A preseason that couldn't have gotten much worse for the Washington Redskins did just that on Thursday night against the Baltimore Ravens. Defensive end and second-round pick Jarvis Jenkins went down with a torn ACL that will cost him the entire season.
Last season, the Redskins were one of the worst defenses in the league, hence their focus on overhauling that unit.
Those goals are what makes the loss of Jenkins huge. He was already seeing playing time as a starting defensive end ahead of Adam Carriker and the team had grand plans for the rookie's usage.
The team wanted to use him in a variety of roles all over the defensive line in order to maximize his potential. There was even some thought that he had been held back in college and would be a better player in the NFL.
John Keim of the Sporting News wrote about the hopes for Jenkins on the Redskins' defense:
A second-round pick from Clemson, Jenkins was expected to have a significant role in the line rotation as the third end. He also would have played in the nickel package as an inside pass rusher at times. With a first quick step that had impressed coaches, Jenkins showed the potential of becoming a better pass rusher in the NFL than he was at Clemson.
Without Jenkins, their defense is largely right back where it started. Their defensive line is seriously devoid of impact players and now Carriker, who had been beaten out by Jenkins, is back in the starting lineup. Safety LaRon Landry's injury being slow to heal doesn't make things any better either.
The worst part is that this defensive group was actually starting to come together. So far this preseason, they had held the Steelers to seven points and the Colts, albeit without Peyton Manning, to three points.
With the defense's inspired play, it seemed that a team in dire need of a good sign had finally gotten one. With Jenkins now lost for the year, it seems that it was now little more than a cruel joke.