Jenkins begins camp behind experienced receivers

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Jenkins begins camp behind experienced receivers

SANTA CLARA -- It's not often that a first-round draft pick shows up to training camp with three proven players clearly ahead of him on the depth chart.But that is A.J. Jenkins' situation.Jenkins hit the practice field Monday, along with other 49ers rookies and selected veterans. The remaining the veterans are scheduled to report to camp on Thursday with the first full-squad practice slated for Friday.The 49ers have three established wide receivers on the roster: Michael Crabtree, Randy Moss and Mario Manningham. Unless there's an injury that keeps one of the top three players out of action for a while, there does not figure to be many chances for a fourth receiver to contribute.
The good thing for Jenkins is that he can learn a lot about the game as a rookie behind the scenes. He said he took advantage of being around those players during the offseason program."I've learned a lot," Jenkins said "I've talked to them over the offseason to see what they do and how they get their bodies ready for camp. I've taken a lot of advice from all of the guys, Michael Crabtree and Ted Ginn. I'm like a sponge taking in everything that I'm told."Jenkins never hooked up this offseason with Hall of Famer Jerry Rice, who reached out to Jenkins via Twitter.REWIND: Rice challenges Jenkins to run 'The Hill'
There was talk about Jenkins running the famed San Carlos hill that Rice and many 49ers in the 1980s and '90s used for offseason conditioning. Of course, now that training camp has started for Jenkins, his next opportunity to run with Rice will come after the season.While Jenkins might not figure prominently into the team's plans this season, there is a lot of interest in his development because of his first-round status. As the No. 30 overall pick, Jenkins discovered during the offseason that he'll be subject to more scrutiny than he ever experienced during his playing career at Illinois.In short, he had the kind of offseason that one would expect from a rookie receiver. Coach Jim Harbaugh pointed out after the first practice of the rookie minicamp that Jenkins was not in acceptable physical condition. But Jenkins' endurance was never questioned again after the first weekend. And on the final day of the team's mandatory minicamp, Jenkins provided the best catch that was seen during any of the offseason practices that were open to the media.Some outside reports may have been unfairly critical. Jenkins said he did not notice. But, clearly, he did."I don't pay attention to that stuff," Jenkins said. "I don't go on the Internet and I don't 'Google' my name. I don't do any of that stuff. There's no point because it's all about the 49ers."I made long strides, as far as that (conditioning and strength). Obviously, I had some criticism when I first came in from not being in shape, being a bust, all that other stuff. Right now, that's all irrelevant. I'm just trying to just help this team win, whether that's playing special teams or offense or being a real good teammate. Right now, that's my focus."Jenkins, who never returned a punt during his college career, worked in the offseason in that phase of the game. During one open practice, Jenkins and each of the return men struggled catching punts from Andy Lee in a stiff wind. But Jenkins said he is getting more comfortable."It's a lot more comfortable when you have Ted Ginn back there to coach you up and to have one of the best punters ever kicking to you every day," Jenkins said.The 49ers may have only four wide receivers active for regular-season game days with that fourth player -- more than likely, Ginn -- having a primary role as a return specialist.RELATED: Healthy, stronger Ginn reports with 49ers rookies
The 49ers may never have four receivers on the field at the same time because of the receiving prowess of tight end Vernon Davis and such running backs as Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter or LaMichael James being valuable on pass plays.So unless Jenkins can unexpectedly surpass Manningham on the depth chart, he figures to have a quiet rookie season. Kyle Williams likely begins camp ahead of Jenkins, too.
Here is a look at each team's 2011 production from the fourth-leading wide receiver:Arizona: Chansi Stuckey 4 catches, 39 yards, 0 TDs
Atlanta: Eric Weems 11-90-0
Baltimore: LaQuan Williams 4-46-0
Buffalo: Donald Jones 23-231-1
Carolina: Seyi Ajirotutu 1-4-0
Chicago: Devin Hester 26-369-1
Cincinnati: Andrew Hawkins 23-263-0
Cleveland: Carlton Mitchell 3-31-0
Dallas: Kevin Ogletree 15-164-0
Denver: Eddie Royal 19-155-1
Detroit: Rashied Davis 4-63-0
Green Bay: Donald Driver 37-445-6
Houston: Bryant Johnson 6-90-1
Indianapolis: None
Jacksonville: Chastin West 13-163-2
Kansas City: Keary Colbert 9-89-0
Miami: Clyde Gates 2-19-0
Minnesota: Greg Camarillo 9-121-0
New England: Julian Edelman 4-34-0
New Orleans: Devery Henderson 32-503-2
N.Y. Giants: Ramses Barden 9-94-0
N.Y. Jets: Derrick Mason 13-115-0
Oakland: Jacoby Ford 19-279-1
Philadelphia: Riley Cooper 16-315-1
Pittsburgh: Emmanuel Sanders 22-288-2
St. Louis: Austin Pettis 27-256-0
San Diego: Vincent Brown 19-329-2
San Francisco: Josh Morgan 15-220-1
Seattle: Sidney Rice 32-484-2
Tampa Bay: Arrelious Benn 30-441-3
Tennessee: Kenny Britt 17-289-3
Washington: Leonard Hankerson 13-163-0

Why Shanahan chose Hoyer and Barkley over Kaepernick

Why Shanahan chose Hoyer and Barkley over Kaepernick

PHOENIX – Coach Kyle Shanahan walked into a position with the 49ers in which he had no quarterbacks on the roster.

On the first two days of free agency, the 49ers added Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley. He determined they were better fits for the offense he would be installing over Colin Kaepernick, who started 64 regular-season and postseason games for the 49ers over the past 4 ½ seasons.

Shanahan appeared to be looking for quarterbacks who are more proficient at going through progressions and making plays from the pocket. Kaepernick was not deemed as a good fit for Shanahan's offense.

“Colin’s had a great career, and he’s done some really good things,” Shanahan said on Wednesday at the NFL owners meetings. “I think Colin has a certain skillset that you can put a specific offense to it that he can be very successful in.

“When we first looked at it, you got to look at each quarterback and what type of offense you want to put in. That wasn’t necessarily the direction I wanted to go. I wanted to put in a different type of offense.”

Kaepernick opted out of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent. General manager John Lynch has confirmed the 49ers would have released Kaepernick if he had not opted out of his deal.

“The type of offense I wanted to run was somewhat different and that’s why we went that type of direction,” Shanahan said.

The 49ers’ top target in free agency was Hoyer, who enters his ninth NFL season with his sixth different team. Shanahan was offensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns in 2014 in Hoyer’s second and final season with the club.

Hoyer started five games with Chicago in 2016 before getting sidelined with broken left arm. Hoyer completed 67 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and no interceptions in 200 attempts.

“All these questions about what I like in a quarterback, Brian is like that,” Shanahan said. “He’s obsessed with the game. He will learn your offense. He’ll be able to execute and run it. That gives other guys a chance to perform in your offense. If your quarterback can’t execute it and go through it, it doesn’t always matter what the O-line or the receivers are doing.

“With Brian, you have a very smart guy who works at it, will hang in the pocket and is fearless, will keep his eyes down the field and deliver the ball to the right spots. It gives people a chance to be successful.”

The 49ers also reached a contract agreement with Barkley, who started six games with the Bears due to injuries to Jay Cutler and Hoyer. Barkley saw the most extensive playing time of his career. He completed 59.7 percent of his passes with eight touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

“Just watching Matt since college, Matt’s always been a solid player, even coming out and playing at an early age at (USC),” Shanahan said. “He’s battle-tested in that way. He’s gone through the pressure of college, the pressure of the draft, being in the NFL, being with some different teams. Even watching Matt in Chicago this year, I think he played better this year than he has throughout his career. That means the guy is continuing to work at it.”

The 49ers figure to go to training camp with four quarterbacks, so the team is not finished at the quarterback position.

“We’ll look to add anyone who can really help us,” Shanahan said. “I’m very happy with the two we got. You know we’re not only going to take two to camp. So we got to see how the draft works out and then you see what else is out there.”

Goodell reacts to suggestion Kaepernick is being 'blackballed'

Goodell reacts to suggestion Kaepernick is being 'blackballed'

PHOENIX – NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday he does not believe quarterback Colin Kaepernick is being “blackballed” in his attempt to continue his career.

“I haven’t heard that from our clubs in any way that that’s an issue,” Goodell said during his press conference to conclude the NFL owners meetings.

“My experience in 35 years is that our clubs make independent evaluations of players. They work hard to try to improve their teams. But if they think a player can help improve their team, they’re going to do that.”

Kaepernick remains unsigned as an unrestricted free agent after opting out of his 49ers contract earlier this month. Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman this week was asked on ESPN’s "First Take" whether he felt Kaepernick was being blackballed.

"I'm sure he is," Sherman answered. "It's difficult to see because he's played at such a high level, and you see guys, quarterbacks, who have never played at a high level being signed by teams. So it's difficult to understand."

General manager John Lynch on Tuesday said the 49ers have not had any contact with Kaepernick since he and coach Kyle Shanahan met with Kaepernick on Feb. 22 in Santa Clara. The 49ers signed free-agent quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley have shown no interest in re-signing Kaepernick.

Kaepernick, 29, created a controversy last season when he opted to take a knee during the playing of the national anthem to protest racial inequality in the United States. Kaepernick has decided to stand for the national anthem this season.

Earlier in the day, Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh said it was “stupid” and “intellectually lazy” to think teams have colluded to keep Kaepernick out of the league. Last week, former 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, John’s brother, said Kaepernick is still an outstanding player and can win championships.

“I absolutely think he’s going to get signed,” John Harbaugh said. “I agree with Jim. He can win games for people.”