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January 8, 2013
Roman: confident A.J. Jenkins will perform when called upon


Seventy one NFL rookies caught at least one pass in the NFL this year. Not one of them is named A.J. Jenkins, who saw one pass go his way during the 2012 regular season -- during Week 17 -- and dropped that opportunity.

Jenkins is one of the bigger unknowns as the 49ers prepare to open the postseason. He was inactive for 11 games this season but certainly will be in uniform Saturday against Green Bay given the 49ers' dearth of wide receivers. After starters Michael Crabtree and Randy Moss, the only two wideouts on the 53-man roster are Ted Ginn and Jenkins.

Offensive coordinator Greg Roman today said that Jenkins' quiet year was related to opportunity and not ability. Before the season began, Jim Harbaugh said he felt he had five No. 1 wideouts - Crabtree, Moss, Ginn, Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams - on the active roster, and Jenkins was buried beneath him.

Still, Harbaugh, Roman and receivers coach John Morton were able to carve out roles for each of those five players - Ginn's, obviously, mostly came on special teams - during the season. They never had one for Jenkins even after Williams and Manningham were lost for the season with injuries.

As a result, the 49ers are left in a situation where they might have to depend on a player who has very little regular-season experience.

"Those are things you have to weigh week to week," Roman said. "Every week, you've got to look at what you have and what gives you the best chance to win. But at the same time with an eye to the future. But we have every confidence that A.J. will perform very well when he gets that opportunity."

Top 10 Rookie receivers

1. Justin Blackmon (JAC) 64, 865 yards
1. Kendall Wright (TEN) 64, 626
3. Josh Gordon (CLE) 50, 805
4 T.Y. Hilton (IND) 50, 861
5. Michael Floyd (ARI) 45, 562
6. Chris Givens (STL) 42, 698
7. Rod Streater (OAK) 39, 584
8. T.J. Graham, (BUF) 31, 322
9. Alshon Jeffery (CHI) 24, 367
10. Ryan Broyles (DET) 22, 310

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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