FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. - Only three games into the season, Michael Jenkins has yet to pull Roddy White aside and tell his rookie teammate to relax.
Perhaps more than anyone else in the Atlanta locker room, Jenkins understands how badly White wants to catch the first pass of his NFL career.
"There's been no need to do that," Jenkins said. "He just has to be patient, and everything will work itself out."
White, a first-round draft pick from Alabama-Birmingham, has played in each of the Falcons' first three games, but there's little to show for his efforts, at least statistically.
"I see improvement watching film and also taking reps in practice," White said.
Jenkins was a rookie last season and the 29th overall pick as the Falcons debuted a new offense that first-year coordinator Greg Knapp brought with him from San Francisco.
It didn't take Knapp and offensive line coach Alex Gibbs very long to realize their team's strong suit. No team could run the football like the Falcons, who led the league for the first time in franchise history with 2,672 rushing yards.
Entering this week's game against Minnesota (1-2), not much has changed in offensive statistics for the Falcons (2-1). They are far ahead of every other team in rushing and among the NFL's least productive in passing.
White's involvement has been minimal. He lines up mostly in sets with three wideouts, but he's been a target just six times, according to Stats Inc. Told that Jenkins didn't catch his first pass as a rookie until a Week 8 victory at Denver, White tried to keep a positive mind-set.
"I'm used to catching six or seven balls a game, so this is definitely new to me," White said. "It's not like I'm complaining. I know I have to play my way onto the field, and then everything will fall in place."
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