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Posts Tagged ‘Jenkins’

Falcons cut Anderson and Jenkins

July 29th, 2011 Comments off
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Jamaal Anderson

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reportsthat the Falcons have parted ways with two former first round picks: wide receiver Michael Jenkins and defensive end Jamaal Anderson.

Jenkins was the team’s top pick in the 2004 draft and started 5 of the 7 years he was a Falcon, combining to catch 276 passes and 20 touchdowns. Jenkins, widely considered a disappointment due to the fact that he never had a game where he had 100 or more receiving yards had been a serviceable starter for the team since Mike Smith took over in 2008.

Anderson was the top pick in 2007, coming to the team with big expectations as a replacement for long-time Falcons end Patrick Kerney. But Anderson never lived up to that potential, and struggled to produce as a pass rusher. In recent seasons, he started to find a niche as a role player and run defender. Anderson started the first three seasons he was a Falcon, but combined for only 2.5 sacks. This past year, as a role player, he recorded 2 sacks, despite only starting 3 games.

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Camp Battles 2011: Wide Receiver

July 11th, 2011 Comments off

The focus in camp likely will be on the team’s top pick, Julio Jones, and trying to get him integrated into the starting offense as much as possible. In a normal summer, the Falcons would likely work Jones at all three wide receiver positions (X, Y, Z) to promote depth and flexibility. It’s most likely that most of his work will come at the X and Y positions, which are currently manned by Michael Jenkins and Harry Douglas, respectively.

It will be interesting to see where the Falcons modify their usual formula in order to accelerate Jones’ progress. The positive is that during Camp Exile, Jones got work at all three positions, so at least among the Falcons rookies he’s certainly ahead of the curve.

There has been speculation that the Falcons might be willing to deal Jenkins to make room for Jones, and that will depend heavily on how the Falcons view the  latter’s progress in camp. It’s unlikely to occur and the market for Jenkins will likely be cool since it’s an uncharacteristically strong class of free agent receivers that needy teams will be able to pilfer.

Douglas is also likely to remain in good standing with the team, making the Falcons quartet with Roddy White fairly set and secure in 2011.

The questions come behind them. Eric Weems should remain safe coming off a Pro Bowl year on special teams. While the team may give other players some extended looks in the return game, it’s not likely to be a reflection on Weems since he’s a fairly known commodity and brings a ton of value in that arena.

Kerry Meier is the front-runner of the remaining guys to land a roster spot. He is coming off an ACL tear last summer, and he’ll need to be 100% when camps commence to ensure him sticking with the team. If Meier is less than healthy, it will open up opportunities for the rest of the guys to make their presences known.

Brandyn Harvey has good size and is a capable blocker, but he needs to have a better showing as a receiver this preseason opposed to last where he had only one catch for three yards. Tim Buckley and Andy Strickland are also in the mix, and as typical, all three’s chances will depend heavily on their performances on special teams. All three are only likely to be practice squad candidates at best.

Also, there still remains a chance that the Falcons bring back veteran free agent Brian Finneran. Finneran worked out with his teammates during Camp Exile, indicating that he still wants to play football. Finneran’s chances of playing a twelfth season for the Falcons should dramatically increase if Meier is still rehabbing his injury.

The team will definitely keep at least five receivers for the regular season. Meier and Jones’ progress and how much confidence they inspire will likely determine if they decide to keep a sixth.

Should the Falcons trade Jenkins?

June 15th, 2011 1 comment
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Michael Jenkins

ESPN’s Pat Yasinskas lists Falcons wideout Michael Jenkins as a player that could be offered up via trade once the lockout ends. It’s no secret that Jenkins future in Atlanta is tenuous when the team paid a king’s ransom to move up in the draft to take Julio Jones with the sixth overall pick. But does that mean that Jenkins should be gone as soon as possible?

What can the Falcons get for Jenkins? Last year, a number of wide receivers changed teams, but very few of them did so for premium value. Looking over those trades, probably the best the Falcons can hope for is a 5th round pick. That’s what the Jets gave up to get Santonio Holmes. The Bucs traded a 6th round pick for Reggie Brown, and the Chargers and Rams traded sevenths for Patrick Crayton and Mark Clayton, respectively. Honestly, I think it’s much more likely that the Falcons would have to be willing to settle for a sixth or seventh round pick. Holmes and Brown were traded prior to the 2010 draft, and Clayton and Crayton were traded in September. Considering the lockout may end at some point this summer, it’s likely that it’s going to be closer to the value given up for the latter pair rather than the former.

Is that a worthwhile trade for the Falcons? I would think Jenkins is more valuable than a sixth round pick next year. Even if he’s playing third fiddle to Jones and Roddy White, Jenkins is still probably going to catch 30-50 passes this year. That seems a lot more valuable than a late round pick next year.

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Jones should be destined for the slot

June 2nd, 2011 Comments off
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Julio Jones

Traditionally, we tend to think of slot receivers as smaller, quicker guys like Wes Welker or Jordan Shipley. But when the Falcons drafted Julio Jones with their top pick, they got a player that could buck that trend.

Not always do teams employ smaller receivers in the slot, as some teams like to make use of guys with more size and physicality to present matchup problems with corners there. Two good examples of this are Anquan Boldin and Marques Colston.

According to Pro Football Focus, Colston led the league last season in yards receiving from the slot with 696. Boldin placed sixth with 561 yards.

The Falcons should do their best to utilize Jones in a similar method. Since Jones selection, some have speculated that Jenkins would move to the slot. But such a move really doesn’t fit either players skillset. Jones has experience playing in the slot from his days at Alabama, where his size and toughness as a blocker made him effective taking out smaller nickel corners, as well as matching up with linebackers. Jenkins is much more at home on the outside. In the slot, you need guys that have explosiveness to separate in space, as well as guys that are comfortable in traffic. Another major quality one looks for in slot receivers is the ability to get yards after the catch. These are all areas that are strengths for Jones, but not for Jenkins. In fact, these are Jenkins greatest weaknesses.

Thus he would be a poor match for the slot. Prior to the draft, I mentioned that the Falcons should look for a big, vertical option to help them out in the slot. It seems they came to a similar conclusion when they traded up to get Jones.

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This year critical for Meier’s NFL future

May 25th, 2011 Comments off
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WR Kerry Meier

When Harry Douglas tore his ACL on the fifth day of 2009′s training camp, it was not a career-defining injury. Meaning that it would probably not mean the difference between Douglas making a living catching footballs or bagging groceries.

Douglas, as a third round pick the year before, was coming off a solid rookie year in which he had worked his way up the depth chart from fourth to third option and made an impact in the latter half of the season on special teams. It all meant he was poised to grow into a viable role player for the Falcons. His injury would be a hindrance to his growth, but his potential would earn him future opportunities with the Falcons and other NFL teams alike.

On the other hand, for Falcons 2010 fifth round pick Kerry Meier, that may not be the case. His ACL injury suffered at the end of his rookie training camp last summer could potentially be career-defining. It might be the difference between Meier potentially playing several years in the NFL versus never suiting up for a single game.

Meier does not have a high draft status or a productive rookie campaign to buoy his chances of making this year’s roster like Douglas did coming off injury a year ago. There is no proven value on special teams to make him proven depth either. And bluntly, Meier does not have Douglas’s skill and athleticism that makes his upside and potential obviously worth developing. Even if there was another NFL team that liked Meier coming out of Kansas a year ago, they would have only viewed him as a sixth round value at best, which is not exactly the caliber of player that there is a mad scramble to claim in the event the Falcons let him go.

Meier possesses good size and steady hands, but the biggest question mark about him coming into the league was whether or not he had the speed, quickness, and burst to be able to use those traits effectively. Regardless of how big and strong you are, and how much your hands resemble velcro, if you cannot separate from cornerbacks at this level then the quarterback will not throw you the ball, and then those traits are meaningless.

And Meier’s injury directly impacts those question marks about him, and makes him an even bigger question mark. ACL tears sap explosiveness, speed, and the ability to cut, traits and skills that are essential when it comes to running routes and separating from defenders.

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The New Direction of the Atlanta Falcons?

May 1st, 2011 1 comment
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Quizz: Danny Woodhead v2.0?

With now two more days to let the Falcons Julio Jones mega-trade sink, I’m not nearly so negative about it. Why? Because it seemingly is sending the Falcons in a new direction. I don’t necessarily completely embrace that new direction, but I am at least interested and curious to see where it leads them.

And that new direction is for the Falcons to more of an explosive finesse team. It seems the Falcons are trying to take a page from the New England Patriots. I think the Falcons popped in the tape of the past few Patriots seasons and got envious.

I think the Falcons really strengthened their offense in the 2011 NFL Draft. The addition of Jones gives the team an Andre Johnson-esque playmaker at wide receiver. The team drafted Jacquizz Rodgers, who reminds me a lot of Warrick Dunn when he was carving up NFC South defenses in Atlanta years ago. And the Falcons added another good, developmental offensive guard in Andrew Jackson.

And if the Falcons are going to really make the most of this draft class, then they need to embrace this new direction which is to score a lot of points. The new identity of the team should be less of a power-oriented rushing attack, but more of a pass-heavy attack. They gave up a lot for Jones, and in order to get the most out of him going forward and trying to make him into a Johnson-esque playmaker on the outside, then they need to feed him the rock. And that means less touches for the running game. The Falcons should re-focus their offensive identity around the notion that their four most dynamic players and best assets are all in the passing game which is Jones, White, Douglas in the slot, and Rodgers out of the backfield.

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Stacking the Draft Board: Wide Receiver

March 5th, 2011 Comments off

As previously discussed in the post about what running backs the Falcons could potentially be looking at, the Falcons want to get more explosive on offense. And what’s the best way of diong that by improving your options on the outside at wide receiver.

Roddy White put together a very impressive season, one that simple blew away previous great Falcons receiving seasons. After all, when Andre Rison, Terance Mathis, and Eric Metcalf were putting their names in the Falcons record books, they were doing so in a Run N’ Shoot offense that was designed to put up big passing numbers. Not the case with the Falcons current offense, which is a much more run-oriented attack. So it’s clear that Roddy White is not the problem.

On the opposite side of the field, Michael Jenkins had a relatively good year considering he missed a big chunk of the beginning of the year with a shoulder injury, and was coming off one of his worst seasons as a Falcon. But it is becoming increasingly clear that the Falcons need an explosive option in the passing game that can make teams pay when they double Roddy, something that teams did to a good degree of success in the second half of the season.

Harry Douglas failed to step up when he had the opportunities, but he did flash some explosive potential in the latter half of the season when the Falcons made better use of him on the shorter routes and trying to get him in space to use his ability after the catch. If the Falcons can continue to do that, they should be able to improve their explosive offensive potential somewhat.

But it’s probably not going to be enough. So adding some more explosive options in the draft makes a ton of sense for the Falcons going forward.

They can start with options in the first round. And the player topping the Falcons draft board is likely to be Maryland wideout Torrey Smith. Smith is a fast, explosive playmaker that grades highly as far as character goes, making him a very attractive first round option if available. Smith appears to be everything the Falcons want in a wideout opposite Roddy. He blocks, he plays hard, he’s fast, and has been getting glowing reviews by many in terms of his character and reportedly wowed many at the combine.

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Getting More Explosive on Offense: Part 2

February 17th, 2011 1 comment

So continuing on from earlier about how the Falcons need to get more explosive on offense, what sort of pieces can the Falcons find out there that can help them.

Well with the uncertainty of the Collective Bargaining Agreement this off-season, we cannot be sure if the Falcons can rely on free agency to help them at the position. It would be a shame really because this is potentially a very strong crop of free agent receivers.

Players like Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards, Malcom Floyd, Steve Smith (from the Giants), Steve Breaston, Sidney Rice, Lance Moore, and James Jones highlight this class, which doesn’t include Vincent Jackson, who was recently franchised by the Chargers.

So that may mean the Falcons will have to rely on the draft to upgrade their wide receiver corps. Players such as Maryland’s Torrey Smith or Pitt’s Jon Baldwin are expected to be available options in the latter half of the first round. Both provide vertical potential due to either speed or size and would be potentially explosive additions to the Falcons lineup.

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Jenkins out 4-6 weeks

August 9th, 2010 Comments off
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Michael Jenkins

Jay Adams of Atlanta Falcons.com reports that wide receiver Michael Jenkins will miss 4 to 6 weeks due to a shoulder injury he suffered during this past Friday night’s scrimmage. That puts him out for the rest of camp, and potentially he could miss the first few weeks of the regular season. The team has yet to disclose the exact nature of Jenkins shoulder injury.

It isn’t exactly clear who will fill Jenkins role as the starter during his absence, although Brian Finneran is usually listed as the top backup at the position. Jenkins’ injury likely will mean additional snaps for Harry Douglas, rookie Kerry Meier, and Eric Weems, which should only enhance their readiness for the regular season. It should also cause the Falcons to take a longer look at some of the younger receivers in camp such as Brandyn Harvey, Troy Bergeron, and Ryan Wolfe if Jenkins injury looks to linger into the regular season.

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Jenks and Babs get extensions

November 25th, 2008 Comments off

The Falcons announced today that they have signed wide receiver Michael Jenkins and defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux to contract extensions. Both players were poised to hit free agency this upcoming off-season, but their solid play this season merited the team doing their best to prevent their potential departures.

Per the AJC, Jenkins received a four-year extension worth $20 million. Jenkins has started 7 games this season at wide receiver and is the team’s second-leading receiver with 33 catches for 498 yards (15.1 avg) and 3 touchdowns.

The AP reports that Babineaux received an undisclosed five-year deal. He has started every game this year at defensive tackle and currently has 25 tackles, 2 sacks, and a fumble recovery. His 7 tackles for loss this season is currently tied for third most in the league.

UPDATE: NFL.com’s Adam Schefter reports that Babineaux’s contract is a five-year, $25 million deal.

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