Redskins: Jenkins learning the line

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Sports,NFL,Redskins,John Keim
Second-round pick working on technique

ASHBURN - The play revealed his potential and also his inexperience. Jarvis Jenkins shoved the Indianapolis center back, disrupting a play and drawing a holding penalty. Yet, he knows he could have done more.

This is what the tape, and the coaches, let him know: Just imagine what would have happened had he used better technique. The coaches want him playing with bent knees. On this first-quarter play, which resulted in a Ryan Kerrigan sack, Jenkins' knees were almost straight.

"My coach was emphasizing, 'If you have bent knees and put power behind your legs, think how much you'll push them back,'" Jenkins recalled defensive line coach Jacob Burney telling him. "He said I would have pushed him back two or three seconds faster and knocked him into the quarterback. It's just something I have to work on a little more."

- John Keim

Notes
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Strong safety LaRon Landry said he still hopes to play in the season opener. But he admitted that he's not really sure when he'll be able to start practicing again thanks to his injured right hamstring. Landry said he was ready to return this week after missing the previous three weeks of camp because of his Achilles. "I'm a little upset," Landry said. "It happens. Better it happens now than going into the season. My Achilles is fine, I was ready to go. I couldn't wait. Now I've just got to wait and see what happens." Landry injured his hamstring running sprints before the Indianapolis game Friday. The injury occurred on the last sprint he was scheduled to run.
» Coach Mike Shanahan said he's still not sure if Adam Carriker will be able to play Thursday because of blisters on his feet. Shanahan also said he's not sure how he'll split the carries at running back after starter Tim Hightower. Evan Royster, a sixth-round pick and Westfield alum, did not play vs. the Colts.
Position Review: Wide receiver
Santana Moss
A younger Moss was all about speed. He eventually found out he needed more, using the advice of former New York Jets teammate Wayne Chrebet. That's one reason Moss remains a good player in his 11th season. "He would tell me, you're fast but don't always show it," Moss said. "Use it when you need it. As you get older and wiser, you know how to use whatever you have. Everybody now is fast and quick, now you have to use something else." Moss said that means focusing more on his footwork and running good routes. "The speed comes natural," Moss said. "All the other stuff I work on so I can be more lethal."
Donte Stallworth
Stallworth has had a solid camp, though it remains uncertain if it will be enough to earn a roster spot. In two preseason games, he's caught four passes for 69 yards. "There are other things I can do," Stallworth said. "Not saying I haven't had the opportunity ... but I like to catch the short passes and run, that's what I like to do. I've had plenty of opportunities to go down the field and do different things and read coverages."
Terrence Austin
Though Austin is listed at 5-foot-11, he's most likely a couple inches shorter. He's also not a burner. But his quick feet have provided him a chance to earn a roster spot. He's caught five passes for 69 yards and has shown sure hands in practice. "Size is important on this level because strength is important," Austin said. "But it's also tough for someone to put their hands on you if you're quick and fast."

One play he might bend his knees. The next he might not.

"Jarvis has to be more consistent. He has to do it play in and play out all the time," Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said. "He's powerful and he can run and he's smart. Once in a while, like every other young guy, he'll have a lapse for a couple plays, but then he gets back up on it."

But while learning, Jenkins was still able to make a play. And that's what has the Redskins excited about what the second-round pick from Clemson can accomplish. At worst he'll be their third defensive end, but that means he'll still play quite a bit.

"Jarvis has come a long way," Redskins nose tackle Barry Cofield said. "The best thing about him is his attitude. He takes a lot of criticism from the coaches, but he always has a smile on his face."

However, Jenkins also knows he has a lot to learn. The Redskins have used him at right end, nose tackle and left end, and each spot requires different techniques. When he's over the center, for example, he must align himself right across from him. At end, he positions himself outside the shoulder of the tackle. It's a little thing, but Jenkins must pay strict attention to how he lines up. Then, he also has to remember the proper steps to take at each spot.

He's spent most of the past two weeks at left end or as a nose tackle in the nickel package. But Jenkins must stay current with right end. So he'll keep notes on the other positions.

"If they throw you in there, you have to think quick," he said. "It has to be the first thing in your mind."

Part of his education is found in plays like this one: On the second play of the Colts game, Jenkins, lined up at left end, was upright as he engaged the tackle. That might not have been an issue had the guard not blocked him as well and then moved him out. After watching the film, Jenkins said he knows how to play it better: take a step upfield, that way if the guard blocks, he must do it going backwards.

And he's learning another lesson: if his hands aren't inside the blocker, he'll lose.

"In college I could push guys back," Jenkins said. "If I don't get my hands inside, I won't win. These guys have grip, and they're just as strong as me."

jkeim@washingtonexaminer.com

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John Keim

Staff Reporter - Washington Redskins
The Washington Examiner