The Washington Redskins suffered a big blow to their defense when rookie defensive end Jarvis Jenkins tore his ACL last Thursday. And the defense has yet to have starting strong safety LaRon Landry on the field this preseason. But defensive coordinator Jim Haslett remains optimistic that his unit will be improved this season, largely because of its improved depth.
Although Jenkins is lost for the season, Haslett believes he will be able to count on Kedric Golston, and is evaluating Darrion Scott and Doug Worthington as backups to Adam Carriker at left defensive end.
“I feel good about the group that we have,” Haslett said Tuesday. “. . . Jarvis is going to be a good football player in time. It’s a shame it happened to him this early, but I feel good about what we’ve got. Kedric has played a lot and started for us last year, Darrion Scott, Doug Worthington. . . It’s a shame to lose Jarvis, but these guys will step up and play well.”
Golston started 13 games at right end last season, recording 35 tackles. Scott appeared in two games for Washington last season and has six tackles this preseason. Worthington didn’t play a game for Tampa Bay as a rookie last season but has four tackles this preseason.
Haslett said that although Barry Cofield will anchor the line at nose tackle, he too could be used at end in some situations. Cofield and right end Stephen Bowen at times last week lined up as the only two down linemen in the team’s nickel package.
Landry remains hopeful that he can play in the season opener against the New York Giants. But if his strained right hamstring remains problematic, Haslett said he has options.
“That’s why Reed’s here,” Haslett said referring to sixth-year veteran Reed Doughty, whom the team re-signed this summer. “That’s why Chris [Horton] is here, and we drafted DeJon [Gomes]. It’s a good combination. As a coach, you’ve got to work with the guys that you have and we’ll try to put them in the position to be successful.”
Doughty started nine games last season, splitting time between strong safety and free safety. He recorded a career-high 93 tackles and a sack and forced a fumble.