News came out on Thursday that Washington Redskins defensive end Adam Carriker will miss four to five months after his third surgery. The question that now arises is who will step up and be his replacement?
Carriker, a starter who missed most of last season, will be replaced, once again, by third-year pro Jarvis Jenkins. The Clemson product has had a slow start to his NFL career, but hopes and expectations are high for Jenkins.
At 6’4” and 315 pounds, he is the ideal size for a five-technique lineman. He hasn’t put up gaudy numbers or anything, but there’s a good reason for that. He tore his ACL early on his rookie year, and was supposed to be eased into Washington’s 3-4 defense last season, but was forced into a starting role when Carriker went down with torn triceps.
There have been nothing but positive reviews of Jenkins so far this offseason, and it’s clear he’s starting to mature within Jim Haslett’s defense. In a conversation Jenkins had with Mike Jones of The Washington Post, No. 99 had this to say about his progression:
Really, it’s really confidence. After the first six or seven months, it’s about confidence. I worked really hard to get my knee back, and the first half of the season, it was just confidence, being confident that I could plant off that foot [without] reminiscing on when I did get hurt what had happened. When that happened, I was like, ‘Okay, I’m good now,’ and then I went out and played. … I played way faster in the second half of the season.
His confidence is indeed showing. Following the Redskins’ bye week in Week 10 of last year, he proved to be a stingier defender as he played an integral role in Washington’s run defense.
Ironically, Jenkins said he’s learned from the injured Carriker. “I take a lot of my technique from him,” said Jenkins. “A lot of times he had sacks off doing great technique. It was everything: hands, eyes, body placement, hand placement. He does everything perfect.”
The combination of Carriker’s mentoring, Jenkins’ potential and his own natural ability should add up to a pretty productive season for the former second-round pick.
Odds are he won’t be the defensive player of the year, but this looks like it will be the season that he reaches into his untapped ability and really makes an impact for the burgundy and gold.