I agree that Jenkins is not a playmaker, not a game-breaker, and not even a go-to option in the sense that he can carry/support on offense.
But I don't think he has to be. Now or ever. Last off-season, I said in order for this offense to make the next step forward, it would have to get a 2nd option in the passing game. I knew that option wasn't going to be Jenkins. So I was looking at draft prospects such as Kenny Britt, Hakeem Nicks, Brian Robiskie, etc. if they happened to be available at the end of Round 2 for us. But that all changed when we traded for Gonzo.
Gonzo is that 2nd option. He's not the same guy he was in his prime, but he's still a guy that defenses have to respect, drawing coverage away from Roddy (and Jenkins) and gives Ryan two legit options to go on a given down.
Gonzo is signed through the 2011 season.
I said when we drafted Douglas that by the end of his 2nd season he would be the No. 2 option in the passing game. OBviously, his injured has derailed that prediction, but I believe once he comes back even if it takes him some time to do so, that he's still poised to be that guy by the end of 2011.
Douglas doesn't have the size to be a threat on the outside. But nothing says you can't have your second best receiver being a slot guy (see the New England Patriots). And IMO, the Falcons passing attack at WR is structured similar to what we saw in 2007 with the Patriots. Roddy = Moss, Douglas = Welker, and Jenkins = Stallworth. Now, they aren't the same players, but in the case of the Patriots, they had 2 vertical threats (Moss, Stallworth) and one possession receiver (Welker). We have similar with Douglas and Roddy beign the vertical threats, and Jenkins being the possession guy.
Now I'm not saying that we'll be as good or explosive as the 2007 Patriots offense.
But I really like our passing game as it projects over the next few seasons. Gonzo is probably going to decline a bit over the next few years until his contract is up, but I think that can be potentially off-set with the improvements I think Douglas can/will make as a complementary playmaker.
Now I'm not averse to improving the WR position. Finneran and Booker are at the end of the road, and this team is going to be in need of a 4th WR probably as soon as next year. But I don't think the Falcons have to go out of the way to find a quality player to fill that role. A good WR has been available late in the draft almost every season for the last several years. Pierre Garcon, Chansi Stuckey, Crayton, Colston, Kevin Walter, Housh, David Givens, are all 6th/7th round picks that have been drafted since 2001. If that guy winds up pushing Jenkins for the job, I got no beef there.
I think this passing game can be very successful as Ryan matures, develops, and improves and gets more out of his receivers as they build a rapport with them. And I don't think we need to dump/replace Jenkins in order for that to happen.
Jenkins has played poorly the past 3 games, I don't disagree with you there. His drop vs. New Orleans arguably cost us the game, his drop vs. Chicago resulted in a turnover that made the game closer than it should have been, and he played soft vs. the Cowboys. BUt prior to those 3 games, he had been playing fairly well the first month of the season. And he played fairly well last season.
As Cyril might say, he's had 3 bad games, so now he's sorta due for a good one.
And he gets to see DeAngelo Hall this week as Emmitt said, who he abused last year in the Oakland game.
I think people are overreacting a little bit because of the recent slump. Which is expected after losses (after all people are starting to wonder whether Matt Ryan is a franchise QB now
), but I don't think it's merited.
If he continues to drop passes in critical situations and/or play soft and tentative, then I'll get on him as well. But I don't think we've reached that point yet.