The Redskins drafted defensive end Jarvis Jenkins in the second round in 2011 and there were high expectations as soon as he reported to camp. But things started to go downhill for him after that.
A torn ACL cost him his entire rookie season. He started 14 games in 2012 but he made very little impact. Then 2013 started off with a four-game PED-related suspension and he never really gained traction.
Jenkins is in the fourth and final year of his rookie contract and it’s time for him to make a statement. And he knows it.
“I’ve got to come in and be the guy that they drafted me to be, trust my technique, get the little things down,” he said.
One of the areas he needs to improve is his ability to get to the quarterback. Pass pressure has been a focus for the defense this year and it’s been a particular area of weakness for Jenkins during his career. He has just two sacks (one solo, two halves) in 28 career games.
Jenkins said that he has been working with Jason Hatcher, the Redskins’ free agent acquisition at defensive end who had 10.5 sacks for Dallas last year, to improve his pass rush techniques. He added that Brian Baker, who has taken time to teach rushing techniques to the defensive line, has also helped him out.
Jay Gruden likes a lot of what he has seen out of Jenkins but he needs Jenkins to be more consistent.
“Jarvis has done well,” said Gruden. “He’s had his days where he’s really done well, he’s excited us and he’s had his days where he looked like he was a little lethargic or maybe out of shape like I mentioned when New England came into town. I challenged him a little bit on that and he’s really taken it personally and in the last four or five practices he’s done extremely well.
“He had a little bit of a shoulder but he’s OK and he’s battling through that. He’s one of those guys that we have to get a lot of production from – not only stopping the run but also in the pass rush part of it. He’s got the ability to do it, we just have got to try to consistently get him rolling and so far he’s on the right track, I think. We’re excited about what he can do as far as rushing the passer.”
There has been excitement about Jenkins before and he hasn’t lived up to it. With his contract up at the end of the year, this could be his last chance to come through.