Watching Jones perform this offseason and through six training camp practices simply made Shanahan develop even more respect for Jones' explosive ability.
"Just physically ... I mean, I loved Julio coming out of college [and] I've always known how talented he is,'' Shanahan said. "Just to be around a guy who is as explosive as he is but who can still break down and cut and attack the football and see the ball ... and his toughness. The guy doesn't take a play off. He's physically tough and mentally tough. He's very fun to coach. And he makes you a better coach.''
Jones, who set a franchise record with 1,593 receiving yards last season despite missing one game, vowed to be even better this season. So far in training camp, he has made dynamic catches look routine while improving the play of cornerbacks Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford.
Jones and veteran Roddy White made up a fierce dynamic duo a few seasons back. Injuries and age have caught up to White, who turns 34 in November. But White insists he can have an impact on offense, if he remains healthy.
Shanahan was asked about White's role.
"I've been really excited about Roddy and how he's shown up to training camp,'' Shanahan said. "I've been a fan of Roddy's my whole career. He really came to this camp ready to go. I could tell he worked real hard throughout July. He's in great shape. He's running hard. He's put himself in a position to have a good year and to stay healthy. I'm excited to work with him and see how it ends up for him.''
Shanahan also has a familiar face at receiver in Leonard Hankerson, a player he coached in the same role with the Washington Redskins. Hankerson has stood out throughout the offseason and training camp, obviously using his knowledge of Shanahan's scheme to his advantage.
"'Hank' is a real good player,'' Shanahan said. "Anytime you've played in this system -- especially I was with Hank two years before I came here -- you have an advantage because you've done this stuff. You know the coaching points. Nick Williams the same way. He was with us in Washington.
"They had a little bit of an advantage in OTAs. The other guys are starting to catch up, though. Everyone has had the reps. It starts to even out. It definitely should by the season. And then, you're hoping the next man up: Everyone's playing. You don't really care who the starter is; who's out there. It's the Golden State Warriors.'''