Offense tries to stay balanced, but not focused on stats
Although defensive end Jarvis Jenkins and linebacker Rob Jackson each returned from a four-game suspension last month, it took a little while for the Redskins’ defenders to regain their 2012 form.
After last week’s game in Denver, however, it’s safe to say they’re back up to speed.
Jenkins got his first start of the season and scored a big stop early. Jackson, meantime, recorded his first sack since Week 15 of last season and his first three tackles of 2013.
“It’s good to have them back,” Coach Mike Shanahan said.
Jenkins played 30 snaps against the Broncos, up from 16 against the Bears and only six in Dallas. His most notable play came in the second quarter, when he shed his block, tracked down Broncos' running back Knowshon Moreno and stopped him in the backfield.
“My first game back [in Dallas], I just got my feet wet,” Jenkins said. “It was still kind of slow for me. I knew the more I played, the more I would get into it. The Chicago game, I played even more snaps, but I still didn’t have that big play burst. But last game [in Denver], I felt it more. I made some big plays, a couple of tackles for loss.”
Jenkins conceded that the biggest hurdle when returning from suspension isn’t physical conditioning but rather mental sharpness.
“When I first got on the field—and even in the Chicago game—I reacting but I was second-guessing,” he said. “In Denver, it was, ‘Oh, this happened, let me go do this.’ I wasn’t thinking about it. I was just reacting.”
Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett added: “I thought Jarvis had an outstanding game last week. It was his best game he’s played this year. I expect him to get better and better.”
Jackson also made his impact felt. Although he recorded an interception in his season debut against the Cowboys, he agreed that last week’s game was—by far—his most complete effort since returning.
Jackson’s biggest play came in the first quarter, when he easily shed Broncos’ tackle Chris Clark and then raced across the field to sack Peyton Manning from behind for a five-yard loss.
“That first sack is always the hardest one to get,” said Jackson, whose 21 snaps were a season high. “Once you get it, you know you’re capable of doing it. You want to continue that success. I was glad to get it out of the way. Now I plan on getting many more.”
He added: “I feel good. I’m gaining more and more confidence now, getting back to where I was last year.”
Like Jackson, Jenkins also believes his effort in Denver provided him with the confidence boost he needed.
“I felt like I’m getting my groove back,” Jenkins said. “[The coaches said], ‘We knew it would take a minute, but it’s good see the guy we drafted back.’ Hopefully I can keep it up.”