Last summer, Washington Redskins defensive lineman Jarvis Jenkins, a second-round pick in 2011, was showing signs that he would be an impact player before his season was ended in the third preseason game with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Healthy and fully cleared to resume his career, the 6-foot-4, 309-pound Jenkins is working to get back to where he was nine months ago.
"When you're out of football for eight months -- not really on the field playing -- it's going to take a little bit of time to get back into it," Jenkins told Mike Jones of The Washington Post. "I'm focusing on getting more in football shape, playing plays back-to-back and learning not to make mistakes when I'm tired... Honestly, it's like having another rookie season. I played three [preseason] games, but that's not enough. I didn't get the gristle of the full NFL season."
The Redskins defense allowed an average of 117.8 rushing yards per game last season, including more than 140 rushing yards per game during a six-game losing streak in the middle of the season. The Redskins defense was on the field for an average of 35 minutes per game during that stretch; having Jenkins' size, strength and ability to eat up blockers might have made a difference. Jenkins' teammates, particularly those at the linebacker position, welcome his return.
"He's a big kid, athletic, can make plays for us and rushes the passer," inside linebacker and team captain London Fletcher told Jones. "He worked hard. He rehabbed hard... For us, having him now as part of the D-line rotation is only a strength for us. It's like adding another draft pick this year."