I’ll be honest, I didn’t shed a tear when the Miami Dolphins traded Ted Ginn (though I did shed tears of pure happiness when Miami made the trade for Brandon Marshall). But the Ginn trade did leave Miami with a void at kick returner.
No one can argue that Ginn never lived up to his number 9 overall selection in the 2007 NFL Draft. He dropped his share of passes, ran out of bounds quite a bit, and had plenty of chances to certify himself as a number 1 receiver, but never did. Despite his performance as a receiver, he may still be missed by the Dolphins in 2010 because of what he brought to the team in the return game.
Ginn tied for 2nd in the NFL with 2 kick returns for a TD last year, trailing only Josh Cribbs from Cleveland who had 3. He ranked 13th in the NFL in kick return average, helping the Dolphins to a team ranking of 12th. But recent history has shown Miami needs to improve on that in 2010 if they have hopes of winning the Super Bowl. Over the past 8 seasons, 6 of the SB winning teams ranked in the top 10 in kick return average. The only exceptions being the Pittsburgh Steelers in ’05 and ’08.
So how will Miami crack the top 10? They really aren’t left with a lot of choices to run back kicks. Names like Patrick Cobbs, Ryan Grice-Mullen, and Kory Sheets keep popping up to be the replacement for Tedd Ginn. Out of that bunch, only RGM has shown any real explosiveness running back kicks on the professional level, but that was in Canada. It will be interesting to see if his game will translate to the NFL.
RGM has turned some heads in OTA’s, but we all know nothing can be determined until the pads are on. If RGM proves he can be the man when training camp arrives, Miami will be left with a big decision to make. Will they decide to keep him on the roster so he can return kicks? Last year, WR Chris Williams showed some promise during training camp and preseason, but he suffered a broken hand in his 2nd preseason game. He was placed on IR and later released. Had he stayed healthy, I believe Miami would have kept him on the roster.
It’s not out of the question for Miami to keep 5 receivers on it’s active roster, plenty of teams do it. With Patrick Turner’s development coming to a hault because of injuries and questioned effort this offseason, the door may be cracked open enough for someone else to walk through it. If RGM can bring it during training camp and preseason, he won’t be walking through the door, he’ll be running through it!