2014 DRAFT GUIDE
49ers' A.J. Jenkins making strides in second year

By JANIE McCAULEY - AP Sports Writer
    2013-06-13 02:15

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - If A.J. Jenkins had yet to call his dad on a given day last season, he would receive a text asking him to do so.

Those daily chats are a big reason Jenkins stayed sane during a challenging, unproductive, heavily scrutinized rookie season with the San Francisco 49ers. Their top draft pick last year, he didn't make a single catch while spending most of his time watching from the sidelines.

He was on the active roster in only three games for the two-time defending division champion and Super Bowl runner-up.

The 49ers are now counting on Jenkins after top 2012 wideout Michael Crabtree had surgery on his right Achilles tendon after tearing it during a practice May 21.

Jenkins spent about two months this offseason living and training with quarterback Colin Kaepernick in Atlanta. All of those pep talks from his dad sure seem to be paying off, too.

``He's my father. He just told me, `Be patient, be humble about it,' because my time is going to be there,'' Jenkins recalled. ``Him being my dad, he's going to call me every single day. That's kind of how it was. Every day he'd call because he'd read some blog that had him thinking all negative.''

Jenkins, the 49ers' 30th overall pick in the first round of the 2012 draft out of Illinois, seemed to face criticism by the week - for his fundamentals, footwork, knowledge of the playbook, inconsistencies making the jump from college to the pros, you name it.

Last week, he had his best series of practices yet since joining the Niners. Coach Jim Harbaugh said it, offensive coordinator Greg Roman spoke of it during the team's minicamp, and Jenkins agreed with them both.

``The last two days of last week, he had the two best days he's had since I've been here,'' Roman said. ``Just made some clutch catches for us when we were moving the ball. Just made plays, did all the right things, made plays when he had the opportunity and he just needs to continue doing that.''

Jenkins has added strength to his 6-foot frame, playing nearly 10 pounds heavier at 200 pounds.

Aside from his training alongside Kaepernick and fellow wide receiver Ricardo Lockette, Jenkins committed himself to studying so he wouldn't fall behind like he did before. That also includes observing new teammate Anquan Boldin, acquired in a trade from the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.

``I just pretty much had my head in the playbook last week a lot, and I knew what I had to do and I played fast,'' he said. ``It took me a while because I wasn't used to so many plays. They install every single day. It's the constant install. If you don't know what's going on the previous day, the next install is the very next day, so you're behind because you don't know what's going on. Your mind kind of wanders off a little bit. It's kind of like school all over again. You've got to constantly study the playbook.''

Getting to know Kaepernick as more than just a teammate is something Jenkins cherished - and something he hopes carries over into their chemistry on the field.

``I had never really hung out with him outside of football, so I was just going down there with him, chilling with him, staying with him, getting to know who he is and who I am as a person,'' Jenkins said.

Even during organized team activities last month, Jenkins acknowledged a change in his mindset, confidence and work ethic.

``I'm a lot better than I was last year around this time,'' he said.

Jenkins had 90 catches for 1,276 yards and eight touchdowns in his senior season for the Fighting Illini and led the Big Ten Conference with an average of 6.92 receptions per game. He caught 19 TD passes during his four-year college career.

Now, Jenkins wants to make the jump to the NFL at last and show he belongs at the highest level.

``I think there's a natural process that goes on, a comfort level and that's something that's growing all the time and needs to continue to grow,'' Roman said.

Jenkins had established a new approach well before Crabtree was injured last month.

``My mindset going into this offseason was just trying to play more, regardless of whether Crabtree was hurt or not,'' he said. ``It's unfortunate that he got an injury, but my mindset didn't waver at all because he got hurt.''

And if Jenkins turns things around as he hopes this season, he will still be talking to his dad all the time - but certainly having more positive conversations.

They find a way to chat even considering the three-hour time difference with Al Jenkins living in Jacksonville, Fla.

``My dad stays up all night, regardless of what time it is,'' Jenkins said. ``He was going to be up so I could talk to him.''

NOTES: CB Carlos Rogers is recovering from an undisclosed injury, but Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio expect him to be fully healthy for training camp. ... DE Justin Smith also plans to be full strength for the start of camp late next month. He is working back from a partially torn left triceps that required surgery shortly after the team's 34-31 Super Bowl loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

LeSean McCoyMar 3 06:43p

Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy will reportedly be traded for Buffalo Bills LB Kiko Alonso.

Kiko AlonsoMar 3 06:43p

Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy will reportedly be traded for Buffalo Bills LB Kiko Alonso.

Tyvon BranchMar 3 05:23p

Oakland Raiders SS Tyvon Branch was officially released, as expected, Tuesday, March 3.

DeMarco MurrayMar 3 01:43p

Dallas Cowboys impending free-agent RB DeMarco Murray would likely re-sign with the Cowboys if the offer they make him is equal or similar financially to offers he receives from [ More ]

Cole BeasleyMar 3 01:13p

Dallas Cowboys WR Cole Beasley agreed to a four-year contract extension worth $13.1 million. The extension could be worth as much as $15.1 million.

Andre JohnsonMar 2 11:03p

Houston Texans WR Andre Johnson was asked to accept a reduced role, but he declined and asked to be traded or cut, according to people familiar with the situation.

Bernard PollardMar 2 07:23p

Tennessee Titans SS Bernard Pollard has been informed that he will be released, according to sources familiar with the situation. Pollard asked the Titans to release him last month. [ More ]

Le'Veon BellMar 2 04:33p

Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell could be suspended up to four games, according to the NFL's new substance-abuse policy. A two-game suspension is standard for a DUI resulting from [ More ]

J.D. WaltonMar 2 04:13p

New York Giants C J.D. Walton was released Monday, March 2.

Lance MooreMar 2 04:03p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Lance Moore was released Monday, March 2.

Brad JonesMar 2 03:53p

Free-agent LB Brad Jones (Packers) signed a two-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles Monday, March 2. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Charles ClayMar 2 03:12p

Miami Dolphins TE Charles Clay received the transition tag Monday, March 2, according to a source. The transition tag for tight ends is worth $7.071 million.

Dez BryantMar 2 02:03p

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant received the franchise tag Monday, March 2. Bryant would make $12.823 million if he signs the tender offer.

Jason Pierre-PaulMar 2 02:03p

New York Giants impending free-agent DE Jason Pierre-Paul received the franchise tag Monday, March 2, according to sources.

Justin HoustonMar 2 09:52a

Kansas City Chiefs LB Justin Houston had the franchise tag placed on him Monday, March 2, according to a source.

Ndamukong SuhMar 2 09:43a

Detroit Lions impending free-agent DT Ndamukong Suh will not receive the franchise tag Monday, March 2.

LaMarr WoodleyMar 1 07:12p

The Oakland Raiders plan to release DE LaMarr Woodley, a league source said Sunday, March 1. He made just five tackles in six games before his season ended due [ More ]

DeMarco MurrayMar 1 02:42p

Dallas Cowboys impending free-agent RB DeMarco Murray probably will hit the free-agent market since contract talks with him have gone slow, according to executive vice president Stephen Jones. Jones [ More ]

Dez BryantFeb 28 10:12p

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant is expected to receive the franchise tag by Monday, March 2, but during the NFL Scouting Combine, team owner Jerry Jones said that he [ More ]

DeMarco MurrayFeb 28 09:02p

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray could give the team a chance to match any offer he receives during free agency, according to executive vice president Stephen Jones. 'There is [ More ]

Dez BryantFeb 28 08:52p

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant will receive the franchise tag by the deadline Monday, March 2, executive vice president Stephen Jones confirmed Saturday, Feb. 28. The move will guarantee [ More ]

EJ ManuelFeb 28 02:22p

Buffalo Bills QB EJ Manuel still seems to be the No. 1 option at quarterback, for now, with Josh McCown heading to the Cleveland Browns. Buffalo could still add [ More ]

Josh McCownFeb 27 07:52p

Updating a previous report, Cleveland Browns QB Josh McCown signed a three-year deal Friday, Feb. 27, according to a source. Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed. McCown completed [ More ]

Josh McCownFeb 27 06:32p

Free-agent QB Josh McCown (Buccaneers) has signed with the Cleveland Browns, according to his agent. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Reggie WayneFeb 27 04:42p

Indianapolis Colts impending free-agent WR Reggie Wayne (triceps) recently underwent surgery on his triceps and has started his rehab. Wayne still has not decided if he will play in 2015.

Darnell DockettFeb 27 04:22p

Arizona Cardinals DT Darnell Dockett was released Friday, Feb. 27. The Cardinals would like to re-sign Dockett if he is not able to find a better offer from another team.

Brandon GibsonFeb 27 03:42p

Miami Dolphins WR Brandon Gibson was released Friday, Feb. 27.

Stephen BowenFeb 27 03:22p

Washington Redskins DE Stephen Bowen was released Friday, Feb. 27.

Adrian PetersonFeb 27 02:42p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson could be a trade target for the Indianapolis Colts. QB Andrew Luck hasn't had a successful running game behind him so far in Indianapolis. [ More ]

Adrian PetersonFeb 27 02:42p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson could be a trade option for the Arizona Cardinals with QB Carson Palmer and WR Larry Fitzgerald nearing the end of their careers in [ More ]

Adrian PetersonFeb 27 02:32p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson could be an option to be traded to the Dallas Cowboys. Peterson is from Palestine, Texas, which is between Dallas and Houston, and he's [ More ]

Devonta FreemanFeb 27 02:12p

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman could be the full-time back in new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's scheme next season, according tot general manager Thomas Dimitroff. 'My first impression of [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group