Wide receiver A.J. Jenkins said he wants to be a different player from this past season and is preparing for 2013. He said he plans to work out with Colin Kaepernick for a part of the offseason. With the 2012 season in the books, Jenkins wants to get better than before.
“I want to contribute a lot more than I have been,” said Jenkins. “So I’m going to make that happen and come back bigger, faster, stronger. “
With Jenkins buried on the depth chart behind Kyle Williams and Mario Manningham, he was inactive for the first 13 games of the season. When Williams and Manningham went down with ACL injuries, he suited up for the last three regular season games and all three playoff games. He was on the field for three snaps in the Super Bowl, but wasn’t thrown to. Jenkins ended up being targeted only once against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 17 and dropped the ball on third and five.
Despite being a spectator through most of the season, Jenkins said he learned more about the game. The veteran presence on the 49ers has helped him know the ins and outs of the NFL.
“I am stronger and bigger than [my college days],” said Jenkins. “I’ve just [been] knowing the game more from guys like [Randy] Moss [Michael] Crabtree and [Frank] Gore to give me that knowledge.”
The 49ers will have to depend on Jenkins more for next season. Williams is ahead of schedule from rehabbing his torn ACL, while Manningham was still on crutches for the Super Bowl. Both players are expected to be back for the 2013 season, but coming off ACL injuries, there is still an unknown if they will be back at full strength.
On the other hand, Ted Ginn Jr. and Randy Moss are going to be free agents. Moss has openly said he wants to play next year but not necessarily with the 49ers. He felt he wasn’t utilized properly this past season.
When Trent Baalke drafted Jenkins last April, he liked the hands and speed that he possessed for a receiver. The one flaw that he felt Jenkins needed to work on was to hit the weight room.
“Obviously, they made me a first-round choice for that purpose,” Jenkins said. “I’m going to accountable this offseason and make myself the kind of player that they want me to be.”
Jenkins said he would go home for a couple days in Florida before returning to Santa Clara to train in the offseason. He plans on watching film and possibly spend time with Kaepernick in Orlando to train.
“We’re already great friends off the field,” said Jenkins. “Hopefully we can get that [same] chemistry on the field.”