at the outside linebacker spot," Fisher said. "Rocky has some familiarity with the system from Washington. He's athletic and he's got very good strength. He's a smart player and felt like he had a chance to fit into this system. He's also been a very productive special teams guy. He wanted the opportunity to come in here and just have a chance to compete and make the team. It felt like the perfect fit for us."
McIntosh was the odd man out when Washington switched to a 3-4 defense under Jim Haslett. Lacking the kind of pass rushing threat that system needs from its outside linebackers, he was buried on the depth chart.
Fisher revealed that he is being asked to learn both outside linebacker positions in St. Louis. Familiarity with the system aside, it is a transition. McIntosh, along with the others on the roster, are learning the finer points of the system in the morning, at a desk.
"What you guys don't get a sense for is the time that is spent inside, and the time spent in walk-thrus and all the reps," Fisher said McIntosh's adjustment. "We've got a 10 or 11 hour day and we're spending two of it in the practice environment. The rest is inside in the meeting and walk-thrus, so everybody is getting plenty of opportunities."