Dexter Manley, Dave Butz and Joe Jacoby were massive men who helped the Washington Redskins win their first two Super Bowls, and Jacoby stuck around for the third. It was like the team found a secret land of giant playmakers.
Now their successor finally has emerged.
Defensive end Jarvis Jenkins appears much bigger than his listed 6-foot-4, 309 pounds. Standing alone on the line between snaps, Jenkins is so imposing that the other linemen seem redundant when they arrive.
The former Clemson star is bracing for a breakout season -- and not just because he's wearing a bulky black knee brace that is heavier than some armor. After a torn ACL in the 2011 preseason cost the 41st overall selection his rookie season, opposing offensive linemen should be ready for Jenkins to unleash a year's worth of frustration.
"I got a chance to get a little stronger, so it will be better this time around," he said. "My father taught me adversity makes a person great. That's all I think about."
Jenkins is now a second-time rookie of sorts. He knows the mental aspects better, but it's still a physical game on the line. Jenkins was the camp standout last year. More is expected this time.
"Everything is going fast paced like I was a rookie again, but this time I know my place," he said. "It's the little details. I work to be perfect.
"I think a lot more before the snap. Last year I didn't know what tendencies offensive linemen have, how his feet are set. I've picked that up a little more. I have to think like a veteran even though it's [just] my second year."
The Redskins relish the return of Jenkins, who may be their best lineman come season's end.
"You find somebody [that size] that can move and play as well as he did during preseason last year, you're looking for him to really help turn your defense around," coach Mike Shanahan said. "We have more depth there, a lot more guys that fit into our scheme."
Linebacker London Fletcher will benefit if Jenkins can prevent opponents from reaching the back seven unhindered.
"I think if you can remember how he was playing last year in the preseason and training camp, he was making a lot of plays for us," Fletcher said. "He has a lot of talent. I know coming off the ACL there will be a little adjustment for him. If we can get him back up to speed close to where he was prior to the injury, that's going to be huge for us because now you have another guy in our defensive front rotation. There shouldn't be a drop-off when he comes into the game."
Drop-off? More like a road block. The Redskins have quietly found their most physically imposing defensive lineman since their Super Bowl days two decades ago.