The Carolina Panthers didn’t do a whole lot during the free agency period, preferring to build the team through the draft, but they did make one significant move in signing receiver Ted Ginn Jr. Ginn has made more of name for himself as a return man than a receiver, but the Panthers are a team that is desperate need of receiving help. Ginn certainly has the speed to stretch the field and draw attention away from Steve Smith, but his hands have been historically suspect. Ginn is also the best return man the Panthers have had since Smith was catching punts, so he is poised to make an impact.
Though Ginn has surprisingly made an impact in the passing game, catching a long pass in each of the last two games, but the return has been non-existent so far this season. It is fair to note that is almost impossible to return a kickoff in today’s NFL, when teams can kick from the 35-yard-line and still split the uprights with the strong legs of today’s kickoff specialists. With that said, Ginn has failed to excite or even be noticeable in the punt return game, only getting four returns, but posting a respectable 10.5 yards a return.
The only time that Ginn has made something happen in the return game was a 12-yard punt return against the Seahwaks, which gave the Panthers good field position. Some of the blame may have to go on the shoulders of the punt return team and even on Ginn’s dangerous reputation, because he has fair caught six of 10 possible returns. The Panthers defense has been stout throughout the season and the offense has turned it up as of late, so if the return game comes around, then the Panthers could become a very formidable team.