By Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler
20 questions in 20 days
As we count down to the first game of the Redskins’ season, Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler are going to be looking at some of the big questions facing the team and attempting to look into their crystal balls and answer them.
Question 7: Can Jarvis Jenkins be a force on defense this year?
The background: A year ago, defensive lineman Jenkins was the talk of training camp. The second-round draft pick was showing signs of becoming a force on the defensive line when he suffered a torn ACL during a preseason game. He stayed at Redskins Park to rehab and attended all of the team and position meetings. Although he has been pronounced fit and ready to go, his play has not been noteworthy in practice or in any of the preseason games. Jenkins posted just two tackles and a sack in August.
Tandler: There is no reason to believe that Jenkins’ knee is not fully healthy, or at least very close to it. The injury occurred over a year ago and there were no reported complications in the surgery or in the rehab. He has been wearing a brace during practice to make sure that the knee is stable. But physical rehab is one thing; often the toughest part of overcoming an injury can be mental, trusting that the body has truly healed. Jenkins may not have cleared those mental hurdles yet but he should at some point during the season. It says here that Jenkins will start off the season slowly but as he gets more confident that his knee is sound he will start getting pressure on the quarterback and disrupting the running game.
El-Bashir: Jenkins did not stand out in training camp or the preseason the way he did a year ago. The numbers, as Rich pointed out, do not lie. Three weeks ago, defensive coordinator Jim Haslett indicated that Jenkins has occasionally struggled with his balance and agility and just has begun to push off at full strength. Returning from a serious knee injury takes additional time for some, and that could be the case for Jenkins. But if he’s able to get healthy, the 24-year-old figures to bolster a defensive front that’s on the rise. Haslett intends to rotate his linemen more in an effort to keep them all fresh, and Jenkins can spell left end Adam Carriker, right end Stephen Bowen and nose tackle Barry Cofield in nickel packages.
20 questions in 20 days
Jammal Brown play this year?
#19 Aug.21—Will Chris Cooley make the team?
#18 Aug. 22—Can Brandon Meriweather get he job done at safety?
#17 Aug. 23—Is Garçon a No. 1 receiver?
#16 Aug. 24—Can Trent Williams go from good to great?
#15 Aug. 25—Can DeAngelo Hall be a defensive playmaker?
#14 Aug. 26—Can Santana Moss regain his old form?
#13 Aug. 27—Can Orakpo post 15 sacks?
#12 Aug. 28—Will Leonard Hankerson break out?
#11 Aug. 29—Can the Redskins flip their turnover ratio?
#10 Aug. 30—How much can Hightower contribute this year?
#9 Aug. 31—Was making Billy Cundiff the kicker a good move?
#8 Yesterday—Will Josh Morgan be worth the investment?
#7 Today—What can Jarvis Jenkins contribute?
#6 Tomorrow—Is the offensive line depth good enough?
#5 Tuesday—Will a running back by committee work?