Why Jenkins' Injury is not a Bad Thing

As we have all heard by now, our much-maligned (often by me) number two wide receiver, Michael Jenkins, will miss four-to-six weeks with a shoulder injury. It will not require surgery but that timetable makes him questionable for week one in Pittsburgh and perhaps week two versus the Cardinals.

While I have not been Mr. Jenkins biggest fan (Exhibit A) and I hate to see any Falcon player suffer an injury, this could be a good thing for this team.

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#1 – It happened early. At worst, Jenkins will miss two games but in all likelihood he’ll be active for the opener.

#2 – He’s not that good. You won’t hear anyone talk about Jenkins without uttering the words: great. blocker. This is not because he is, in fact, a great blocker. This is code for: he’s not a good receiver. It’s the same way we say a white receiver has “sneaky speed”. No black receiver has “sneaky speed”. They’re just fast.

#3 – Good is the enemy of great. Jenkins’ has averaged 51 catches over the last three seasons. He’s been a decent #2 receiver. The problem with that is limits the Falcons from becoming great. If he was terrible it would be easy to replace him but since he’s good enough, it’s become easier to keep him in the starting lineup.

If Jenkins is your favorite Falcon or you are a blood relation, you’ll want to skip this rant section.


Rant time:

The “Jenkins is a great blocker” myth must be busted. I jumped on my soapbox about this during the inaugural episode of Courage and Fight but it’s worth mentioning again. The folks at Pro Football Focus graded every wide receiver in several categories last season and Jenkins was one of the worst blockers among receivers. (PFF went to a subscription model so I can’t verify but I believe he was around 86th.)

Myth #2: Jenkins is a great goalline target. With his 6’4″ frame, he’s a big target for Matt Ryan when the Falcons get in the red zone. This is another common response when defending Jenkins. It, too, is false. Consider this: Jenkins hasn’t scored a redzone touchdown since 2007. In fact, Matt Ryan has never thrown a redzone touchdown to Michael Jenkins.

If you want to say his size forces other team’s to change their defensive strategy so the Falcons can throw the ball to Roddy White or Tony Gonzalez, fine. If you say he’s a team leader who provides mentoring to the younger players, great. But let’s not just regurgitate the old line, “He’s a great blocker and goalline target.”

End of Rant.

So who gets the work in Jenkins’ absence? I’ve been very transparent in my desire to see Harry Douglas start. I think Kerry Meier should see time as well. I know Weems and Finneran will be heavy in the rotation because they have the most seniority but they are not the long-term answer.

I wish Jenkins a speedy recovery and hope he finally breaks out this season, but I’m excited to see what Douglas and Meier can bring. Besides, at the end of the day, Jenkins will be back in a few weeks so it’s a win-win for Falcon fans.

Your thoughts? Do you love Jenkins and think the Falcons are doomed without him? Are you looking forward to some HD? Let me know in the comments or start the conversation on Twitter.

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Tags: Atlanta Falcons Blocker Injury Michael Jenkins NFL Week One Wide Receiver

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