Jenkins, drafted in the second round of the 2011, displayed great promise during last year’s training camp. But his season came to an abrupt halt when he tore his ACL in the third preseason game.
Jenkins was cleared to resume full football activity in April. He went through offseason practices and the last two weeks of training camp without any problems with his knee. But Jenkins still wasn’t yet back to 100 percent when it came to speed, coordination and football instincts, his coaches say.
“I thought that all throughout OTAs he struggled from the standpoint of staying on his feet,” Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said. “He was on the ground too much. I thought that at the start of camp he kind of started that way and then maybe last week he came out of it.”
Haslett said that Jenkins finally seems to have turned the corner, however.
“To me, the last three days he has looked like himself last year. He really sprung off the ball,” Haslett said. “He is pushing off his leg and he is athletic. When you miss a year it is hard but I think he has worked through that. He has worked hard in the weight room and he has worked hard on the field. The last three days have been outstanding.”
Defensive line coach Jacob Burney said that while Jenkins’s explosiveness is improving, the 6-foot-4, 325-pounder still is working for consistency in the area of technique. But even though Jenkins’s comeback remains incomplete, the coach has no doubt that Jenkins can make an impact.
“From a progress standpoint, I see what I need to see every day,” Burney says. “I see what I need to see to know he’s going to help us win a lot of games.”
Stephen Bowen and Adam Carriker return as starters at the right and left defensive end positions, respectively. But Jenkins will rotated in and out with each of them, and other times, he will spell nose tackle Barry Cofield in the nickel packages.
“There is no doubt he will be a guy that will play a lot,” Haslett says of Jenkins. “You can say, ‘Oh, he is not a starter’ or, ‘he is a starter.’ It doesn’t really make a difference. We have enough bodies that everybody is going to play. He will end up playing nickel. He will play base so I love the depth we have up front right now. He is a key.”
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