"There’s nothing easy against those guys, especially up front," quarterback Sam Bradford said. "That front seven is really, really tough."
The secondary, which is without Cortland Finnegan who was released in the offseason after a serious eye injury, is never mentioned as a strength.
"It’s definitely motivation," McLeod said. "We just want to be a top defense and it’s about what we do as a unit. We’ve all got to work as one."
Jenkins, 25, is a former second-round pick and tied the NFL rookie record with three interceptions returned for touchdowns in 2012.
Entering his third season he has 30 career starts, but he had just one pick last year and the flip side of the big-play capabilities is he’s also been beaten a lot on big plays.
Johnson also is in his third season and has been the full-time starter since last October. Now he’s helping the newcomers.
"It’s a challenge at times," Johnson said after practice Thursday night. "A lot of guys looking up to me, so I’ve got to be on my `A’ game every day."
McLeod was undrafted out of Virginia in 2012 and proved himself on special teams for a season before becoming the starter last year. Coach Jeff Fisher said he’s seen "nothing but improvement" since mid-season.
"He gets it, he feels good, he’s got a great feel for the defense," Fisher added. "You can’t say enough about his special teams contribution."
McDonald was a third-round pick last season and was immediately plugged into the lineup.
That will also be the case for rookie Lamarcus Joyner, a second-round pick. Brandon McGee, a fifth-rounder last year, is in the running at nickel back and E.J. Gaines was a sixth-round pick this year.
"Me personally, I’m just getting started. Rod, too," McDonald said. "We have big aspirations and the only way to reach them is by controlling what we’re doing right now."
NOTES: Jake Long took snaps in a team session Thursday night and said he remains on schedule to be ready for the opener. Long had ACL surgery on his left knee in late January. … Laurinaitis was limping at the end of practice after getting his left foot stepped on. … Fisher said the most impressive aspect of camp thus far is an increase in "explosive" plays.