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Paul Woody: On the mend unfamiliar for Jansen


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On the mend unfamiliar for Jansen

Skins tackle missed 2004 season with first major injury of career



Saturday, June 18, 2005

ASHBURN - Before he even hit the ground on that fateful August night in Canton, Ohio, Jon Jansen said he knew what had happened.

It was not what he had in mind for a Hall of Fame appearance.

Jansen, the starting right tackle for the Washington Redskins and an integral piece of their offensive line and team chemistry, had suffered a ruptured Achilles' tendon.

The injury occurred in the Redskins' first preseason game, the Hall of Fame game, of the 2004 summer. Jansen's season was over before it started.

"I knew there was no quick recovery from it," Jansen said yesterday after a Redskins minicamp practice.

Football is a high-impact sport, and injuries occur on any day that ends with a "y". Jansen, though, never had suffered a serious injury through high school, college or his first four seasons in the NFL. He hardly had missed a snap since joining the Redskins as a second-round draft choice out of Michigan in 1999.

Suffering a season-ending injury required some adjustments to his thinking.

"You wake up the next morning thinking there must be a way you can tape it or something and get back out there," he said.

But that wasn't possible, so Jansen watched as his team struggled, particularly on offense, to a 6-10 record. The Redskins ranked 30th of 32 in total offense and averaged just 15 points per game.

"If the team is scoring 30 points a game, you think that they don't need you," Jansen said. "If the offense is struggling, you want to be out there helping.

"Either way, you don't feel good."

An offensive tackle has only so much impact on a team's attack, so the Redskins aren't going to turn things around simply because Jansen is back in the lineup.

But stability and continuity count for something, and the 6-6, 308-pound lineman always has provided that. Without him, the Redskins had to use two players, Kenyatta Jones and Ray Brown, over the course of the season at right tackle.

Neither could be left in one-on-one situations as often as Jansen. Neither provided the emotional fire Jansen brings to the field.

"He gives us a lot of spice with his attitude, work ethic and just the way he acts," said Redskins assistant head coach/offense/offensive line Joe Bugel. "I can't talk enough about how we missed him last year."

Jansen would rather not think about how much he missed playing last season. It was so painful not to play that he couldn't even watch film with the rest of his teammates.

"It's not that I don't like Ray Brown or that he didn't do a good job," Jansen said. "It's just that I hate seeing somebody else at my spot.

"I didn't feel like things were back to normal until January when we had our last team meeting.

"Then we were talking about the offseason program, and I was going to be a part of that. And we had an offensive line meeting, and I was a part of that."

Jansen, 29, is a big part of the Redskins' plans now, and he doesn't plan on missing any time this year. That, though, is beyond his control.

What Jansen could control was his rehab from the injury. He made sure he did his work so that when he returned to action, he could do so with no doubt about the stability of his Achilles' tendon.

"As soon as he hit the field, you never even knew he had been hurt," Bugel said. "There's no limp in his get-go."

Now Jansen hopes to help the Redskins' offense get going.

AND FURTHERMORE: Missing from practice yesterday because of injuries were linebacker LaVar Arrington (knee), defensive tackle Brandon Noble (knee) and H-back Chris Cooley (strained hamstring). Middle linebacker Mike Barrow (quadriceps) did not practice but did go through an extensive workout.

Contact Paul Woody at (804) 649-6444 or pwoody@timesdispatch.com

This story can be found at: http://www.timesdispatch.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=RTD%2FMGArticle%2FRTD_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1031783360968&path=%21sports%21redskins&s=1045855935462

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