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Harbaugh still won’t concede to “so-called experts”

Jim Harbaugh AP

Lest you think giving up on his 2012 first-rounder before he caught an NFL pass was going to change Jim Harbaugh’s thinking, the 49ers coach was not ready to concede to the “so-called experts” who declared A.J. Jenkins a flop a year ago.

Harbaugh, like everyone else, invoked the “fresh start” both Jenkins and Jon Baldwin were getting after the 49ers and Chiefs traded disappointing former first-rounders.

But it was very different than Harbaugh’s initial volley at reports Jenkins wasn’t doing so well from a year ago.

“For those — the scribes, pundits, so-called experts — who have gone so far as to say that he’s going to be a bust, should just stop,” Harbaugh said on July 29, 2012, via Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com. “I recommend that because they’re making themselves look more clueless than they already did.

“I’ll go on record: A.J. is going to be an outstanding football player. So far in camp and what he’s done in the offseason has led us to believe nothing but he’ll be an outstanding football player in the National Football League.”

Harbaugh went back to his own experience going from Chicago to Indianapolis to defend the possibility that Jenkins might turn into something other than what he appears to be at the moment.

“A.J., the why, and that kind of thing, . . . I can speak from personal experience,” Harbaugh said. “I was rejected by a team, sent to another team, and with the next team, my signature years came. So it can be a real positive. That’s what everybody hopes for in this situation.

“A.J. is a very talented player. He’s never been an issue or a problem as a teammate. He competes. He works very hard. There’s no reason that both these guys can’t end up having a great career.”

From the moment the 49ers drafted Jenkins, he was viewed as an outlier, someone whose selection was so far off the normal projections that it drew notice, and criticism. In this case, however, the scribes and pundits weren’t the ones who ended up looking clueless at the end of the day, and the so-called experts were glad to sell for pennies on the dollar.

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41 Responses to “Harbaugh still won’t concede to “so-called experts””
  1. joetoronto says: Aug 20, 2013 8:40 AM

    Do you still have 5 #1 receivers, coach?

  2. tombradyswig says: Aug 20, 2013 8:44 AM

    bust, plain and simple! you and your ego need to get over it Jim!

  3. onlythebest36 says: Aug 20, 2013 8:44 AM

    I bet he was screaming with spit coming out of his mouth during these statements.

  4. bmoreravens1012013 says: Aug 20, 2013 8:50 AM

    Classic….

  5. tfaulk says: Aug 20, 2013 8:53 AM

    “I was rejected by a team, sent to another team, and with the next team, my signature years came. So it can be a real positive. That’s what everybody hopes for in this situation.”

    So, at best, he’ll be good in four or five years when he’s with his third team. How is that not a complete confirmation of what others are saying about SF’s draft pick?

  6. raiderlyfe510 says: Aug 20, 2013 8:55 AM

    What’s funny is that all of the local scribes and pundits are patting themselves on their backs claiming “they were right.”

    But I remember when Harbaugh first defended AJ Jenkins you couldn’t find anyone in the local media to take ownership of calling AJ a bust so nobody could figure out who Harbaugh was addressing.

    But now the media was right??? Please. Nobody in the media admitted to declaring AJ a bust last year. They were all behind Harbaugh and his defense of AJ. Bay Area media…boy, I tell you.

  7. chalkruz1989 says: Aug 20, 2013 8:56 AM

    As a New York Giants and University of Southern California fan I dislike Jim Harbaugh as the next guy. He can spin it however he wants, but the truth of the matter is that pick was a waste.

    But, he’s not the first nor last coach to be a part of a draft day blunder. And, he could be right. Who’s to say that A.J. Jenkins won’t have a successful season in Kansas City?

  8. jimmyt says: Aug 20, 2013 9:00 AM

    His “signature years”. What a joke. The guy just wasn’t a very good QB and I believe had a lucky season as a HC. He is an obnoxious, loud mouth, know-it-all weirdo. He can’t draft and puts too much emphasis on adding veterans as if his team was “one player away” when in reality that team is still in rebuild mode – they just don’t realize it and think because of one lucky year they are an elite team that will dominate for ten years. It won’t happen. The team will start falling apart and the poor drafts, free agent signings and other personnel moves they have made will cause an implosion and we won’t have to listen to this idiot any longer.

  9. PeterKingLovesCoqAVin says: Aug 20, 2013 9:06 AM

    Digging up year-old quotes to get the last word does nothing to battle the criticism that you’re a little too thin-skinned for your profession.

  10. leftygun says: Aug 20, 2013 9:10 AM

    Shocker. Harbaugh refuses to admit he was wrong. I’m surprised he didn’t find a way to blame the officials.

  11. jonkchar says: Aug 20, 2013 9:15 AM

    I hear reports that the 49ers are reaching out to #16 and #80…

  12. jjb0811 says: Aug 20, 2013 9:17 AM

    eating crow!

  13. thelastbesthope says: Aug 20, 2013 9:19 AM

    If he said anything else, he’d ruin the kids confidence and whatever chance he has to make it work in KC.

    Class

  14. raiderufan says: Aug 20, 2013 9:22 AM

    I think the match between team and player was just really bad in this case.

    He clearly needs to grab the reins and prove something VERY soon but this kid caught 90 balls for 1,100 yards at Illinois in 2011. He can catch.

    If he’s gonna get it on track I think Reid is the guy he wants to be with. He’s done well with WR’s that are thin in frame with top end speed.

  15. hackphx says: Aug 20, 2013 9:25 AM

    The “I told you so”vendetta shows the pundits are still clueless. AJ is an enigma and the 49ers blew it. Yet everyone seems to agree the talent is there. He can’t adapt. Certainly not an endorsement of a #1. Still calling him a “bust” in his first camp was unsupported and obviously negatively impacted this thin-skinned guy. Brings to mind such real world phenomena as the variance between observed and unobserved data, and self-fulfilling prophecy. Here’s a real world observation from an old coach. AJ is fundamentally a slot guy. The 49ers have that in Williams, Austin, and their mismatch plans for Vernon Davis and LMJ. What they need is a big strong wideout. Baldwin fills that bill. Good coaching and mentoring from Anquan and Davis may make something of him yet.

  16. pencilmonkeymagic says: Aug 20, 2013 9:31 AM

    The question isn’t so much what will become of Jenkins – it’s more what the 9ers FO were thinking when they spent a first round pick on him.

  17. metalhead65 says: Aug 20, 2013 9:33 AM

    experts know more than coaches,that is why they write about football instead of you know actually having anything to do with running a team. but I hear they do really well at that when they play madden.

  18. ubepunkedagain says: Aug 20, 2013 9:33 AM

    Bernie Kosar could have told you he stinks.

  19. jiveturkeygobbler says: Aug 20, 2013 9:35 AM

    At the end of the.day? The day is not over until Aj is out of the league.

  20. smcgaels1997 says: Aug 20, 2013 9:39 AM

    Seriously who cares. Jenkins was initially projected as a high 2nd rd pick taken low
    1st rd. Stephen Hill who was picked later was thought to be a sure fire hit has done about as much also. So what they missed, like nobody ever makes a bad draft, and considering how solid theirs at 3 drafts are its nothing.

  21. mack2x says: Aug 20, 2013 9:43 AM

    Bust.

  22. 6ball says: Aug 20, 2013 9:44 AM

    .

    Drafting NFL caliber WRs must be a difficult assignment. It appears that many highly touted players don’t work out while many later round / free agents become solid contributors..

    .

    Even the best GMs have had a few WRs they drafted that simply didn’t pan out.

    .

  23. micknangold says: Aug 20, 2013 9:52 AM

    You really can’t call him a bust as a player until his career is over. But for the Niners, the pick was a bust.

  24. eastcoastninerfan says: Aug 20, 2013 9:54 AM

    When I graduated college I got a job at a bank, it really wasn’t for me and I ended up going in another field. However I used my superior to provide me a reference to help me find my ways and continue my career. I thank that boss for not only giving me a chance, but for standing by me when it was obvious I wasn’t the greatest banker.

    Yes, Jenkins is a bust for being drafted in the first round but I commend Coach for standing by this young man as he simply tries to find his place.

    Oh, and I’m doing just fine now in my new career. Hat’s off to my manager and Coach.

  25. sscl8888 says: Aug 20, 2013 9:59 AM

    Sometimes Harbaugh needs to be quiet. I remember him saying how he would get the 49ers after the 49ers destroyed his bears playoff team. Not! Aj is the only wr who in a non strike year never caught a pass. Even rashaun woods caught passes his first year. Man up jim will you, it was a ad pick, move on already!

  26. dgreenfi says: Aug 20, 2013 10:01 AM

    I didn’t know one of the Baldwin brothers was in the NFL.

  27. rainponcho87 says: Aug 20, 2013 10:14 AM

    I am all for accountability. We need more of that (eg Wall Street). Harbaugh was trying to defend a player early in his career and went too far. He should be reminded of his quotes. But it is a two way street. People in the media should be also be called to the carpet for opinions expressed or predictions made that turned out completely wrong. Until that starts happening, I am going to give Harbaugh a pass.

    To the guy above who says the team only builds through free agency: why bothering commenting, when you don’t even follow the team. The 49ers have had one of the highest ratios of home grown talent. Harbaugh has been with the team for only 2 seasons, and has taken the team deep in the playoffs both years. Until whatever he is doing stops working and they go back to losing, I think I will trust his judgement of how to put together a team over over yours.

  28. logicailvoicesays says: Aug 20, 2013 10:14 AM

    It’s hard to tell the difference between the two Harbaughs. Neither one can even dream of stopping the Redskins. Neither Harbaugh can hold a candle to Mike Shanahan, one of the best coaches in NFL history. #TheRedskinsareGodsteamandtheycan’tbestoppped

  29. Grulks says: Aug 20, 2013 10:35 AM

    I seem to recall both Brett Favre and Steve Young being labled as busts by the media. Both were entirely given up on by the respective teams that drafted them. Both went on to gave HOF careers as well as suoerbowl wins.

    I’m not saying ths will be the case with AJ, but it DOES happen. Sometimes a different environment creates a different stimulus allowing players to excell. Sometimes, they just are another Vernon Gholston. Only time will tell.

  30. vermonator says: Aug 20, 2013 11:10 AM

    Yeah, he was wrong, but what a bunch a vultures you all are… I bet not one 49ers fan among you. The haters just keep hating… Give ‘em hell coach!

    May your Hate remain all season long…
    Go Niners!

  31. asimonetti88 says: Aug 20, 2013 11:22 AM

    jimmyt says:
    Aug 20, 2013 9:00 AM

    His “signature years”. What a joke. The guy just wasn’t a very good QB and I believe had a lucky season as a HC. He is an obnoxious, loud mouth, know-it-all weirdo. He can’t draft and puts too much emphasis on adding veterans as if his team was “one player away” when in reality that team is still in rebuild mode – they just don’t realize it and think because of one lucky year they are an elite team that will dominate for ten years. It won’t happen. The team will start falling apart and the poor drafts, free agent signings and other personnel moves they have made will cause an implosion and we won’t have to listen to this idiot any longer.
    ———————————————————-

    Wow, where do I start? Not a very good QB? Did you ever watch him play? Former Pro Bowler who was an Aaron Bailey drop away from the Super Bowl. He finished 2nd in MVP voting one year!

    As far as “one lucky year” as a coach… he was 29-6 at USD, 29-21 at Stanford (and 20-6 in his last two years after completely rebuilding the program) and 24-7-1 in the NFL, for an overall record of 82-34-1 as a head coach (a .700 winning percentage). And talking only about the NFL, he’s won 13 and 11 games, two division titles and made two NFC Championship Games and a Super Bowl… so which “one lucky year” are you referring to? Because you could be referring to any year he’s been a head coach…

  32. Rick Spielman is a Magician says: Aug 20, 2013 11:26 AM

    “I’ll go on record: A.J. is going to be an outstanding football player. So far in camp and what he’s done in the offseason has led us to believe nothing but he’ll be an outstanding football player in the National Football League.”

    So we traded him.

  33. travisblink619 says: Aug 20, 2013 1:08 PM

    I don’t particularly care if Harbaugh and Baalke got 4th or 5th round talent in the 1st this go around, because often times they get 1st round talent at other picks. Watch Lattimore blow up next year when he gets on the field. Besides, it doesn’t take a total genius to figure out Harbaugh likes role players. Hence, the reason the 49ers have 3 starting caliber RBs backing up Frank Gore.(including Lattimore). The 49ers also have arguably the best O-line one the entire NFL. An O-line designed to enhance the run game. So, if the WR corps is a little out of sorts….who cares!!!….they can still run the ball down the throats of any defense in the league. And for the individual who said that Harbaugh had one lucky season, well you might check your math. NFC Championship game and a Superbowl birth in back to back seasons sounds a lot to me like two good seasons.

  34. axespray says: Aug 20, 2013 1:23 PM

    Do the 49ers really need a good receiving corp at this point?

    They’re already loaded – they should have at least A weakness or two – otherwise, blah.

  35. briank1ne says: Aug 20, 2013 1:33 PM

    Why would anyone talk bad about a player they drafted. He drafted the guy…of course he believes he can be a good player. I can see that discussion between the chiefs and the niners… “Hey this guy really sucks! Cant run routes, Cant Catch. Want him?” ….
    Thatll sell it. So many haters in here.

  36. shutupyouhack says: Aug 20, 2013 3:22 PM

    Sometimes even Skip Bayless gets lucky on his predictions, but that doesn’t change the fact calling a guy a bust a couple months into his professional career screams of a lack of journalistic integrity and Harbaugh had every right to be irritated at the time. So Jenkins ended up being a bust a year later. So what, even Belichick sometimes wishes he had a draft pick mulligan. In three years of handling 49ers draft duties(not counting this year because they haven’t seen regular season action yet), Trent Baalke has brought in: Anthony Davis, Mike Iupati, NoVorro Bowman, Aldon Smith, Colin Kaepernick, Chris Culliver, Kenall Hunter, Bruce Miller, and LaMichael James. He and the 49ers have earned the right to miss once in awhile.

  37. 49erlifer says: Aug 20, 2013 5:59 PM

    I knew when he turned down training with jerry rice he really didnt have a chance good riddance I wouldn’t be suprised if they would of cut him after the last preseason game he will be out the league in 2 years

  38. fdugrad says: Aug 20, 2013 6:43 PM

    “AJ is going to be an outstanding football player.” This doesn’t necessarily mean he will be playing for the Niners exactly, does it?

  39. wininer says: Aug 20, 2013 7:02 PM

    I feel sorry for all the jerks calling for Harbaugh to publicly speak disparagingly about Jenkins and the decision to select him.

    Way to stay classy Harbs.

    As a fan I am happy AJ’s gone, and believe Baldwin to be a better player and worth the effort to see if he was a bit of a victim of circumstance in KC.

  40. jayniner says: Aug 20, 2013 10:35 PM

    While Jenkins talents may come to the surface down the road, it was the right call letting him go because his talents aren’t what the Niners need right now.

    Heard a great example today about a receiver who wasn’t cutting it with the team he was drafted by and was let go, the next team he was with also let him go the following year…..when he landed with the Vikings, he turned out to be a Hall of Fame WR…..that man was Cris Carter.

    Not to say Jenkins is going that route but you never know what the future holds and for who it holds it.

  41. willtalk65 says: Aug 21, 2013 12:55 AM

    The problem with AJ was that he had a very low strength to weight ceiling. They didn’t realize that year because he didn’t hit the weights last summer. This summer he worked out at the Atlanta facility and despite his efforts he did not gain any significant strength. This was evident in training camp and the preseason games. He was never going to get stronger, thus he couldn’t be the edge receiver that he was drafted to be.

    Very few athletes have such a low weight to strength ratio, so it’s understandable that they didn’t recognize that in AJ.

    You can’t blame Harbaugh for standing up for his rookie. You don’t want to ruin his confidence. However most of what Harbaugh says is just spin anyway. Especially his comments about it being a new start for AJ. He knows AJ’s limitations. He will be limited to being a slot receiver at best.

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