The Redskins defense will have plenty of motivation Sunday against the Buccaneers. The biggest, of course, is reproving itself after consecutive subpar performances in losses to the Rams and Bengals.But theyll draw from another source at Raymond James Stadium, as well. Nose tackle Barry Cofield said the unit also wants to get a win for secondary coach Raheem Morris.Morris was fired in January after three seasons in Tampa, where he went 17-31. He led the Buccaneers to a 10-6 record in 2010, but that season was bookended by two woeful ones, including 4-12 mark last season.Morris was hired less than two weeks later by the Redskins and, in just nine months, hes become one of the most popular coaches in Ashburn.Thats definitely part if it; I was able to get two last year and I know how that felt, nose tackle Barry Cofield said of the Redskins two wins over the Giants, Cofields former team. It felt great. I was so happy about the way my guys showed up.Were definitely going to try do the same thing for Raheem, Cofield continued. We have a ton of things to play for. For our personal pride, do better for our offense, get a win for Raheem, our statistics. We got everything to play for this week. So if our defense does show up flying around and playing our butts off, ewe got something wrong.
Cullen Jenkins had to wait a while to get the right opportunity.
The veteran defensive lineman started 14 games for the Giants in 2015, which was the final year of his contract. The Giants did not want to bring him back so he worked and waited. And wondered.
“As it kept later and later you wonder because the truth with the league is, as you get older your opportunities get less and less,” said Jenkins in the Redskins locker room after his first practice with his new team. “ Then you start sitting there for as long as I have and it makes people wonder. So you start wondering. But you still you've got to keep preparing and stay ready. If the call doesn't come, it is what it is. But it's not going to come and I'm not going to be ready.”
He did get a few calls but it was important to him to stay near his home and family in New Jersey. The Redskins finally invited him down for a workout. They liked what the saw from the 12-year veteran and signed him to a one-year deal.
“It adds another veteran player with some flexibility on the defensive line,” said Jay Gruden. “He’s played three-technique, he’s played nose, he’s played the four, he’s played the five. He’s played a little bit of everything in his career.”
Jenkins sees himself having the same strengths.
“I've got a lot of quickness and experience . . . I'm just going to try to get to the quarterback and be a versatile player,” he said.
The Redskins defense plays a one-gap technique. That’s a system that Jenkins is quite familiar with from his seven seasons with the Packers.
“The one gap, I don't mind it at all,” he said. “I played it back in Green Bay a while ago and I did well in it. I haven't played it in the last five years so it's something I'll have to get back in the rhythm of but I'm definitely up to the challenge.”
Jenkins comes in at a tough time. The roster will be cut to 53 players on Saturday and he was not assured of a spot.
“It's still a matter of me having to prove myself,” said Jenkins. “I'm an older player, 35 years old. I don't expect any gimmies or guarantees or anything. You come in, you prove yourself, you show what you've got and if you do a good job with that you have a chance to stay around.”
He got a clear idea of the challenge ahead of him during his first practice. When they starting calling plays he immediately was lost.
“It was like a foreign language being talked out there,” he said with a smile “I had no clue was was going on.”
He will need to get a clue in a hurry if he wants to stay around.
MORE REDSKINS: JENKINS IN, WHO'S OUT?
After sitting out the Redskins first three preseason games, head coach Jay Gruden previously said that rookie first-round wide receiver Josh Doctson could play in the fourth and final preseason game. On Monday, Gruden closed the door on that possibility, but opened bigger, more important doors.
"We're going to hold him out the fourth preseason game," Gruden said. The coach then added that Week 1 against the Steelers is "definitely" a possibility.
Doctson hasn't practiced the entire training camp session after an Achilles injury limited his ability to run. Monday, however, Doctson ran routes, with his coach playing quarterback.
"He's coming along, he ran some individual cuts," Gruden said. "I was able to throw to him a little bit, watch him in person, he looked good coming in and out of breaks, looked very good."
MORE REDSKINS: IF CULLEN JENKINS IS IN, WHO'S OUT?
Doctson still only watched practice, but it's obvious he is getting closer to being out there with his teammates. Walking off the trainer's field, Doctson complemented his coach's arm before saying he's definitely feeling better.
What playing time awaits Doctson remains a mystery, as DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon are locked into their roster spots while Jamison Crowder mans the slot role. In a way, that is good news for Doctson, as he won't be forced into more action than he's ready for, at least early on.
The Redskins have signed some veteran help for their defensive line. The inevitable ripple effects of bringing in Cullen Jenkins will take several days to play out.
At 6-3 and around 300 pounds, Jenkins is not the run stuffer that many have been expecting the team to sign all year. He is more of a pass rusher at this point, with 47.5 sacks in his 12 NFL seasons, including three with the Giants last year.
The addition of Jenkins likely puts one of the players who was going to make the 53-man roster in jeopardy of getting cut. They will keep six or seven defensive lineman. Chris Baker, Kedric Golston, Kendall Reyes, and Ricky Jean Francois are locks. Ziggy Hood has performed well enough to earn a spot and Matt Ioannidis is likely to make it because the team invested a fifth-round draft pick in him. That makes six.
The candidates for the seventh spot are Jenkins, Stephen Paea, and rookie Anthony Lanier II. If they were happy with Paea the probably would not have signed Jenkins. It looks like Paea, who has been a disappointing free agent signing, could well be on the outside looking in.
In the big picture, the addition of Jenkins puts the Redskins up to 79 players on the roster. They have to be down to the limit of 75 by 4 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon. The final cut to 53 is due at 4 p.m. on Saturday.