Ted Ginn has excellent straightline speed. He has good enough hands -- no, really. He has the physical ability to emerge from what is clearly a terrible outing against New Orleans and a season that is threatening to define him negatively.
But he needs to be managed now.
Today, as the Dolphins coaches are drawing up their plans for the Jets game, the issue of what to do with Ginn has to be decided. It is clear Ginn will lose some snaps at the wide receiver spot. Tony Sparano practically said as much when he said rookie Brian Hartline was about to play more.
More work for Hartline will mean less work for Ginn. That is a certainty.
But I have a hard time believing the Dolphins will simply deactivate Ginn. I don't think that would be the smart thing to do. I don't think that's what coaches will do.
First, I think one of Ginn's major problems now is he is lacking confidence. His body language is terrible. And his performance is showing that because that drop in the fourth quarter near the sideline Sunday showed he seemed to be pressing.
So what do you do with a kid like that? Do you deactivate him? For some guys, that would send a message and force them to buck up and respond. For guys like Ginn, I fear that would basically collapse what little belief in himself he has left.
Deactivating Ted Ginn would basically crush him emotionally.
Plus, that would also leave the Dolphins without their best return man on Sunday. Nope, deactivating Ginn would be dumb.
So do you demote Ginn, taking the starting job from him and giving it to Hartline? Well, that might make fans feel better, but what good would it do for the team? We already established Hartline will get more snaps at WR and Ginn will get fewer.
Does it really matter if one of the snaps taken from Ginn is the first offensive snap of the game or not? I do not know if Ginn will be benched. But I say even as I'm all for him getting fewer WR snaps, I don't really care if one of those is the first snap of the game or not.
In fact, let Ginn take the game's first snap. Throw him the ball or hand it to him on an end around. Get him immediately involved. Give him a chance to make a play, thus allowing him to rebuild his waning confidence.
Then put him on the sideline in pressure situations as Hartline gets more snaps throughout the game.
One thing the Dolphins absolutely, positively must do: Do what Cam Cameron and Randy Mueller planned when Ginn first arrived in Miami. Give him a chance to return every punt and every kickoff the Dolphins take first and foremost.
Ginn has a history of doing those things well. Give him a chance to regain his confidence while returning kicks. Give him a chance to feel like he's a player again. Give him the ball on special teams every chance you can.
Well, for one, Ginn is better at it than any other Miami player. Let's face it, Davone Bess will always make the first guy miss on punt returns but his lack of speed will never allow him to bust one loose. So he's always going to average 4 or 5 yards per return.
Ginn doesn't make too many people miss, as he's not as shifty. But if he sees a crease, he can hit it faster than anyone else on the team. Give him a chance to find one of those creases. Have him take every punt and kick return in practice this week to build his confidence about fielding the ball (also making sure he won't fumble) and then give him a chance to make the plays in the game.
Same with the kickoff returns. The Dolphins tried to turn Patrick Cobbs into their top return man even though he wasn't nearly as fast as Ginn -- tougher, but definitely not faster. Well, count on Ginn for that, too. Give him "ownership," as Dan Henning would say, of Miami's return game. Tell him it's on him to make big plays in the return game.
If Ginn can do that as well as he did in college, perhaps the Dolphins can use that as the foundation for rehabilitating him as a wide receiver.
The bottom line is Ginn's confidence is currently shot. It's up to the coaching staff to rebuild it or risk losing Ginn as a contributor. So what better way to accomplish that than giving him a chance to improve a special teams unit that sorely needs the help anyway?
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