Thursday, March 13, 2014
Ted Ginn is flexible with Cardinals
By Josh Weinfuss
TEMPE, Ariz. -- He'll return punts or kickoffs or both.
He'll line up in the slot or outside.
Whatever Arizona head coach Bruce Arians wants Ted Ginn, Jr. to do, he'll do.
“I wanted to go somewhere where I can help the team,” Ginn said. “Coming to the Cardinals was a big deal. They needed a fast guy, which I could bring to them. The return game, I could help out.”
Ginn was surprised the Carolina Panthers let him walk away as easily as they did, but awaiting him was a three-year contract in Arizona. A couple of teams showed interest, the 28-year-old said, especially after his best receiving year since 2008.
He had 556 yards and a career-high five touchdowns on 36 catches.
“My season last year brought me a rebirth type of season to show that I'm still a receiver,” Ginn said. “And I can still get it done.”
Being a receiver in Arians' offense means Ginn will have to learn every position. The outside routes won't be an issue for him, but he's never played much in the slot, catching just 13 of his 197 career passes inside, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
But, as was his motto all press conference, he's open to trying it.
“I do whatever,” Ginn said. “I never had the opportunity to really be a slot guy. Everybody always uses me outside. I'm available to do whatever.”
And if that means supplant Patrick Peterson as Arizona's punt returner, add that to the list of Ginn's duties.
He returned 26 punts for 316 yards last season and was open about lending a hand to Peterson.
“Patrick Peterson is a great returner,” Ginn said. “We can help him concentrate on ‘D' a little bit more.”
Ginn has been familiar with Arians' high-octane style of offense for years. A Cleveland, Ohio, native, Ginn would watch the Steelers -- with Arians as its offensive coordinator -- plow through the Browns on an annual basis. He understands his role as a receiver will be to utilize his speed and take the top off defenses. Ginn was quick to rattle of his 40-yard-dash time at 4.38 seconds -- “without working.”
Ginn watched closely how receivers like Mike Wallace and Santonio Holmes were used by Arians, so when the Cardinals came calling, it was an easy decision for Ginn.
“Just a great team and (they) have a fiery defense,” Ginn said. “I just know that they needed that one or two pieces on the offensive side to make them more explosive. Just wanted to come out and do what I can do.”