The Rock Returns, Part 3

After three wasted seasons—two in an ineffective offense and one sidelined with an injury--Redskins tackle Jon Jansen is ready to Rock. (Redskins Sound Bytes at the end of the article)

You can reach me by email at rtandler@comcast.net

Just short of a year after he went down for the season, Jon Jansen is out in the sweltering heat at Redskins Park in full football gear every day and loving every minute of it. "It feels great," Jansen said. "That's what I miss the most is the physical contact. I know it sounds a little on the shady side, but what I enjoy about the game is being physical with people. It's a special feeling to be able to be able to manhandle another grown man and that's what goes on out there in the trenches."

There is a method to the manhandling. "What we're working on is to recreate the line of scrimmage," said Jansen. "What we want to do is get a yard by moving them back. If we can do that, even if Clinton falls down we can gain a yard. What we want to do is have no negative plays and recreate that line of scrimmage and give Clinton the time he needs and real clear holes to hit."

Jansen appears to be as fit and trim as he ever has been in his seven years with the Redskins and has said as much himself. His weight dropped to around 280 during his rehab and he evidently put the weight back on in the right places. The team's leader both in terms of seniority and on the field, he apparently has set the pace for the rest of his teammates. The O-line as a group appears to be in better shape than in years past.

In addition to keeping in shape, Jansen watched a lot of TV while he was out with his injury. His favorite show was the tapes of the Redskins offense since 1999. The character in the series he focused on was himself. Jansen was his own worst critic. "I got to a point where I was like, 'I can't believe I play in the NFL," he said, having evaluated some of his techniques. Jansen hopes to use what he learned hone his blocking skills as he enters what should be the prime of his career.

While looking forward, however, the subject of the frustration that Jansen felt during the Steve Spurrier years comes up. He didn't have to be prompted very strongly to bring it up. When asked to characterize the style of play we should expect to see from the offensive line, Jansen made a thinly-veiled reference to the "Fun and Gun". "We had a system in here for a couple of years and they wanted us to be a finesse team and it didn't work," Jansen said. To win in this league, you've got to be physical."

Later on, Jansen talked quite explicitly about how Spurrier and his coaching staff tended to point the finger of blame for failure everywhere but where it belonged. "When you've got that many excuses (for not performing) it's just a lot of [B. S.] coming out." Jansen didn't use the initials for the barnyard excrement; he used the entire eight-letter word. And keep in mind that this rather agitated reaction came from a player who had just come off of a couple of hours on the practice field with temperatures hovering near 100 degrees. Jansen still worked up the energy to be angry about it.

Jansen was more philosophical when he asked about how he felt in looking back at the hiring of the "genius" Steve Spurrier. "I'm no genius myself and I don't think that anyone is this league is, things change so much, Jansen said. "We took a shot at something new and it didn't work out."

"It was frustrating for any Redskin—player, former player, fan--just because it was embarrassing."

Hopefully, the frustration will end for Jansen this season.

 

Jansen talks about recreating the line of scrimmage. 8/2/05

Jansen on the Spurrier era 8/3/05 (caution: PG-13 rated due to language)

Classic Bytes: Jansen "Frustrating", a montage from 11/10/03

Classic Bytes: Jansen "You earn the right. . ." from 11/10/03


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