Sep 15, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals guard Paul Fanaika (74) and tackle Eric Winston (73) talk with Detroit Lions linebacker Rocky McIntosh (52) after the game at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
McIntosh has split his time between being a special teamer and a defensive replacement. He has taken all of 12 defensive snaps with the Lions, which isn’t much, but is 12 more than Whitehead or Lewis. He hasn’t played enough with the defense to really post anything notable, and he was so awful on special teams he hasn’t played with that unit at all in the last three games.
McIntosh has mostly been a ghost, but he did make one impact play last week against the Cowboys. On 3rd-and-14, he made a tackle on Philip Tanner after a nine yard gain with about 1:07 left in the game.
Why was that an impact play, you ask? That tackle saved a game-ending first down, which allowed the Lions to decline the holding penalty on Tyron Smith, effectively giving the team an extra timeout, and subsequently the time Matthew Stafford and the Lions offense needed to pull off an improbable comeback win.
It’s not much, but when a guy only has 12 defensive snaps, and one of them resulted in an ultimately game-saving tackle, that’s decent impact.
I’m not certain McIntosh, one of the Lions’ latest offenseason acquisitions, had any real expectations attached to him coming into this season. It is certainly worth noting that he effectively leap-frogged Whitehead and Lewis on the defensive depth chart given just a few weeks of training camp, but I’m not sure if that says more about McIntosh himself or the other two.
McIntosh looks like every bit the veteran stopgap, and chances are he doesn’t stick around after this season. Still, he played in 16 games for the Rams in 2012, and he provides stability in case of injury. Luckily, the Lions’ linebackers have remained healthy, so his services have not been greatly necessary.