Jarvis Jenkins is back, just about anyway. The defensive ends rehabfollowing last Septembers right ACL surgery is in the past. Hismuch-anticipated deployment in the Redskins 3-4 defense for the first timeduring a regular season game is in the future. Getting his 6-foot-4, 309 lb body into game shape, staying energized andfootball-smart on consecutive plays. Those are the issues at hand for thesecond-year player during the ongoing spring practices. Worrying about living up to outside expectations or trying to make up forlost time on every single snap with chaotic effort are not.Im not going to be a one-man show, Im not going to be out trying to provethat Im the player everybody expects me to be, the Redskins 2011 second-roundpick said. Im not going to try and make plays that are not there for me tomake. Im going to try and make plays through the discipline of our defense.Disciplined is also a way to describe how Jenkins approached hispost-surgery work and fought through initial pangs of anxiety following hisfirst real injury.I was so anxious about being out 6-8 months, Im not going to be able toplay football, Jenkins said. I got out of that (mindset) quick because if youget depressed on yourself it will be even longer process to get back. So, Ijust blocked that out, did my rehab and got back.The work continues for Jenkins, who participated in individual and teamdrills on Thursday during the one OTA session media members could monitor thispast week. The Redskins training staff monitors and helps maintain strength inthe surgically repaired knee while the coaches put Jenkins and the otherplayers through the paces on the practice field. As he walked and talked with reporters after Thursdays practice, sweatpoured off the 24-year-olds head like Patrick Ewing in the fourth quarter ofan NBA playoff game.Weve been working the heck out of Jarvis to see if hes in footballshape, Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said. Hes got a little brace on hisknee, but hes been taking all the reps and doing extremely well so hopefullytheres no setback. Projected as a defensive end starter opposite Stephen Bowen, Jenkins statedconfidence wearing the knee brace. As for the mental and instinctive aspects,the former Clemson star admits, "when youre out of football for eightmonths, not really on the field playing, its going to take a little timegetting back into it."Overall, Jenkins declared, Im back to my old explosive self. With his pass-rushing skills joining aunit that alreadyboasts several quality options, the defensive line may be the deepest position on the roster. I think hes looking pretty good. Hes getting comfortable again, Adam Carrikersaid of his fellow defensive end. We got a lot of guys that can play. Thereare guys who wont be here during the season who could be here and on mostteams. I was looking around the room today; weve got 10 guys that can play.At this point, thats all Jenkins wants, to play in the regular season.Considering he has yet to play single snap when the games truly count, he wontquibble with those who refer to this upcoming campaign as another rookieseason.I played in three preseason games, but you know, thats not enough,Jenkins said. I didnt get the gristle of the actual NFL season. Preseason,theyre just seeing how guys react, bringing in other guys to see how they playin a game situations. When youre in season, thats when it really counts and Ihavent really experienced that yet."At this recovery pace, it sounds like he will soon enough.
Over the next week, Redskins Insider Tarik El-Bashir is featuring each of the Redskins’ 2016 draft picks and spotlighting three things you need to know about them. Up today…
Name: Su’a Cravens
Drafted: Second round (53rd overall)
1—Since declaring for the draft in December, Cravens has been asked, oh, about a thousand times which position he'll play in the NFL. Well, five months later, his role is still probably best described as TBD, according to Redskins GM Scot McCloughan. “The thing that’s really cool about him is the diversity he brings—safety, linebacker, maybe a nickel linebacker, maybe a nickel corner,” McCloughan said Monday at Redskins Park. “We’re always talking about the first room he walks into. Is it the DB’s? Is it linebackers? But that’s a good problem to have, because again, he’s going to be out here making plays for us.” Although McCloughan isn’t ready to commit to a position for the 6-1, 226-pound Cravens just yet, the team has dropped a few hints as to their intentions. He’s listed on the team’s website as a safety and he’s been assigned jersey No. 36, which is typically reserved for defensive backs.
2—Cravens has football in his blood and seemed destined for athletic greatness from an early age. Not only was he Rivals.com’s No. 1 rated safety coming out of Vista Murrieta High (Calif.) and USA Today’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2012, his family tree features a number of accomplished football players. Cravens counts Miami tight end Jordan Cameron and San Diego linebacker Manti Te’o as cousins; he said both Cameron and Te’o reached out to him during the draft process to offer advice. Meantime, Cravens’ mother is related to former Bengals safety David Fulcher and his older brother, Siaki, was a defensive lineman at Hawaii and Utah. “Probably about a week before the draft, Troy Polamalu [a fellow USC product] reached out and texted me and said, ‘If you need to talk to me about anything, if you get flustered or frustrated, just call me if you need me,’” Cravens said at his introductory press conference. “So I’ve had a pretty good support system.” Pretty good? That’s an understatement.
3—Put on some USC film and one thing jumps out almost immediately: Cravens is ALWAYS around the football. In fact, the only thing more impressive than his instincts and athleticism are his stats. During his sophomore and junior seasons, Cravens totaled 154 tackles, including 32.5 for loss, to go along with 10.5 sacks, five interceptions and 15 pass breakups. Cravens believed his tape was good enough to make him a first round selection. And when that didn’t happen late last Thursday night, he immediately went to the gym to blow off some steam. “I looked at it as, I wasn’t good enough to go on the first day, so let me get into the gym tonight and let me prove that I’m good enough to go in the second day,” Cravens said. “I’m all about work. If I feel like I’m not working hard enough, I’ll get back to it.” If you're a Redskins fan, you've got to love that anecdote.
Now that the 2016 NFL Draft is in the rearview mirror, the Redskins are plodding away toward the start of training camp, and eventually, the beginning of the 2016 NFL season.
But before that can begin, the players who saw their lifes change for the better in Chicago, Illinois this weekend have to get fitted for new jersey numbers.
On Tuesday, the Redskins announced the jersey numbers each rookie and free agent signing will wear, along with the few players who have changed jersey numbers:
— No. 2, QB Nate Sudfeld (Rd6, No. 187)
— No. 18, WR Josh Doctson (Rd1, No. 22)
— No. 20, CB Greg Toler (FA)
— No. 24, CB Josh Norman (FA)
— No. 29, S Duke Ihenacho (Change from No. 24)
— No. 30, S David Bruton Jr. (FA)
— No. 34, DB Kyshoen Jarrett (Change from No. 30)
— No. 36, S Su'a Cravens (Rd2, No. 53)
— No. 38, CB Kendall Fuller (Rd3, No. 84)
— No. 39, RB Keith Marshall (Rd7, No. 242)
— No. 46, LB Willie Jefferson (FA)
— No. 52, LB Terence Garvin (FA)
— No. 53, LB Steven Daniels (Rd7, No. 232)
— No. 60, OL Cody Booth (FA)
— No. 63, NT Jerrell Powe (FA)
— No. 73, DL Ziggy Hood (FA)
— No. 83, TE Marcel Jansen (Change from No. 85)
— No. 85, TE Vernon Davis (FA)
— No. 97, DE Kendal Reyes (FA)
— No. 98, DT Matt Ioannidis (Rd5, No. 152)
When it comes to drafting running backs, Scot McCloughan prefers low-mileage models.
Last year, McCloughan took Matt Jones, who had 297 rushing attempts in three seasons at Florida, in the third round. This year the running back pick was Keith Marshall, a seventh-round pick who carried the ball 253 times in four years as a Georgia Bulldog.
In contrast, Heisman Trophy winning back Derrick Henry had 395 carries in 2015 alone.
Of course, Henry got the ball a lot because he was consistently productive for the Crimson Tide. Injuries kept Marshall from having a bigger role at Georgia and Jones couldn’t break out of a running back by committee arrangement with the Gators.
McCloughan sees the positive in each of his backs’ situations.
“The thing I like about it, and it was the thing with Matt Jones last year, is the amount of carries he’s had,” he said when asked about Marshall’s lack of college production. “He hasn’t been beat up. With running backs, it’s so important to have the health. The more hits you take, the worse off it is. Again, we’ll see how it shakes out.”
McCloughan may just be trying to put some lipstick on a pig here in talking about the Redskins’ still uncertain running back situation. But it’s a fact that heavy college workloads taken on by backs like Henry do drop their draft stocks. So it makes sense that all other things being equal a back who had a light workload prior to entering the draft should be somewhat more valuable.
As McCloughan said, we’ll see how it shakes out.