Thursday, August 15, 2013

Ball in rookies' court as Patriots cut Jenkins


The New England Patriots' wide receiver crew got a little younger Thursday, as the team cut 10-year vet Michael Jenkins.

The move, though not surprising given his output and injuries this offseason, puts all the more pressure on the young and mostly untested wideouts that remain, namely the rookie trio of Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce and Kenbrell Thompkins.

Jenkins was unavailable for the team's first preseason game against the Eagles last weekend, which likely sealed the deal for the 31-year-old. While solid during mini-camp, he's reportedly been overshadowed by the young guys since they've returned from their own injuries.

The three aforementioned rookies led the receiving corps against Philly, tallying nine receptions for 89 yards in total. Thompkins has been the real excitement out of the trio, far and away the most impressive throughout camp, according to ESPNBoston's Mike Reiss.

The progression of the rookies has come faster than expected, though there's still work to be done. As we noted after the first preseason game, the offense will likely lean on the running backs until everyone is up to speed.

Jenkins has ample time to find a new home before the beginning of the season, which may have been part of coach Bill Belichick's timing with the news. The vet has amassed more than 4,000 yards and 25 touchdowns in his lengthy career, splitting time with both the Vikings and the Falcons.

Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman and Matthew Slater are now the eldest receivers of the bunch, all at 27 years of age.

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