Jenkins starting over Price as Falcons camp opens
When quarterback Michael Vick stood behind center for the first snap of team drills Monday, Jenkins and Dez White were the first-team receivers. Price and Brian Finneran worked together as the second group of receivers. Roddy White, this year's first-round pick from Alabama-Birmingham, has not yet signed.
Jenkins said he was told "a couple of days ago" that he would open camp as the starter.
"That's what we're going with so far," Jenkins said. "It's early right now. We'll see how it goes.
"I just want to come out here and continue to work and keep learning from the best and try to help this team as much as possible."
Jenkins did not have his first catch in his rookie season until Week 8 and he finished with only seven receptions for 119 yards. But the 6-foot-4, 217-pound Jenkins made a big impression on the coaching staff both with his audition at receiver and his work on special teams as a rookie.
"One of the reasons Michael Jenkins is getting the look he is getting is he demonstrated to us on special teams he is a tough guy and he will play aggressively and he will fight people," said coach Jim Mora.
Price has been criticized for his lack of aggressiveness and his shortage of big plays in his two seasons in Atlanta.
The Falcons traded a first-round draft pick in 2003 to Buffalo for Price, who then signed a seven-year, $42 million contract. Price caught 64 passes, including only three for touchdowns, in 2003, and was second on the team with 45 receptions for 575 yards and three touchdowns last year.
"I feel like I missed a lot of opportunities to make plays last year," Price said.
Still, Mora says he wants more production from his receivers. He said earlier this summer the veteran Price would have to compete for a starting job, and more motivation for Price came with the unveiling of the training camp depth chart.
Price insisted he sees this summer's challenge as no different from any other season.
"It's like that every year," Price said. "Every year you go into camp like that. I'm not one of those guys who feels like my job is secure ever.
"I feel good. I just want to go out there and make plays."
When asked what he believes he must do to retain the starting job, Jenkins said "Just make plays."
"When the ball comes my way, take advantage of it and get yards and help this team," Jenkins said. "Take advantage of the opportunity."
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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