« Cameron speaks (sort of) about Dolphins | Main | Don't look for Wilford on any day but Thursday »

Dolphins special teams need improvement, Ginn

One of my few ongoing frustrations with the Dolphins this year has been the general inability of the special teams to perform to a high standard.

I know special teams is not usually a big draw for readers. I don't expect to break page view or comment section records with this post. But it is important.

It is important enough that Miami spent much of the offseason investing in the improvement of the special teams. Davone Bess made the Dolphins primarily because of what he added on special teams. Reggie Torbor was brought to Miami, in part, because of his special teams ability. Nathan Jones was brought to Miami to play special teams. So were Keith Davis and Boomer Grigsby, though they've been cut. Dan Carpenter was kept and Jay Feely was cut, in part, to improve field position on special teams.

Special teams play is important darnit!

And yet Miami's special teams - how to put this discreetly - suck right now.

The Dolphins rank 32nd in the NFL in opponent's kick return average. They rank 29th out of 32 teams in opponent's punt return average. That means whenever the Dolphins kick off or punt, they are typically getting destroyed by the opposition.

Some proof of that is the 81-yard kickoff return, the 50-yard kickoff return, and the 70-yard punt return the Dolphins have allowed this season.

The story is not much better when the Dolphins receive. The Dolphins rank 31st out of 32 teams on kick returns. Punt returns is a slightly better story as Miami ranks 15th with a 10.5 yard per return average. But even that isn't anything impressive considering the investment and attention the Dolphins put on their special teams.

So what is the problem? On defense (punts and kickoffs) the Dolphins aren't doing a great job with lane discipline. They also get blocked fairly successfully. On offense, or their returns, the Dolphins are sometimes trying to block linebackers and fullbacks from other teams with their defensive backs and wide receivers, meaning Miami's special teams seem generally smaller than most.

And there isn't a whole lot of speed in the back getting the ball, either. Sure, Bess is well-suited for punt returns because he is elusive and quick. But he is not fast. So he is limited on kickoff returns. And why is he on kick returns, you ask, when Ted Ginn Jr. is available?

Why isn't the guy who tied the NCAA record with 8 return TDs returning punts and especially kicks for Miami?

"The difference is you got some big bodies flying down the field with a lot longer head start," coach Tony Sparano said. "So the smaller guys don't always hold up in there as long when they're returning kicks that way and Bess is just built a little bit bigger than Ted."

Translation: The receiver-poor Dolphins don't want to have Ginn broken in two on a kick return because of his thin frame and the relative small size of their people up front.

Despite this, I perceive Sparano is becoming a bit impatient with the lack of productivity on the return teams. I perceive Ginn might get more opportunites on kick returns, at least on a sporadic basis. Of course, I've perceived this for a while and nothing has happened.

"You never know what you'll see back there," Sparano said this week.

I'd like to see Ginn. I'd like to see a reverse on a kick or punt return. I'd like to see a fake punt. I'd like to see some action.

And this week would be a good time to do it. The Dolphins play the Ravens, meaning the Dolphins may struggle to score very often against the NFL's No. 1 defense. Maybe getting a special teams touchdown or, at worst, good field position would help Miami's cause.



TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Dolphins special teams need improvement, Ginn:


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Couldnt agree more Mando. We need to have GINN in their returning Kicks and Punts. Bess hasn't done anything, we need more productivity for sure and Sparano must ask sooner than later

First time I was ever first comment :) Im excited lol

Mando,I agree totally,but let me add that Ginn isn't producing as a wideout so why not let him return kicks? If Ginn does get injured it will make no difference in the passing offense.Just like when he does line-up as a receiver!

One of the big reasons they're 2-3 and not 3-2 is because of the punt return they let go by for a touchdown against Houston. They need to address this issue now so they can be productive (or half-way decent) in the other two facets of the game. Special teams is a game changer, and it helped them lose last week.

Should have Ginn return kicks and Bess return punts... That should help. As far as coverage, maybe get some starters out there, it is too important to just let the coverage units stink and give up big yardage!

I would maybe understand Ginn not participating in the return game if he was actually producing as a WR. However, due to his inability to get open and help the offense move the chains, I don't see any reason why he isn't returning kicks. Especially when we have been that bad with Bess back there. Its not like it can get much worse.

Sparano needs to make a change. You are correct Mando. Special teams is a huge part of the game.

Mando, you got a few points there - our special teams really suck after a preseason of upgrading this part of the team instead of signing Pace, Faneca etc. - A decision I really like by the way.

Two other points I would like to add to you comment are:

1) Maybe John Bonamego is the problem even though his history is not that bad as a special teams coordinator - just a thought - because we don't hear from you about coaches too much.

2) Sparano knows that you don't spent first round money on a returner, but he has to live with it. So he is playing it safe which is not the worst idea considering our WR situation. If they find a couple WR next year you will see Ginn returning punts if he can make it through the cuts and trades - which I doubt. So just be patient.

Like everyone else, I hate to admit when one of our 1st round picks is a bust, but GINN clearly has NO KA-HONES, and is to small to play in the NFL. He seems terrified everytime he get the ball in his hands, and wants nothing to do with the big boys flying at him when he's in punt return formation.
TED GINN= another 1st round BUST.
TED GINN= NO KA-HONES for the NFL style of play.

"On offense, the Dolphins are trying to block big linebackers and fullbacks from other teams with defensive backs and wide receivers"

can someone translate this for me please?

Nobody on this offense wows me. Let me ask y'all, who is our star player on offense?? Is it brown, mm.. maybe, but he is only as good as his blocking. Brown nor Williams got much blocking last Sunday vs. the Texans--holding them for under a 100 yards combined.

Is It Ginn? ha ha ha, Ginn doesn't know how to spell #1 receiver. The Phins should sign a big name receiver and use Ginn as a primary return man and on special designed play for him on offense. The guy is no Randy Moss.

Maybe its Chad Penn, He bores me with his weak arm. He is an accurate quarterback, but he just doesn't excite me.

We need a Star on offense, some one that will light up teams. The best the Phins could come up with is the wildcat because the lack of explosive players on offense.

Does anybody excite you on this offense??

During the off season the Phins gets rid of one of the most exciting players I've seen in a Dolphins Uni in a long time. I'm talking about Lorenzo Booker, I really liked that kid.

To be honest I wouldn't mind having an exciting player like Mike Vick at helm. I know I know some of you have bad mix emotions on Vick. I just want to see somebody--anybody on offense excite me on a regular basis. Say what you want about Vick, The guy sold out the Georgia Dome countless times.(thats why Mr. Blank gaved him all that money)

In ending, I hope the phins draft an exiting player next April. I won't be able to take another year of this

I am hereby suspending all of my criticisms that you see me repeating over and over again:"The wildcard formation is back-door football" and "Urine facials will be provided by Dolphs ownership for fans beginning at gametime Sunday" etc.
I am going to try and enjoy the game and I hope all of you readers and writers can do the same. I wish peace and love to all of you and especially my physician and pharmacist.

Let me help you Tinshaker: When the Dolphins special team are receiving kicks or punts, they are on offense as they have the ball. When the Miami special teams are kicking off and punting, they are defending.

when the conversation's context is about special teams, everyone knows offense is the return team. defense is the kickoff and punt team.

Also, Armando, you missed the fact the 70-yard punt return last week was the first time the dolphins gave up a return since 1994. So they are not just bad, they are bad in a historical sense.

Seems like the same story every freakin' year...How is it that coaches can be so blind to a. question Ronnie Brown b. Not use Ginn of ST AND get him the ball SOMEHOW, ANYHOW c. Not use Jason Allen

It makes me quiver...these are all no-brain choices! Yet, just like last year it will take the coaching staff half a season to put these same people in the correct spots!

It is ABSURD that Ginn is not returning kicks.

After last week I would try Cobbs on punt returns as well...

In addition, correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't there MANY teams in the league that put important players on ST? Wasn't Curtis Martin the return man for many years? Isn't Reggie Bush? Daunte Hall? Pacman Jones? All players that would hurt the team if injured?

Add Deion Sanders and Randle El to that list...Sorry, touchy subject, lol

If there's one thing Ginn does well, it's returns three/one for a TD last year, and one in the preseason. And his college returns are legendary.

For the time being at least - get Ginn back there!!!! Next year, or whenever Henne is starting, then he can be a deep threat. But until then, let him return!!

Marc...I feel your frustration man. It's like you are living in the twilight zone. People call Ronnie a bust or make ridiculous comments like "Ronnie can't run unless he has good blocking". Like last year never exisited. Sparano is worried about Ginn's size but he returned like 3-4 kicks last year...only one counted...and 1 this pre-season. I'm not going to start on Jason Allen...I'm still waiting for Armando or any reporter to address this again...as stated before 5 picks by D last year....3 of them, at the tail-end of year by Jason...Just don't get it. I feel your pain Marc...I feel the mind numbing frustration...but we can't be more frustrated than them.

“We will continue to turn over the bottom 3rd of the roster.” We’re seeing what that comment is all about. The bottom 3rd is where special team players reside and teams with good depth have good special teams while teams with poor depth have poor special teams. John Bonamego would surely have been fired by now if the brain trust thought he was operating with a full deck. So the bottom line is, the bottom of the roster is not very good and the injury risk is too great to put some of the better players on special teams duty.

Armando, I don’t agree on Ginn returning kicks. I just don’t think he’s very good. It seems every time they put him back there he takes off straight for the sideline and gets whacked along the way. Bess at takes the kick up the field.

I'm talking about Lorenzo Booker, I really liked that kid.

Really, read much? He has disappointed in Philly and not getting much field time. If you don't think Ronnie is great...you must have some other agenda.

Ginn NEEDS to be running back EVERY KICK. He's the only one that can break one all the way. Funny how "some here" have forgotten he was a backup pro bowler and flashes like no other Dolphin.


A slow day at fins camp?? Or you just got nothing better to do?

Serious wrtie about something real football fans care about.

I understand you can't rebuild the team in one year but bad personnel choices are what's wrong in this case.

The NFL is now the the "League of Big Plays". That seems to be the way most teams are scoring nowadays.

So, however it has to happen....get your fastest skill players on the field and get the ball in their hands as much as possible.

That means START GETTING ANY POSSIBLE PRODUCTION FROM GINN THAT WE CAN!!!!! I don't freakin care if "big men" are flying down field at him..THIS IS THE N.F.L.!!!

Let the boy grow up and play with THE MEN!

I Heard Ginn Almost Caught A Cold..

with you mando. one other point i'd like to make is ted ginn is doing nothing as a reciever i dont know why their worried about an injury. ginn had 1 catch for a LOSS of a yard last week. i really thought ginn started to show something as a kick return specialist last yr. bess has shown nothing hes ok on punt but kick off are just bad. one good thing is when miami special teams are on the feild its a great time to hit the frig or bathroom, if we kick you dont want to watch and if we recieve theres nothing to watch.

I Heard Ginn Almost Caught A Cold..

Dude In P.a. Ur Right And If He Gets Hurt He Ll Have A Reason Why Hes Not Catching Anything Except An Occasional Cold And A Job Or 2 For His Family

You are all morons....sorry, if Ted Ginn is not involved in the offense I blame the OC and the QB...That's why they invented drag routes, hooks, and 5 yd in patterns!

Remembering that if a player runs a 4.5 40 with pads and ball and the hang time is 4 seconds you don't have a heck of a lot of time after the catch to get out of the way. How they do it perfect and score td's is totally beyond me. Is it personel or is it execution? Fans scream for everyone to be replaced but we have a team that is young and inexperienced and replacing players is not always the answer. Teaching and positive motivation will go a lot further than cutting every guy that makes mistakes. After reading Camerons responses to questions yesterday, I have come the to conclusion that the phins lost a year. Cameron's message of "fall forward fast" and how to apply it to football failed miserably.
Beck and Ginn will pay and have paid for it professionally.

I believe that Sparano will find the answer and we will eventually (week 8) see success.

Ginn returning KO's & STs blocking the gunner = TD Dolphins!

Yeah, Mando it must be a slow day. Here this is a football blog, a Dolphins football blog and you write about special teams. Special teams isn't foot ... oh, wait. It is football. It's Dolphins football.


Finsfan you are a fool.

Wild cat formation. Ted Ginn at QB, Ronnie Brown lined up inplace of Ricky Williams. Ronnie comes in motion for the fake, Ted Ginn follows Ronnie to the outside. Ronnie levels the LB and Ginn has day light. Turn on the jets and get to the damn end zone, that simple!!!


I am glad you brought up special teams because it is a way that bad teams can stay competitive and good teams can really be hurt. Also, it is a way for bad teams to be worse (ie the Dolphins). The play we lost to the Texans on was not the draw, it was the punt return. Their offense had done nothing all day and they just let them back in the game on that.

I cannot understand why Ginn isn't returning kicks and punts. Yes, he might get hurt, but it is not like he is really doing great things offensively right now. Steve Smith retunred kicks and punts for a long time and still does occasionally. He basically stopped because he is too valueable in the offense to get hurt that way, but it does not appear Ginn is.

Ginn was the absolute best at it in college so he should be trying to do it here. If the Saints can have such a valueable piece like Reggie Bush returning, there is no reason for the Dolphins to not have a mediocre piece like Ginn returning.

Any chance it has to do with Parcells just not liking Ginn that much?

As a follow-up, I have not heard whether or not Parcells like Ginn, it just seems like something he would do if he does not.

And to the guy who said he didn't want to hear about special teams, clearly you are not a true fan of football or the Dolphins. Actual fans of the game realize how important special teams are (just as the Bills about how special teams costs them a Super Bowl and the Music City Miracle). I come to this blog to learn things that I can't elsewhere, such as special teams details. If all you care about is the overview, only watch Countdown

Teddy and his Family need to add something to this team, or the team will add by subtraction...as in his butt to the curb. Bonamego certainly hasn't done much of a job here but I'm willing to give a little more grace. A little. But at this point, Ginn is offering so little on Offense, I don't understand the "receiver-poor Dolphins don't want to have Ginn broken in two on a kick return because of his thin frame and the relative small size of their people up front" part. Losing Ginn won't likely capsize this team much. We don't throw deep, he doesn't do much AFTER he catches a few passes per game, and he doesn't generate touchdowns. Tell me again why he was the 9th pick? Return kicks! He had three td's on kicks last season, though he did have two called back. Let him do it! Or cut him please.

If you are wondering why Ginn has not been returning kick offs or punts, he shys away from making the catch. Go back to the tapes of games when he is back there, he lets the punt hit the ground losing 20-30 or more yards. Even kickoffs,he was struggling making a secure catch with fieldsight to find the open lanes in the oncoming defense. I hope that the coaches can work on him to help him with his skills,and maybe he will come out and shine someday. GO MIAMI!

Though Ginn has not made any big plays, you do all know he's 2nd on the team in receptions right?

We should all just be a little more patient. He's still developing whether you want to admit it or not. He's 5 games into his 2nd season. This team has not built the kind of chemistry they need yet. Pennington has said that the entire offense isn't there yet.

Maybe we'll see some progress in the 2nd half of the season.

Ronnie Brown is star caliber. Ted Ginn needs to earn his money and play hard and tough!

You are right...who cares about special teams.

the bottom line is this, Ginn is a kick returner PERIOD.... I dont want to hear any crap about him getting hurt thats BS!! This is the nfl he shouldn't be in the league if hes scared to get hurt!! Look ginn is fast but thats it! He is not a good route runner, he is not really happy about being a #1 receiver anyway, and most of all he plays scared all equal low production and reliability in real games.

He was originally brung here to be our big play special teams guy anyway wasnt he? Now what needs to happen is the coaches have to get on ginn about his heart and willingness to lay it on the line!! But he should be returning kickoffs not bess period... Now our special teams coverage sucks because were not disciplined in tackling and playing our lanes period... These are the real issues here make no mistakes deal with these and our problem will get better thats a fact!!!!!!

lets be honest here okay there is room for chad Pennington to improve on throwing the deep ball and also just trying and getting use to ted ginn. there is also room for ted ginn to improve on getting on open but all that can improve by just working together after practice watching film together. working on the time the ball should be there. but if people are supposed to be dolphin fans and they watch the games they would know that when ginn is thrown the he really catches it all if catchable i thought people said he could not catch. even o.j. mcduffie said ginn is going to be great he said ginn had the best hands since he was a dolphin. people try to make it seem like ginn is a bust. but i dont know no one knows until the offensive coordinator try to get him the throw him screens and let him go deep let him run all the routes let him be like a steve smith work with. let him grow as a receiver. i think he will get better as the season go on. with him and chad pennington working together. chad needs to try to help him and communicate with him they talk to each other but they need to just sit down and start working on timing more and watching film and understanding each other. and i agree ted ginn should be returning every punt return the dolphins get. only thing he need is a wedge but dolphin fans give ted ginn a chance to show what he can do he barely gets the ball. but no one can say they see him drop the ball when he does get a ball thrown to him. just watch and give him a chance

Ginn needs to return kickoffs period. The coaching staff know he is the best suited why else would they put him back there with 3 seconds left in the houston game! He tied an NCCA record you can noy play scared that he will get injured. Let him do his thing!!

Put the ball in Ginns hands he will make plays!!

"I don't expect to break page view or comment section records with this post."

Someone is fishing for feedback.

I agree Ginn should return kicks and be included a bit in the wildcat...even as a decoy. He will never live up to draft status but with Henne and another good wr next yr , he will be a very suitible deep threat.

I agree with getting Ginn back there. If they are so concerned about losing him as a receiver (which makes not sense cause he has contributed nothing) then they should try to sign one of the free agent veterans that are still available right now. There are still a couple guys that could come in provide some leadership and help the young guys while giving some production. More than Ginn has produced. And it will free him up for special teams and trick plays.

Ginn should be back there, no questions. Did everyone already forget that he was a PRO BOWL alternate last year? I understand that he might be a bit fragile but if it worked last year, why reinvent the wheel?

I agree 100%. Im not sure if they fell to notice ginn returning a kickoff for a touchdown in the preseason. He also showed tons of flashes last year on the special team. It boils my water when dont see him returning those kicks during the game but is asked to come in and return a kick when the team is down. Im sure i am not the only one to notice this. I am proud of the turnaround but we could easily be 4-1 if it wasn't for two plays!!!!!!!!!PUT GINN ON KICK RETURNS

Not having Ginn returning kickoffs AND punts is one of the few poor decisions that Sparano has made.

Ginn was the man returning kicks in Ohio. Then, last year he takes 3 kicks back for TDs as a rookie (though 2 got called back). Then, he takes a punt back in pre-season. I thought Sparano wanted to reward guys who played well in pre-season! You can't do much better than a TD as a returner.

Ginn isn't doing anything at receiver. It's worth the risk of him getting hurt as a returner. How many guys actually get hurt returning kicks anyways? They take big hits on occasion, but not the kind of hits that knock you out. Ginn's pretty good at dodging big hits, too.

Play Ginn on special teams!!!!

I dont have confidence in Ginn becoming a top flite receiver in the NFL. WR issue for miami needs to be addressed this offseason. Ginn is a return man and thats it. By next year im sure we all will realize that, and Ginn will be Miami's Roscoe Parrish.


The comments to this entry are closed.