(A compliment to Jansen but basically an admission that Heyer is still the guy.)
Question No. 2: “Is some of the balance in the running game attributed to [Jansen] that wasn’t there the first couple weeks?”
Zorn: “I don’t think it’s one guy and I know Jon wouldn’t say that either. It’s a combination of the whole group. It really starts with Casey Rabach. It truly starts with him. He has to get us going in the right direction and have the no-nonsense attitude. And then Randy Thomas and Pete [Kendall] next to him … I’ll tell you who had a great football game - Chris Samuels. He had a great, great game. He put some people on his back and played like an All Pro.”
(Yikes. The Redskins didn’t bother running to the right side in Weeks 1-3. Now they’re excelling on left and right stretch plays but Zorn distances himself from that topic by praising Rabach and Samuels.)
Question No. 3: “With Jansen, is he doing things the last two games that he wasn’t doing in the preseason, which forced your hand to go with Heyer?”
Zorn: (Pause) “Not really. He wants it bad. But I think he wanted it bad before. He wasn’t being punished. We felt like Stephon Heyer was the guy that could give us more solid protection in the passing game and I still think that.”
(Uh-oh for Jansen. Zorn’s preference from the right tackle spot is obviously pass protection first, run blocking second.)
“It would be tough [to go back to the bench],” Jansen said. “I’m very happy I got the opportunity to play against very good defenses and good players and I wasn’t going out against marginal players. I went against very good defenses. It shows on the field, it shows on the film and it shows on the stats.”
Examining the last two games shows that Jansen has held his own in protection.
Dallas’ Greg Ellis pushed Jansen back with a power rush early in the game but that was his only noticeable win against Jansen.
Philadelphia’s Juqua Thomas had occasional success with bull rushes that got Jansen on his heels, but unlike in the preseason, he remained on his feet. Unofficially, Jansen allowed one quarterback pressure.
“Jon fitting right back in is a great fit for us,” Rabach said. “The only question Coach Z had was his pass protection ability and he’s proven over the last two weeks he’s healthy and can get it done and is playing at a high level.”
Jansen was stunned last month when he lost his starting position, a job he held since coming to the Redskins in 1999. Now nothing will surprise him.
“That’s up for the coaches to make that decision,” he said. “I’m going to take every opportunity to prove that I should be the guy.”