Equipping his daily approach with a starter's mentality, Washington Redskins defensive end Jarvis Jenkins may have his chance to re-enter the starting lineup tomorrow after nose tackle Barry Cofield was placed on the reserved/Injured (IR) designated for return list earlier this week.
It is expected that defensive lineman Chris Baker will shift over to nose tackle from defensive end, leaving an opening for Jenkins to fill on the end.
While the fourth-year defensive end certainly wishes Cofield was still on the field alongside him, he wants to approach the game the same way he did in the regular-season opener against the Texans, when he recorded three tackles, including one for a loss, off the bench.
"It doesn't really matter where they place me or whether I'm starting or not," Jenkins said. "I just have to go in there and play and do the things I need to do when I'm called on.
"If I'm coming off the bench or starting, I still need to play like I'm a starter at a starter's level. I've got to earn my reps each snap, each series and each day."
Jenkins has 19 starts in 29 career appearances dating back to the 2012 season.
After recording the first two sacks of his NFL career last season, Jenkins relayed his success to training camp, where he believes he built the foundation for another solid season.
"I came in with putting a very strong camp," he told the media earlier this week. "We've got to let all these guys…step up and produce and just show the depth and versatility on the defensive line."
And whether it's Jenkins or a teammate on the field alongside Baker and Pro Bowler Jason Hatcher, defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said playing time on Sunday will be dispersed.
"I don't look at these guys as starters or non-starters," he said of the defensive lineman. "They all played about 40 plays last week. We try to rotate them in, keep guys fresh and if we can do that, I think later on in the season, you'll be better on defense just because of the rotation that you have."
After facing Houston Texans running back Arian Foster last week, the Redskins will face Jacksonville Jaguars running back Toby Gerhart.
After spending his first four seasons spelling Adrian Peterson in Minnesota, the former Viking is getting the chance to carry the brunt of the load for Jacksonville.
Gerhart has played the Redskins on four occasions, experiencing some success in the process.
In 2010, he recorded his first NFL touchdown against the Redskins, while logging his first 100-yard game against the burgundy and gold in 2011.
Knowing what Gerhart's capable of both between the tackles and when running to the outside, Jenkins said the defense must remain disciplined when he has the ball in his hands.
"We just need to play our technique and playing our assignments," he said. "Not getting out of our gaps, [too]. "They're a real downhill team, so we just got to play our assignments, [and] just trust what the coach is giving us."