FLOWERY BRANCH, GA — As a six-year veteran with the Falcons, wide receiver Michael Jenkins has seen his fair share of competitive training camps. The wide receiver position is extremely crowded for camp, and plenty of wide outs are simply vying for a spot on the 53-man roster.
Jenkins, however, is nearly assured of a spot, as head coach Mike Smith said last week that the No. 1 — Roddy White — and No. 2 receivers are all but set.
That doesn't mean that Jenkins is just coasting through camp. The former Ohio State standout has been working to become more of a reliable option in the offense.
"A lot of guys have been playing football since they were pee-wee-sized, but there's always something that you try to work on each practice to get better," Jenkins said after Thursday's morning session. "Whether it's just one route or blocking or just anything, you try to find just to get better every time you step on the field."
What that means for Jenkins is making sure his hands are right, putting work into his routes and becoming more of a threat in the red zone.
Jenkins, 6-foot-4, 217 pounds, makes for quite the target in the red zone. Smith said there aren't many 6-5 cornerbacks in the league, so Jenkins' height automatically gives the Falcons an advantage when it comes to scoring. In his seventh year, Jenkins is being looked to as a red zone threat to be reckoned with.
"Michael creates a lot of mismatches, and it really becomes apparent there in the red zone because you've got to throw the ball up on the top shelf, and Michael is going to have a height advantage any time he's going up against corners in this league," Smith said. "We've got to make sure that Michael and Matt have continued to work on their timing because if people try to take away our other two guys, he's going to probably be the guy that's going to get some one-on-ones."
Cornerback update: The race to be the starting cornerback opposite Dunta Robinson has been highly scrutinized throughout camp. Brent Grimes, Christopher Owens and Dominique Franks have largely been considered as the top three vying for the spot, and the battle has been fierce.
The three cornerbacks look on pace to make the decision a very difficult one for the coaching staff. But it's about to get a little tougher.
Brian Williams, who has been slow to come back from a knee injury last season, will be back in full-team practice next week, Smith said. The other players in contention for the starting spot, however, aren't concerned about what the competition is doing. They're more concerned about their own games.
"I think, every rep, I'm trying to get better," Grimes said. "Every practice, I look at the film and say, 'What do I need to work on?' I'll ask Tim Lewis, our (position) coach, and I'll say, 'What should I work on today?' and I'll come out and do that and make it a point to work on certain aspects of my game every practice."
More from Grimes: Grimes created a Twitter profile and has been tweeting updates and chatting with fans. You can follow Grimes @BGrimes20.