Jarvis Jenkins is back, just about anyway. The defensive ends rehabfollowing last Septembers right ACL surgery is in the past. Hismuch-anticipated deployment in the Redskins 3-4 defense for the first timeduring a regular season game is in the future. Getting his 6-foot-4, 309 lb body into game shape, staying energized andfootball-smart on consecutive plays. Those are the issues at hand for thesecond-year player during the ongoing spring practices. Worrying about living up to outside expectations or trying to make up forlost time on every single snap with chaotic effort are not.Im not going to be a one-man show, Im not going to be out trying to provethat Im the player everybody expects me to be, the Redskins 2011 second-roundpick said. Im not going to try and make plays that are not there for me tomake. Im going to try and make plays through the discipline of our defense.Disciplined is also a way to describe how Jenkins approached hispost-surgery work and fought through initial pangs of anxiety following hisfirst real injury.I was so anxious about being out 6-8 months, Im not going to be able toplay football, Jenkins said. I got out of that (mindset) quick because if youget depressed on yourself it will be even longer process to get back. So, Ijust blocked that out, did my rehab and got back.The work continues for Jenkins, who participated in individual and teamdrills on Thursday during the one OTA session media members could monitor thispast week. The Redskins training staff monitors and helps maintain strength inthe surgically repaired knee while the coaches put Jenkins and the otherplayers through the paces on the practice field. As he walked and talked with reporters after Thursdays practice, sweatpoured off the 24-year-olds head like Patrick Ewing in the fourth quarter ofan NBA playoff game.Weve been working the heck out of Jarvis to see if hes in footballshape, Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said. Hes got a little brace on hisknee, but hes been taking all the reps and doing extremely well so hopefullytheres no setback. Projected as a defensive end starter opposite Stephen Bowen, Jenkins statedconfidence wearing the knee brace. As for the mental and instinctive aspects,the former Clemson star admits, "when youre out of football for eightmonths, not really on the field playing, its going to take a little timegetting back into it."Overall, Jenkins declared, Im back to my old explosive self. With his pass-rushing skills joining aunit that alreadyboasts several quality options, the defensive line may be the deepest position on the roster. I think hes looking pretty good. Hes getting comfortable again, Adam Carrikersaid of his fellow defensive end. We got a lot of guys that can play. Thereare guys who wont be here during the season who could be here and on mostteams. I was looking around the room today; weve got 10 guys that can play.At this point, thats all Jenkins wants, to play in the regular season.Considering he has yet to play single snap when the games truly count, he wontquibble with those who refer to this upcoming campaign as another rookieseason.I played in three preseason games, but you know, thats not enough,Jenkins said. I didnt get the gristle of the actual NFL season. Preseason,theyre just seeing how guys react, bringing in other guys to see how they playin a game situations. When youre in season, thats when it really counts and Ihavent really experienced that yet."At this recovery pace, it sounds like he will soon enough.
Here is what you need to know on this Monday, January 22, 51 days before NFL free agency starts.
—NFL franchise tag deadline (3/6) 43
—NFL Draft (4/26) 94
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 230
Quarterbacks win championships and other lessons the Redskins can learn
Quarterback matters: We had the setup of the three castaway and ridiculed quarterbacks leading their teams into the NFL’s final four. But the two who survived were one of the greatest of all time and one who found his groove and had 10.7 yards per attempt and a 141.4 passer rating. Yes, Tom Brady and Nick Foles had a lot of help and we’ll get into that in a minute. But without excellent play from their quarterbacks, it may have been a different story for the Eagles and Patriots. This doesn’t mean that the Redskins need to spend send truckloads of money to Kirk Cousins’ house, but if they don’t, they do need a quality alternative. You won’t win with Bortles-level play.
Defense matters: The Vikings rolled right down the field on their first possession and it looked like the Eagles defense was going to have a long night. But then Chris Long got pressure on Case Keenum leading a pick six that apparently energized the Philly defense. Rookie Derek Barnett knocked the ball out of Keenum’s hand when the Vikings were threatening to make a game of it. Minnesota came up empty in its last eight possessions. As the Eagles offense started to build a lead, their defense played faster and more aggressively. At this point, the Redskins don’t have the personnel or the mindset to play that way on defense.
Does running really matter? It’s a small sample size here but in the two games yesterday it did not. The Patriots ran for all of 46 yards. The Eagles got 110 but at the point in the third quarter where they took a 31-7 lead, they had 202 yards passing and 40 yards rushing. Running the ball was not decisive in either game. Offensively, the games were won in the air. Jay Gruden’s “pass happy” approach can be a winning approach.
Stay aggressive: At times during the year, Cousins expressed some frustration in the Redskins’ inability or perhaps unwillingness to keep the pedal mashed to the floor when they had a lead. I hit on the Eagles’ aggressiveness on defense, but their offense didn’t slow down either. They were up 21-7 when they got the ball on their own 20 with 29 seconds left in the first half. In that situations, the Redskins—and, in fact, most other teams—would run a draw, throw a short pass, and let the clock run out. But Doug Pederson was having none of that. Passes for 11, 36, and 13 yards got them down to the Vikings 20 and they kicked a field goal to close out the half. If the game wasn’t over then it was early in the third quarter when Pederson called a flea flicker and Foles hit Torrey Smith for 42 yards and a touchdown.
Tandler on Twitter
I had to leave early in the fourth quarter. Just saw this, how much did the Jaguars win by? https://t.co/5GSJaCeV5R— Rich Tandler (@TandlerNBCS) January 22, 2018
In case you missed it
- A random walk through the Redskins past for edition NTK No. 2000
- The Redskins week that was-Cousins' value, the Redskins' top draft pick
- The truth behind Zach Brown's mysterious tweet about respect
For Redskins fans, it's probably a tough pill to swallow that the Eagles are in the Super Bowl. Making matters worse, Philadelphia got to the championship game without their star quarterback Carson Wentz.
Beyond the feelings that fandom incites, which are real and severe, what does the Eagles' breakthrough season mean for Washington? Let's take a look.
Perhaps the most incredible part of the Eagles' success is that wunderkind QB Wentz is not at the helm. The second-year player was an MVP candidate all season but got injured late in the year. Nick Foles, the Philly backup, took over and played well in both Eagles' playoff wins.
Does that mean much, if anything, for the Redskins?
Some will argue it means Washington should not look to invest top dollar in QB Kirk Cousins. Foles is not considered a top-flight quarterback and still was able to maneuver his squad to the Super Bowl.
Whether or not that argument makes sense, Redskins fans should prepare to hear a lot of it over the next two weeks.
There is also a theory that the Redskins should eschew spending at QB in favor of spending on defense.
That may very well be the right move, but don't look to the Eagles to support the theory.
Philadelphia spent $47 million on the defensive side of the ball in 2017. On offense, they spent $56 million.
What is definitely true?
The Eagles played terrific football in the postseason, and catapulted through the NFC by playing the underdog role.
Redskins fans might hate it, but the Eagles absolutely earned their Super Bowl appearance.
That doesn't mean Redskins fans have to like it.
Philadelphia has never won a Super Bowl.
Now, standing in the way of their first Lombardi Trophy: Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
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