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Nice article on Jenks

Tim Mazetti

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Atlanta Falcons: Hanging Onto Ball, Michael Jenkins Having an Impact

By Ryan Comstock (Falcons Featured Columnist) on December 8, 2010 327

Michael Jenkins will never make the Pro Bowl. He'll never be mentioned along with top-flight receivers like Roddy White, and he has zero chance of making it to Canton.

Still, he is a valuable member of the Atlanta Falcons offense.

After missing the first five games of the season with a shoulder injury, Jenkins returned with a vengeance Week 6 in Philadelphia, catching five balls for 99 yards.

The only thing holding Jenkins back from being a reliable target in his seven-year career was his propensity for dropped passes.

To be fair to the Ohio State product, some of that had to with Michael Vick throwing 200-mph rockets at receivers five yards away. In 2008, Matt Ryan's rookie year, Jenkins cleaned up his act, before relapsing last season.

Remember, it was Jenkins who caught Ryan's 26-yard sideline throw with one second left against Chicago in 2008 to set up the game-winning field goal—the game that verified, for me at least, that "Matty Ice" was something special.

It was also Jenkins who came away with another very tough sideline catch against Baltimore on 3rd-and-long on Atlanta's eventual game-winning drive this year.

With White and Tony Gonzalez getting most of the targets, and deservedly so, defenses must commit three or four players to them alone on every play. This means that Jenkins is consistently left in single-coverage.

Although Jenkins will never produce as much as White, they clearly enjoy rooting for each other. Like everyone on Atlanta's roster, they just want to win.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images Now, White and Gonzalez know how to get open, but when they are unable to break free, Jenkins has been able to beat his man.

He'll normally catch between two and five balls a game, but they are often crucial first-down catches. He was also the recipient of last week's winning touchdown pass when he was left one-on-one with a Tampa defender.

As more of a possession receiver, Jenkins will never put up the mind-boggling stats that White has or build up the resume of Gonzalez.

He is, however, making a solid impact on the team, and his blocking skills help Michael Turner break his signature long runs.

A way the Falcons could take even more advantage of Jenkins strengths, is when they take White out at times and leave Jenkins as the only receiver. A personnel set like this says "run, run, run" to a defense, making it a perfect time for play-action.

The scouting report on Jenkins says he has good speed, but little burst or explosiveness—meaning it takes him a bit to get going.

On such a play, though, with the defenses playing run and potentially biting on a play-fake, Jenkins could sneak behind the defense, given Ryan gets the protection he needs.

We could always count on Mr. Ice to throw the ball away if nothing's there, too.

While it remains to be seen if the Falcons will take my play-calling advice, one thing is for sure.

Jenkins may not have the numbers that make people drool, but he is a valuable piece to the puzzle in a season that is shaping up to be special.

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No one is talking about it maybe because the numbers are not there, but Jenkins is playing better it seems now than he has ever. Just when you start to forget he's even on the team sometimes during the game, out of nowhere right when we have our backs up against the wall this season he pulls another '08 Chicago Bears at the Dome game saving play out of his hat. There has been at least three times this season where I thought we were done and some rcvr comes up with THAT play and its been Jenks. I'm happy for him cause that one dropped pass last season had me sick with him and just like this team when the chips are down, he focused, picked himself off the turf and made it happen.

Good for him... ^_^

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