Restricted Free Agent: Ronney Jenkins

In 2001 Ronney Jenkins led the league in kick returns. Not so last season. Under new special teams coach Steve Crosby his style of running back kicks changed and Jenkins suffered. At the midpoint of the season he was averaging just 20.7 yards per kickoff. Finally when he was showing signs of playing well, he was benched. He ended the season with 40 returns for a 23.1 average, and a long of 56.

Tom Criswell's Take:

Ronney Jenkins: This decision breaks my heart, for the last several years I have thought of Jenkins as the best and have always thought they should have used him like Ronnie Harmon was used in the 90's. Jenkins has been one of the best in the league on Kick Returns 2 years running, well until this year. I do not know what happened but for some reason his production went down, blame it on Schemes, Coaching or lack of instinct but something happened to put him in the Coach's doghouse. If the Chargers were smart they would keep him and let him do what he does best, RUN, the kid has legs and next to TD (Tim Dwight) he is the fastest on the team. He can easily outrun the coverage units and consitently in the past started the Chargers off in good field position.

The Chargers wont resign him, because he is in both Steve Crosby's and Marty Schottenheimer's doghouse for some reason, a reason none of us might ever know. They seemed content to head in another direction by not dressing Jenkins the last 3 games and putting Dwight or Reche Caldwell back to return kicks. That is a shame to let a talent like that go to end up on another team that could come back to haunt you in the end.

I give Jenkins a 0 percent chance of re-signing with the Chargers

Dr. J's Take:

This is a head scratcher. Jenkins was a consistent performer in 2001 returning the kicks and coming in on occasion as a 3rd down back. Once Schottenheimer came in, his opportunities dropped and thus, his number dropped. What exactly happened is a complete mystery. But keeping Tamarick Vanover to return punts for as long as he did and not giving Jenkins a chance to do what he does best is one of Schottenheimer's mistakes and just one sign that troubles me with his tendency to take his "my way or the highway" approach.

Jenkins is gone, sadly, with 0% chance of re-signing…

Denis Savage's Take:

Crosby should be the one to go after seeing special teams be the detriment to us all season, unless I am mistaken, and it really was the players, which is not out of the realm of possibility. We have a team that is not willing to learn a new scheme. Special teams changed and no one changed with it. Jenkins has been a solid returner, but when his long on the season is 56 and that comes in one of the last weeks of the season, there is a problem.

Who is available is the next question, and will they do better next year. Jenkins will not be back after getting benched the final two games of the season. Now the Chargers will look to find one person who can have two roles with the team, such as Tim Dwight now does returning punts and as a capable receiver. Too many roster spots were just given away last year and that will be the ultimate downfall of Jenkins who is considered a "specialist".

Jenkins has a 1% chance of re-upping.

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