LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Free agent addition Jarvis Jenkins is likely to be a key member of the Bears’ revamped defensive line.
Jenkins, who started 33 regular-season games in Washington, is viewed as a serious contender to crack the first unit after the late May release of Ray McDonald.
Entering his fourth NFL season, Jenkins discussed his expectations for the upcoming season after a recent minicamp workout.
How’s the transition been to Chicago?
Jenkins: It's going pretty good. Like I said, I come from a 3-4, so it's nothing new to me. Just some little kinks to wrinkle out. I'm just coming out here trying to bond with these guys, develop a friendship and relationship to stress each other on Sunday.
How can you become a better pass-rusher?
Jenkins: Be quicker, be active. Pass-rush takes time. It takes concentration, it takes focus. It just takes quickness. The main thing about it is you've got to get off the line and just get into the backfield. Everything about pass rush is disruptive, so if I could get in front of the quarterback, I'll be successful."
How is this 3-4 different from the 3-4 you played in Washington?
Jenkins: Under [Bears defensive coordinator] Vic Fangio, it's a lot more up-field. It's a little more freedom, not much, but his defense is a little more technical because you've got a lot of guys tied into one play. It's a little bit more technical and your job and your responsibility is very major, because if one person messes up, it screws up the whole continuity.
Have you been impressed by second-round pick Eddie Goldman?
Jenkins: Oh my god, very powerful guy. He comes from the ACC. When I went back to watch Clemson games, I always knew he was that disruptive guy. I remember a play, Clemson, when we played them at Florida State, we was on the 1-yard line going in and he blew the player up and got a forced fumble, and they ended up winning the game. Once we drafted him, I remembered that play. I tell him about it every day.
Do you feel better about your chances to start after the team released McDonald?
Jenkins: Not at all. Even though he signed here, I still had the mentality I wanted to start. Even though we were in the same position, I was coming in thinking, ‘I want to beat this guy. I want to be the starter.’ That’s the mentality you've got to have, no matter who’s in front of you or who’s behind you. It’s the same thing if Ego Ferguson is in front of me. I’m going to have the mentality to get in front of him, just as I hope he has the mentality to get in front of me. That’s just that competition, which makes the whole defensive line better.”