He took a small step toward accomplishing that goal Monday when veteran starting linebacker Rocky McIntosh signed a contract extension.
Signing McIntosh to a one-year tender offer in time for the first mandatory minicamp was a priority. Haslett's new coaching staff is continuing the installation of a 3-4 scheme at Redskins Park this week. And it's a defense McIntosh has never played.
An outside linebacker in college and throughout his tenure in D.C., McIntosh will be moved inside to start next to London Fletcher. His ability to shed blocks and move well laterally should help him excel at his new position.
But it’s McIntosh’s play-making ability that made his presence even more critical in Haslett’s new defense.
While the Redskins have become a staple for finishing with a top-10 ranked defense every year, they’ve struggled to create the turnovers Haslett salavates over.
McIntosh, 27, has blossomed into a tackling machine in his four seasons in Washington. He’s coming off his best season, playing in all 16 games and finishing second on the team with 115 tackles (60 solo). And he is one of the few defensive holdovers who has proven capable of generating turnovers (he interecepted two passes and forced two fumbles last season).
Had everybody on the Redskins defense contributed the four turnovers that McIntosh did last year, the Redskins would have forced 44. Instead they compiled an NFL-worst 17. Only four teams intercepted fewer passes (11), and just one recovered fewer fumbles (6).
If the Redskins don’t dramatically change those futile takeaway totals, a renaissance season will be at least another year away. A happy, and paid, McIntosh is a positive step for Haslett’s defense.