This time last year, defensive lineman Jarvis Jenkins was just starting to make what turned into a colossal impression on the Redskins coaching staff. Jenkins, then a rookie, quickly ascended into the defensive line’s top rotation during training camp, and his effort prompted defensive coordinator Jim Haslett to remark that Jenkins was having the most impressive training camp of all the team’s linemen.
Then Jenkins tore his ACL during Washington’s third preseason game, and all the anticipation of what he might add to the Redskins’ pass rush came to a screeching halt.
“When I got hurt, I left such a high marker for myself that I kind of put a bulls-eye on me,” Jenkins said Monday. “I thought about that every time I worked out, that I had to pick up where I left off. I had to start where I finished, so I started with a high motor. And now I’m trying to keep that going, along with knowing my assignments.”
Jenkins’s assignments have been varied thus far during this season’s training camp. He has spent time at defensive end on both sides of the line, as well as at nose tackle in the team’s nickel package. Jenkins said he has no preference, so long as he’s allowed to rush the opposing passer.
Jenkins was cautious at first not to re-engage too vigorously into the on-field action, but his patience only lasted so long. After spending last fall at Redskins Park, gleaning dos and don’ts from the critiques defensive linemen Adam Carriker, Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen received each week from the coaching staff, Jenkins was eager to reap the payoff of his studiousness.
“It was slow at first, but I got used to it, got back to that game speed,” Jenkins said. “It only took one practice. Now I know more before the snap, and I know my tendencies, and I’m just ready to get out there and play hard.”
Jenkins, who still wears a small brace, said he’s excited for the resumption of the opportunity he lost a year ago and that he’s more confident as a result of the experienced he gained even while sitting on the sidelines. But that kind of experience doesn’t amount to enough for him to consider himself any sort of veteran.
“Most definitely I’m a rookie,” Jenkins said. “I gotta make it to a regular season. But I’m an old rookie. You could say that.”