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.
Shanahan and several players are optimistic that the team’s improved defensive line depth will reduce the impact of Jenkins’ absence.
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.
HIGHTOWER IN A RUNAWAY
Tim Hightower has all but locked up the Redskins’ starting running back position with one preseason game remaining.
“I’m not going to say he’s our starter, but if you were betting in Vegas, you’d probably bet in that direction,” Mike Shanahan said.
Ryan Torain entered camp at the top of the depth chart, but Hightower has run away with the job while Torain has nursed his broken left hand. Hightower has averaged 6.8 yards on 25 carries and scored two touchdowns in three games.
The Redskins acquired him in a trade with the Arizona Cardinals on July 31. Washington gave up defensive lineman Vonnie Holliday and a late-round 2012 draft pick, a bargain price if Hightower sustains this level of production.
Torain is expected to make his preseason debut on Thursday against Tampa Bay. Rookie sixth-round pick Evan Royster is also expected to play a significant amount, Shanahan said.
Return specialist Brandon Banks (left knee) is expected to practice on Sunday after sitting out Saturday.
“Hopefully when he tests that knee it doesn’t swell up again,” Shanahan said. “He looks like he’s a go for this game against Tampa.” …
Strong safety LaRon Landry (hamstring) did not practice, and his status remains day-to-day. Shanahan hopes he can play against Tampa Bay, but he said playing that game isn’t a requirement for Landry playing Week 1 against the Giants. …
Receiver Malcolm Kelly (right foot) did not practice. Rookie left guard Maurice Hurt (sore knee) sat out practice. He is expected to return Monday. Linebacker Edgar Jones (concussion) is expected to return to practice Sunday or Monday. …
Defensive end Adam Carriker (severe blisters), linebacker London Fletcher (hamstring) and cornerback Josh Wilson (hamstring) practiced. …
Free safety Kareem Moore (right knee) seems destined to remain on the physically-unable-to-perform list through the start of the season, meaning he would be ineligible to play the first six games.
“Until he’s close to 100 percent, I don’t want to put him in that situation or else I think we’ll go back to what happened last year,” Shanahan said.
aMoore injured his knee during the 2010 preseason, had surgery and never was fully healthy. He had to have a second surgery during the offseason.
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