<
>

Jenkins starting over Price as Falcons camp opens

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- While the Atlanta Falcons await the
receiver they drafted in the first round, 2004 top pick Michael Jenkins opened training camp as a starter over Peerless Price.

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.
With Buffalo, Price caught 16 scoring passes in the 2001-02
seasons, but in Atlanta he has had to adjust to a run-oriented
offense with Vick, Warrick Dunn and T.J. Duckett.
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."