There's something rotten in Flowery Branch.
Perhaps the always secretive Mike Smith either truly doesn't know what's going on with Michael Jenkins' shoulder, which he injured in the Friday Night Lights game on—wait for it—Friday. Perhaps it's a more serious injury than many have feared, and Smith is waiting until Monday to break the bad news. Or perhaps he just really enjoys screwing with reporters and there's nothing really going on.
Obviously, I'm nervous about this. But the question of why I should be nervous about a receiver who has come to epitomize mediocrity in his Falcons career is one worth asking.
I brought this up in the comments the other day, but I have a reluctance to plan for life without Jenkins. A serious injury that would keep him out for several weeks would mean facing some unpleasant realities I'm not entirely sure I'm prepared for.
"But Dave," you ask, eyes as wide as Thomas Johnson, "Jenkins sucks!"
Well, yes and no. Jenkins is basically an average #2 wide receiver. He's not as talented a blocker as he's commonly made out to be, and he's also not as awful a wide receiver as he's made out to be. He's a known quantity that will quietly give you some solid production and then make you howl your head off when he flashes the hands that prompted the bitter nickname of Oven Mitts.
The problem, as I see it, is that the Falcons do not have a known, productive player to take his place if he goes down. Brian Finneran is in some ways the most logical option, but he can barely stay on the field and he's got slower wheels than a Flintstones car at this stage in his career. Kerry Meier's also an option, and based solely on his training camp performance he looks like the option. But we don't know how he's going to fare in game situations yet, and a trial by fire may be excellent or it may be brutal.
There's always Harry Douglas, too, but the Falcons seem intent on using him out of the slot.
I may be over-fretting this, but I'd like Meier to ascend into the starting lineup because the team has watched him significantly outplay Jenkins, not because Jenkins is hurt. Missing him also forces the team to dig into free agency or carry one of our crop of undrafted free agent receivers, leaving the depth chart full of question marks.
I'm all for replacing Jenkins. We need better production out of his spot on the field, as Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez can't be expected to carry us every game by themselves. I would just prefer we had a stronger crop of in-house options, and that our hand wasn't forced. That's why I'll hope Jenkins is healthy come Monday.