The Sports Daily > Redskins Hog Heaven
Redskins DE Jarvis Jenkins’ big step to pass rush paradise

Redskins DE Jarvis Jenkins
Redskins DE Jarvis Jenkins experienced has rookie experience in 2012 after losing the entire 2011 season to an ACL tear in a preseason game. So, we should expect a big step up from Jarvis in 2013.

Hog Heaven expects that new players, rookie or veteran, will begin to be effective the year after they join the team. Jenkins was the Redskins' 2011 second-round draftee (41st overall) who arrived with all the fanfare we now give David Amerson (Second Round 2013 Draft, 51st overall). He sent the hype meter off the scale with his training cap dominance. Then the Ravens kneecapped him (said purely as a figure of speech).

John Keim wrote of Jenkins' in his weekly newsletter describing his training to get better. Jenkins spent the offseason in Florida training against Maurkice and Mike Pouncey. Keim described Jenkins approach to improvement.

"Jenkins worked on taking a bigger step off the snap. ' A big part of the defensive line is getting up field with that first step, ' he said. 'You can’t stutter at the line. That’s an advantage for the offensive player.'  

It’s evident from watching last year’s games, the Seattle game for example, that Jenkins did not have an explosive first step, especially compared to teammate Stephen Bowen. In the few times he rushed in the nickel package vs. Seattle, Jenkins did not get up field fast. On a Bowen sack, by his second step, he was across the line of scrimmage and into the backfield. On a Jenkins rush later in the game, it took him three steps to reach that point. Of course, on the Jenkins rush, it was from the base defense, and the linemen have different responsibilities — covering two gaps — than when aligned in the nickel. But again later in the game, Jenkins definitely stutter-steps on a rush and needs about four steps to cross the line. [The result is] No pressure.

“'Just taking a big step, getting that foot cocked back and taking a huge step and getting in the backfield in one full step,” Jenkins said. “It’s an advantage, instead of stutter feet and sitting at the line. I’ve seen myself doing that last year and other players like Stephen Bowen, they were already up field. I’m still stuck on the line.'”

If you were not on Keim's email list, you would not have seen this post. I'm comfortable using a portion of it to describe the efforts of a player we have high hopes for, especially for stepping up from his "rookie" to his first year.

There is more to improving pass coverage than by drafting defensive backs. You need a pass rush. Carlos Rogers didn't discover his hands when he arrived in San Francisco. He discovered a better pass rush than he had in Washington. Darrelle Revis was a shutdown corner because the Jets were a fearsome defense most of his time there. Don't expect that performance in Tampa Bay. Revis has the same talent, but not the same pass rush.

Keim's story is of interest because he shares Jenkins' specific approach to improvement (and it taught me a little more about pass rushing techniques). But it is important because of the health of Washington's front seven. I don't have a confident feeling about Adam Carriker's return. Brian Orakpo says he is 100 percent healthy. Is he 100 percent durable?

We need to see the new, improved, fully healthy Jarvis Jenkins on the field this year.

Redskins fans are fortunate that the team is covered by a corps of very professional sportswriters. The Post has provided excellent coverage since the Shirley Povich days. John Keim has been doing outstanding work at The Washington Examiner's Redskins Confidential column.

Keim will be joining The Post on July 1 and I gather something will happen to The Examiner around the same time (I'm not sure what). Keim's email like likely won't travel to the WaPost with him, but his talent does. Like a good DB joining a team with a good pass rush, this move should be win-win-win for fans, for Keim and for The Washington Post.