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Jansen: 100 Straight Starts...and Counting


By Michael Richman

Redskins Insider Correspondent

The last 100 games Jon Jansen has played in, he has started each one--50 through four seasons at Michigan and 50 in his first three seasons with the Washington Redskins. That’s a mind-boggling statistic for an athlete in a vicious sport where injuries are so prevalent.

Jansen is 6-feet-6, 311 pounds, which helps the right tackle weather the ferocity of the NFL. But to him, durability is based on much more than physical prowess: Intestinal fortitude is critical, too.

“In this league, everybody talks about how big and fast and strong the guys are,” he said. “But when you see many of the best players, they’re the mentally toughest players out there.

"A lot of being hurt is allowing yourself to get hurt or just letting your mental guard down on one play, like when you don’t go 100 percent and somebody rolls up on your legs because you’re not where you’re supposed to be.”

Jansen has become one of the top right tackles in the NFL. An intimidating physical presence for the Redskins, he brings strength and power to the game. He's been instrumental in the Redskins' ability to run the ball. His blocking has helped open holes for running back Stephen Davis to rush for 1,000-plus yards over the past three seasons, including a team-record 1,432 last season.

To Jansen, not making the Pro Bowl last year constituted a personal disappointment. He said he’d feel the same way after the 2002 season if he fails to receive an invitation to the Hawaii post-season event.

“I’m going to go out just like I did last year and prove everybody wrong,” he said. “I thought I did that last year, but obviously I didn’t, and that’s something I’ve got to do again this year. Until I reach that level, I’ve got to take it up a notch.”

Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington, who made the Pro Bowl last season in his second NFL year, is sensing that Jansen’s selection to the Pro Bowl is imminent.

“Jon improves every year,” Arrington said. “There are very few guys who have his physical capabilities."

Arrington says he feels he's become a better player, in part, as a result of facing Jansen on the practice field. Nos. 56 and 76 are no strangers on the football field, for they have collided often in Redskins practices and when they competed for rival Big Ten schools. Arrington starred at Penn State from 1997 to 1999, and Jansen at Michigan from 1995 to 1998.

The Wolverines won both times the teams squared off: 34-8 in 1997, the season Michigan won the national championship, and 27-0 in 1998.

Arrington said in jest that he didn't want to give too much credit to a former college opponent, especially one from a Big 10 rival. But he did say this of Jansen: "You remember certain guys you've played against, and I remember Jon Jansen since college."

After operating in the methodical, ball control offensive system of Marty Schottenheimer and Jimmy Raye last season, Jansen said he’s looking forward to what should be a more dynamic approach of Steve Spurrier.

“It’s going to be an exciting offense,” Jansen said with a grin. “It’s going to be wide open, it’s going to be high-powered, it’s going to be probably something that this area has never seen before. I’m sure there will be more passing than in the past couple of years. But we’ll still get Stephen Davis the ball a couple of times.”

Jansen is not the Redskins' only immovable object on the offensive line. Left tackle Chris Samuels has started all 32 games in his first two seasons, and Arrington touts Jansen and Samuels as perhaps the best offensive tackle tandem in the NFL.

Other than Jansen and Samuels, though, the makeup of the rest of the line has been inconsistent in recent seasons. For example, last year’s season-ending starters of left guard Dave Szott, center Cory Raymer and right guard Ben Coleman are no longer wearing Redskins uniforms.

Jansen said he jokes with Samuels about their consistency, while everyone else on the line is playing what amounts to musical chairs. But in all seriousness, Jansen acknowledges that stability is the key for an offensive line.

“Hopefully, when we get to training camp, we’ll have five guys who stick together for maybe two years this time,” he says. “Maybe three years, but we’ll take two at first.”

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unfortunately, the Redskins seem to think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.

resigning our own players has taken a backseat the past 2 or 3 years to going out and getting other teams' players. :mad:

and that's despite all the league-wide rhetoric about keeping your own plaers and building some continuity.

I think the last round of negotiations with Davis over a contract were started off on the wrong foot as the Redskins kept Davis waiting all summer for a new deal while the team flashed money at Bruce Smith, Deion Sanders and others.

meanwhile, Davis was only voted the team's MVP for the '99 season by his teammates, the first time in 10 years the team had won the division title.

the fact the Skins have no talent at all to count on inside at either guard spot for the future (Jones and Vickers are short-term solutions of 1-2 years at best) SHOULD make the team that much more sensitive to the need to keep the outside pair together.

you can't keep an entire line together anymore in free agency, it just isn't practical.

but the Skins haven't invested ANY money in the interior of the line or may I say in the qb position dollar wise, so resigning Jansen to me sounds like a good idea.

let's face it the 2002 seasons have Matthews at under $1 million, Wuerffel for the minimum, Sage for a rookie #4 contract and Ramsey is likely to be the most expensive qb as the #3 but still at the rate for the #32 pick.

That and the money for the receivers (where there are no big salaries either) would indicate that the future funds should be available to pay out a new deal for our RT.

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