- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Yesterday’s re-signing of linebacker Warrick Holdman didn’t change the likelihood that the Washington Redskins will look for linebacking help with the 53rd pick — their only choice before the fifth round — in the April 29-30 draft, which is considered deep at outside linebacker.

“We still want to look at picking a linebacker there,” Redskins linebackers coach Dale Lindsey said. “There should be a couple of good ones available when we pick.”

Holdman, on the verge of stardom before hurting a knee in 2002 with Chicago, had little impact in his Washington debut in 2005 with just 23 tackles and no interceptions, sacks or forced fumbles despite starting seven games before yielding the weak side job to the since-released LaVar Arrington.

“Warrick didn’t play as well as he could have last year,” said Lindsey, who coached Holdman with the Bears from 1999 to 2001. “He knows that. It was his first year in the system and he played tentatively early, like he didn’t want to make mistakes. He looked more like his old self late in the year, but he needs to play better.”

Not only is Holdman, barring a renaissance, a stopgap starter at 30, but backup Chris Clemons has served only as a third-down pass rusher and is coming off knee surgery.

“Chris has tremendous speed and quickness, but he has to show us that he can really be an all-around linebacker,” Lindsey said.

One player who has done that is Lemar Marshall, who proved himself in place of the injured Arrington on the weak side in 2004 and then beat out a host of candidates to win the job in the middle of last season. Only strong side starter Marcus Washington had more tackles the past two years than Marshall’s 167 and only Washington and defensive end Renaldo Wynn started more games than Marshall’s 30.

However, Marshall is recuperating from surgery on a dislocated left shoulder and might miss the June 16-18 veteran minicamp, although he’s expected to be 100 percent when training camp opens on July 31. He also had a knee scoped this winter.

“I want to be out there as soon as I can, but I’ve shown that I can play both positions,” Marshall said. “I have a contract. I don’t feel the pressure that I might have felt in the past. You want to be out there when you see other guys getting better, but you’ve got to follow the right procedures so you don’t have any setbacks.”

Marshall was hurt late in the Jan. 1 victory at Philadelphia that clinched Washington’s first playoff berth in six years.

“I had enough strength that I could play through those last couple of minutes,” Marshall said. “I wasn’t coming out of there [during the playoffs]. I knew it would take a while when they did the surgery. That’s what the offseason is for. The doctors don’t want me in pads for minicamp. We’ll just see how the shoulder progresses.”

And when he returns, Marshall likely will remain in the middle, meaning that unless a tremendous inside prospect like Maryland’s D’Qwell Jackson is there at No. 53, the Redskins likely will choose an outside backer.

“Lemar worked very hard to learn the position,” Lindsey said. “He could move back to the weak side, but then someone else would have to learn all the calls. I like Lemar where he is.”

Notes — Strength coach John Hastings reported nearly 100 percent participation in the ongoing voluntary offseason conditioning program at Redskin Park. Free agent signee Adam Archuleta has been working on his own in Arizona, but fellow safety Sean Taylor, with his trial in Miami postponed until May 8, has returned.

Guard Randy Thomas, who fractured a fibula against Dallas on Dec. 18, is jogging on a treadmill and participating in the full weight room program. Thomas is expected to be ready for minicamp. So are Clemons, receiver David Patten (knee surgery), offensive tackle Chris Samuels (knee scope) and center Casey Rabach (deep leg gash).

Defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin’s surgically repaired shoulder and Wynn’s surgically repaired forearm are keeping them from full participation, but both should be ready for minicamp. So should receiver James Thrash, whose broken thumb remains a little stiff.

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