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A.J. Jenkins Seizes Opportunity

Posted Jun 11, 2013

A.J. Jenkins has made the most of offseason workouts.

The San Francisco 49ers are looking for a young wide receiver to emerge this offseason and according to the team’s head coach and offensive coordinator, A.J. Jenkins has made the most of his opportunities in offseason workouts.

“I thought the last two days of last week had the best two days he's had since I've been here,” Greg Roman, San Francisco’s offensive coordinator said prior to the start of a three-day mandatory minicamp.

Jenkins’ stellar conclusion to the team’s Organized Team Activities was also noted by the head man on the 49ers coaching staff, Jim Harbaugh.

“I thought A.J. had his best week of football since he’s been a 49er,” Harbaugh said. “He continues to build on that.”

The second-year wideout recorded no catches as a rookie, but the former first-round draft pick has been making a case to earn a greater gameday role with his improved play.

“Anybody that goes from Year 1 to Year 2, it’s a great window of opportunity to improve in a fashion that you’ll never have again in your career,” Harbaugh said. “You’re going from doing things for the first time to now you’re doing everything you’ve already done.”

In Jenkins’ case, the former Illinois wide receiver is more mentally stable in his understanding of Roman’s offense. Jenkins is building on his knowledge and growing a stronger rapport with starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

It was much harder to grasp the volume of San Francisco’s offense as a rookie. But in Jenkins first full offseason with the team, the comfort level has greatly improved. It's night and day compared to what he experienced on the practice fields as a rookie.

"It’s a constant install," Jenkins said. "And then if you don’t know what's going on the previous day, then the next install, you’re behind because you don’t know what’s going on.”

Jenkins has a greater understanding of what's being asked of him these days. He's also shown a willingness to take extra measures to improve his stature.

Jenkins has added weight this offseason and spent time working out and running routes with Kaepernick prior to OTAs.

The increased workload has paid off. Jenkins has made notable improvements this offseason.

When the 49ers ran a move the ball period last week in OTAs, Jenkins made several receptions in the drill that replicates two-minute drives.

Roman noted that Jenkins made "clutch catches."

The 49ers coordinator noted that the second-year wideout made the most of his reps and needs to continue his play-making heading into minicamp.

Jenkins understands that the wide receivers on the team are all looking for more snaps with Michael Crabtree being out for awhile with an Achilles injury. Jenkins wants to continue his progress at minicamp and carve out a bigger role in 2013.

“My mindset going into this offseason was to play more anyway, regardless of Crabtree hurt or not,” Jenkins said. “It’s unfortunate he had the injury, but in my mindset didn't waver at all because he got hurt.”

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