JIm Harbaugh met with the media on Sunday, and as most of us probably expected, he was asked a few questions about wide receiver A.J. Jenkins. Harbaugh mentioned that the team was going to use Jenkins in some "additional roles to see how he does with that."
Someone followed up on the additional work, asking if it meant more work on offense aside from the X, split end role, or if he meant more special teams work. Harbaugh said that it meant more work on special teams and more about his role with the offense. He wrapped that part up by saying they'd like to see him get some work in the kickoff return game.
One upside to getting him in on kickoff return work is that he gets the ball with space and a chance to do something with that speed. And finding some success as a kick returner could be the kind of thing builds confidence elsewhere. Or, I suppose he could turn into the next Ted Ginn. I don't know.
In terms of working Jenkins around on offense, the timing couldn't be better. Friday's game against the Chiefs showed off one of the primary weaknesses in A.J. Jenkins' game. Press coverage just about ends his day. Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith is one of the better press corners in the league, and he had little trouble taking Jenkins out of his rhythm fairly quickly. Ideally Jenkins would learn to handle press coverage, but at the very least, the 49ers can consider moving him around to flanker and slot spots where he would be off the line a little bit more.
One reason for this post was so I could post a rundown someone did of most of Jenkins' Friday snaps. User rowland.mosbergen took some time to go back through the film, and posted some quick analysis and thoughts in our weekend post concerning the first cut to 75 players later next week. Here is what he had to say. Big thanks to him for putting together these thoughts:
Quarter 1 9:01 aligned right on the Line of Scrimmage
CB gave him a 5 yard cushion, AJ did an inside move and was open straight away. Would have been (possibly) an easy completion with a QB 3 step drop and first read (in my opinion).
Q1 8:18 Left LOS with #27 S.Smith as CB
Falling over, pass not on back shoulder, #27 got a hand on it. If the pass was on the back shoulder, #27 wouldn't have gotten a hand on it (in my opinion).
Q1 6:05 Right LOS 7 yard cushion.
Would have been an easy completion as a first read get-the-ball-out-of-my-hands throw. He ended up running a go route and Tolzien got sacked
Q1 5:38 Left LOS
This was a run and he still ran his route to distract the CB on press coverage. Didn't gain much separation
Q1 5:01 Left LOS #27
Fought off and had inside leverage and a half step separation on #27. Can't be sure if there was a safety over the top.
Q1 1:49 Right #24 Brandon Flowers
This was a run and he didn't slow down #24, who helped make the tackle behind the LOS
Q1 1:14 Right #24
Another run, but this time he blocked #24 successfully and didn't let up even a little after the whistle.
Q1 0:36 Left LOS #27
10 yard cushion but McCoy looked left and scrambled. Blocked out #27 for McCoy.
Q1 0:07 Left LOS
It was a run and he ran his route all the way through.
Q2 15:00 Left LOS #27 on LOS too
Ran route but couldn't see anything
Q2 14:20 Left off the LOS #27 on LOS
McCoy scramble. Jenkins was open by a yard or two on an inside breaking route. He was going the opposite way to McCoy so he couldn't block for him.
Q2 13:51 Left LOS #27
Easily beat #27 inside (possibly had safety help?) QB looked right first.
Q2 13:20 Right LOS
Didn't get any separation, not even close. Didn't get any push off the defender, didn't fake a route. Needed a back shoulder fade but wouldn't have been a high percentage pass anyway. Note: QB threw it between AJ and Celek
Q2 9:00 Left LOS #27
Run play - kept #27 at arms length easily
Q2 8:28 Right LOS
CB not pressing on LOS, straight into back pedal.
Q2 8:23 Right LOS
CB 6 yard cushion. Go route - but #24 was already backing off with a 6 yard cushion.
Q2 8:18 Left LOS #27
Run play. CB followed him, didn't realise straight away but didn't press. AJ easily beat him to the inside leverage.
Q2 7:39 Left LOS CB on LOS
CB tried to put a hand but AJ blew right by him inside. AJ has full step on #27 with safety around 15 yards away. Could have been a 10-15 yard gain. LB in coverage on Jewel Hampton but a good throw might have made it through with some touch on it?
Q2 6:18 Right LOS
Crossing route on #24. Half a step with inside leverage. Could have been a first down but #27 was also in zone ready for a big hit. Targeted to K.Osgood
Q2 2:31 Left LOS
RUN - held CB off easily
Q2 2:10 Off LOS left
Looking ofr back shoulder, not much separation, but got off clean on the LOS
Q2 2:05 Left LOS Press coverage #27
Small window for back shoulder but not much separation
Q2 2:00 Left LOS (#24 I think)
Beat #24 clearly on the inside
Q2 1:53 Left LOS (#27)
Beat his man clearly inside after selling outside and then square in
Q2 1:50 Left LOS
Couldn't get off press on an inside route. Stopped in his tracks.
Q3 14:55 Left LOS CB #38 with a 4 yard cushion
Faked a quick pass then ran inside slant on a run play
Q3 14:19 Left LOS CB #38 on LOS
He got inside leverage easily on a go route. Clean release - no safety that I could see
Q3 13:53 Left LOS, CB #38 on LOS
Clean off LOS, outside route looke like separation. Came back after QB scrambled and had position for a catch if the ball was thrown.
Q3 13:09 Left LOS, CB on LOS
shoved his man on the run play.
Q3 12:30 Left LOS, CB on LOS
Inside slant to clear away defender for swing pass to RB. Good body position to receive a pass with a little separation.
Q3 11:08 Left LOS / CB on LOS
Inside release using his hands to fight off CB. 1 to 2 yard separation on outside cut. This was the catch and the penalty on SF.
I don't think he played much after that so I stopped looking for him.