RICHMOND — Redskins coach Jay Gruden said he and his assistants deemed second-year linebacker Brandon Jenkins expendable after the former fifth-round pick continued to struggle while the players behind him on the depth chart exhibited steady progress.
Jenkins, who played in only five games last season because of poor performances in practice and an inability to contribute on special teams, already found himself on thin ice. Washington selected another outside linebacker, Trent Murphy, in the second round of this year’s draft and have frequently paired him with starters Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan during practices. Sixth-year veteran Rob Jackson appeared to have an edge on Jenkins as the second-team tandem routinely features Jackson on the left side and Murphy on the right.
Meanwhile, roster hopefuls Adrian Robinson and Gabe Miller rotated with Jenkins on the third team. But both Robinson – who has spent the last two seasons trying to find a home in the NFL after stints in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Denver and San Diego – and Miller, second-year player, who this offseason switched from tight end to linebacker, have displayed greater promise than Jenkins. So, the Redskins decided to cut ties.
“We decided to make a move with Brandon and move forward with our football team,” Gruden said. “We like the play of the guys that were behind him. They’ve stepped up their play – Adrian Robinson, Gabe Miller has had some good snaps. Obviously, the drafting of Trent Murphy has a major impact and we thought the earlier we get, we make that move to give Brandon a chance somewhere else would be beneficial to him.”
Robinson had probably his best practice on Sunday as he did well in individual drills, drawing the praise of outside linebacker coach Brian Baker. Robinson also did well in one-on-one drills, getting the best of both backup tackles Morgan Moses and Tom Compton.
Although relatively undersized at 6-1, 250 pounds (Murphy is 6-5, 258, Kerrigan 6-4, 260 and Orakpo 6-4, 257. Meanwhile, opponents like Moses are 6-6, 318 and Compton 6-5, 308), Robinson has done a good job of taking good angles, using his hands and getting good leverage in pass-rushing situations.
“To be shorter is a blessing,” he said after practice. “It means I’ve got more leverage than other guys, and lots of times, it means I’ve got more quickness than other guys.”
Robinson knows that the real key to making the roster is strong special teams play, however.
“Honestly, I know if I want to make this team, it’s all special teams,” he said. “Of course, being good on defense and knowing what I have to do. But my coach told me, if you want to make this team, you have to be good on special teams in addition to being a pass-rusher. … I’ve always played special teams since I got in, and until that time when I get a clear, clear sign on defense, I’m willing to do whatever I have to.”
Washington practices on Monday at 8:35 a.m. in Richmond. Here’s our camp guide.
Also from The Post: