One 49ers player that has a huge impact on the team but often gets easily overlooked is Ted Ginn Jr. Ginn made his first start at wide receiver for the 49ers yesterday, but his overall performance once again proved how great a trade the 49ers made in landing him for a fifth round pick last year. Although Ginn has not made a monster impact in the passing game, his contributions in special teams and other areas have really been monstrous for the 49ers.
Even if Ginn did next to nothing after the two touchdown returns against Seattle, it would probably still be a solid enough season. However, we're really playing with house money at this point. Against the Detroit Lions, Ginn returned three punts for 72 yards and averaged 26.5 yards per kickoff return. He also mixed in two receptions for 21 yards and two rushes for 24 yards.
We've know how awesome a return man he is for some time now. I think it was Chris Berman who said he that next to Devin Hester, Ginn was the most electrifying return man this season. He proved it yesterday with his monstrous 40 yard punt return that set up the 49ers eventual winning touchdown.
However, the 49ers are gaining additional value just by figuring out ways to quickly get the ball in his hands. His two rushes were on a reverse and an end around. When you have speed like Ginn, the key is really just getting the ball in his hands with a little bit space. Defensive ends and linebackers are not going to catch him when he gets up to top speed, so it makes all the sense in the world to get him the ball on these kinds of plays.
I realize these plays can't just be rolled out whenever the 49ers please. This comes back to the game-planning that has been so successful thus far. The 49ers don't always need a big impact play from Ginn, which prevents them from over-using the plays and hurting their value. That has happened a bit with some of the Wildcat teams around the league to the point that the "Wildcat" has sort of quieted down as the next big trend.
That's not to say the end around and reverse will go in or out of vogue, but with a weapon like Ted Ginn, it makes all the sense in the world to do whatever you can to get him the ball in space. Thankfully the 49ers are mixing in just enough of that to have success.