Thursday, June 19, 2014
Baker: Brandon Jenkins most improved
By John Keim
He's been chastised in practice more than a few times, with Brian Baker sometimes grilling him over a variety of mistakes. Yet now that the Redskins' offseason workouts have ended, Baker is done grilling (for now) and has started praising Brandon Jenkins.
"He really has improved," Baker said of the second-year linebacker, "probably more so than anybody else."
Jenkins needs to continue that improvement during training camp if he wants to earn a roster spot. The Redskins likely will keep, at most, nine linebackers -- that means there might be room for only four on the outside. And that means it'll come down to either he or veteran Rob Jackson. Both could make the roster, but that would leave them with four on the inside.
"Jenks is a young man that as much as I get on him, I get on him because I love him and want him to be a great player," Baker said. "I want him to be really good. Sometimes you have to pull it out of a guy. We're starting to get on the same page as to how that can happen so those episodes have become fewer and fewer."
Jenkins played 39 snaps last season. His inability to help on special teams prevented him from always being active. He's still more of a situational pass-rusher, but if he improves he gives the Redskins more depth at this position with Ryan Kerrigan, Brian Orakpo and Trent Murphy firmly ahead of him.
"He has to understand what it takes to win in this league, what personality, what temperament, what tempo, what level of aggressiveness, what level of determination," Baker said.
My take to this point has been that Jenkins needs to have a strong summer, especially based on what Baker shouts at him during practices. But one thing I liked about Jenkins last summer was his ability to use a variety of moves and I've seen him have some success in that area this spring. However, he'll also have to focus even harder on the details of the position -- and on special teams. Jenkins can still help the Redskins. After a slow start this spring, he finished the way he needed to. Now he must continue that momentum in August.