Redskins hold their breath on Jarvis Jenkins’ knee injury

BALTIMORE — On a changing defense that is relying on younger players, Washington Redskins rookie defensive end Jarvis Jenkins has been a bright spot this preseason. Now the Redskins are just hoping he can continue to show those flashes of greatness — and that an injury Thursday night doesn’t derail his season.

Jenkins left the 34-31 preseason loss to the Ravens less than four minutes in with what the team is calling a sprained right knee. He didn’t return, and teammates were shaking their heads and worrying about Jenkins afterward.

“It didn’t look good. We’re all pulling for him, but we just don’t know,” nose tackle Barry Cofield said. “It didn’t look good; it didn’t sound good. We’re hoping for the best.”

Jenkins told the Washington Examiner that he heard a “pop” and that he was “real worried because [he] had never experienced anything like that.”

Coach Mike Shanahan said Jenkins will undergo an MRI on Friday. Players did not know the extent of the injury, but they certainly didn’t sound hopeful.

“It’s hard, especially for a young guy that was making a lot of plays, really stepping up his game, learning to be a real integral part of this defense,” Lorenzo Alexander said. “Hopefully it’s not too severe. I don’t know what he did, but anytime you have a knee injury, it’s scary. You just hope for the best and a fast recovery.”

Jenkins expressed optimism to the Examiner about walking off the field, noting that it “shouldn’t be too bad.” But the 23-year-old out of Clemson needed help to get off and didn’t put pressure on his right leg.

Williams lights up Lewis

Tim Hightower’s 37-yard touchdown run in the first quarter was further evidence of the running back’s speed and agility — but he got some excellent blocking on the play, too. Terrence Austin laughed while taking some credit for springing Hightower, but it was Trent Williams knocking Ray Lewis off his path that drew the attention.

“Yeah I got one up on old Ray,” Williams said with a big grin. “Hightower kept telling us, ‘Keep going hard,’ he was going to find the holes. And he did, and he took it to the house.”

Lewis has been to 12 Pro Bowls and is heading to the Hall of Fame — so it’s no secret that Williams was happy to make such an impressive play.

“That’s something you can go tell your kids — I got one on Ray Lewis,” he said. “He’s a great player, and you know you’re a great player when guys get happy to get one up on you.”

Running into the kicker

One of the Ravens’ touchdown drives continued only because of a 5-yard running into the kicker penalty on Alexander. But replays indicated Alexander was pushed into punter Sam Koch.

Alexander admitted as much later, but took plenty of blame anyway.

“When you play hard, you still got to play smart,” he said. “On mine I try to go to block a kick, I was trying to pull off, a guy just came down on me, and there’s just nothing you can do at that point. A smarter move, I probably would’ve just pulled off early.”

Austin shines

Receiver Terrence Austin turned 23 on Thursday and celebrated by catching a 13-yard touchdown pass from John Beck.

“I was excited to get out there. I just wanted the ball. I got out there in the first half and I was just itching to get a pass. I kept getting the run plays and I was glad I was able to spring Tim on his touchdown,” Austin said. “I made a good play there, but I was just ready to get the ball.”

He got it with the touchdown late in the third quarter. Austin finished with five catches for 71 yards — perhaps a good enough showing to make the Redskins amid tough competition.

“I hope it does. My main thing was I was just trying to be consistent this whole preseason,” Austin said. “That was one of my main goals. I think I accomplished that today.”

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