While Jarvis Jenkins lay on the M&T Bank Stadium turf clutching his right knee Thursday night, Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan’s heart sank when he watched the replay on the videoboard. He saw how Jenkins‘ knee buckled and knew it was serious.
“You have a hard time even focusing on the game when something like that occurs so early in the game,” Shanahan said.
The Redskins on Saturday morning moved on without Jenkins, a second-round draft pick who suffered a season-ending torn ACL in his right knee. It’s a significant blow because Jenkins‘ combination of power and quickness made him an integral part of the defensive line rotation.
“Obviously, you cannot replace a player like that,” Shanahan said.
Kedric Golston, who started last season, re-signed with the team earlier this month. Darrion Scott and Doug Worthington also are expected to contribute.
“I think we still have a lot of good depth,” first-string defensive end Stephen Bowen said. “We have a lot of athletic defensive linemen with talent. All those guys have been playing real well. I’m sure everybody is going to step up to the plate.”
Worthington, in particular, has flashed potential during the preseason. The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted him in the seventh round last season, and he stayed on their practice squad for two days after final cuts before being released. He ended up on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ practice squad.
He believes he’s a better fit as an end in the Redskins‘ 3-4 than he is at tackle in Tampa Bay’s 4-3.
“I think that’s what I was built for: long arms, a taller guy,” said Worthington, who is 6-foot-5.
Long arms are beneficial for a Redskins defensive lineman because he’s required to move laterally after the snap while reading whether the play is a run or pass. Long arms help him keep his blocker at bay while he’s making the read.
If it’s a run, linemen are supposed to continue moving laterally toward the ball and keep blockers off the linebackers. If it’s a pass, linemen are asked to penetrate and pressure the quarterback.
“The run is something I’m passionate about, and I’m getting so much better when it comes to transitioning to the pass rush,” Worthington said.
Meanwhile, Jenkins did not attend Saturday’s practice.
“3rd rehab of the day…if my brothers out there working I’m gon work #nodaysoff,” he wrote on his Twitter account.