According to Nick Underhill of the Advocate, Saints WR Ted Ginn Jr. returned to practice on Wednesday. A tweet I’m sure he was grateful to share considering the number of people asking about Ginn on a daily basis.
Ginn’s return to practice provides a beacon of hope for the Saints offense which has struggled throughout the season at the WR position. Over the past four games in particular, the offense averaged only 165.5 passing yards per game.
Because Ginn has been on IR for more than seven weeks, the team can designate him to return as soon as he’s ready. There is no minimum practice weeks requirement in his case.
Ginn has missed time with a knee injury since week 4. Over his four games he averaged 3 catches a game and 33.8 yards per game with a 54.5% catch rate which includes week 4 where he didn’t catch a pass. In 2017 he averaged around the same amount of catches per game with 3.5 but more yards and a far better catch rate at 52.5 yards per game and a 75.7 catch percentage. The hope is that Ginn can come into the Saints defense and help stretch the field as they haven’t been able to throw the ball down the field most of the season.
Tre’Quan Smith, Keith Kirkwood, and Austin Carr tried to fill in the roles at WR outside of Michael Thomas but haven’t created consistent enough production.
13 games, 24 catches (1.8/game), 386 yards (29.7/game), 4 TDs
6 games, 11 catches (1.8/game), 174 yards (29/game), 2 TDs
13 games, 9 catches (0.6/game), 97yards (6.9/game), 2 TDs
109 catches for 1,267 yards and 8 TDs
44 catches for 657 yards and 8 TDs.
The Saints have tried to find solutions outside of the organization, signing WRs Dez Bryant, Brandon Marshall, and Simmie Cobbs Jr. Bryant went down with a season-ending injury the day after signing, but plans to return to the team next season. Marshall simply didn’t pan out, inactive for his four games with the team. We’ve yet to see Cobbs who was signed only a week ago. Not surprising as he was likely more of a depth move with red zone potential, signed from the Washington practice squad.
It’s no mystery that the Saints have been a different monster as of late. Adding a weapon like Ted Ginn Jr. back for the playoffs is exactly the next step that could help propel the Saints back to the offense we saw the first ten games of the season in terms of numbers. But with the added wrinkle of being able to spread the ball around a lot more frequently.
Ginn returns in time to potentially see work this weekend against the Steelers or for my money’s worth, against his former team, the Carolina Panthers next week. Another option is to let him get reacclimated with the offense over the next few weeks by not putting him out there until the second round of the playoffs.
With the Rams losing last weekend to the Eagles and the likelihood that Cam Newton has been shut down for the year, the journey to one more win and #1 in the NFC is a bit simplified.
Follow Ross on Twitter @RossJacksonASC