Bears Problems with Ted Ginn Represent a Change in Team Direction that Isn’t Working.

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune answers another question:

Regarding Ted Ginn’s release from the Bears, it seems like Matt Nagy was looking for someone (anyone) to blame for the loss to the Rams, and, yes, Ginn didn’t have a great game fielding punts against one of the best punters in the NFL, but the punts were going to land inside the 10-yard line anyway. I guess I’m confused as to why they let an experienced, super-fast, inexpensive receiver go from the team, when it’s apparent they need more options for Nick Foles? I also thought it was interesting that the coach said that Ted only caught four passes as a Bear, but you can only catch them if they throw you the ball. Seems like they were trying to make Ginn a scapegoat. To be fully transparent, I’m a neighbor of Mr. Ginn’s in Chicago, and it just bums me out to watch the family packing up to leave Chicago. Thoughts? Do you think he’ll get picked up by another NFL team? — Chip F., Wilmette

I understand what you’re saying, but I didn’t think Ginn was productive as a punt returner in the games before the one in Los Angeles after Tarik Cohen went out for the season with a torn ACL. He didn’t look to have that skill anymore, and you need to remember it has been at least three seasons since he did it on even a partial basis. On offense, Ginn wasn’t factoring into the game plan on a weekly basis. They signed him to add a speed element to the offense and then wound up drafting Darnell Mooney in the fifth round. Mooney is playing a significant amount, and his development is more valuable than anything Ginn could add to the offense. If Ginn isn’t going to return punts and isn’t going to be on the field as a wide receiver, it’s hard to make a case for him having a spot on the 53-man roster.

I thought Biggs’ answer to this question was kind. It’s obvious that this fan is biased because Ginn was a good neighbor and a friend.

The truth is that Ginn showed zero interest in fielding punts. From the very first game they asked him to do it, that was evident.

Let’s be honest here. Being a punt returner is a dangerous job. Generally speaking it’s either a hungry, young man’s game for players interested in proving themselves in the league, or it’s a niche for veterans who have shown a talent for it but who haven’t been able to get on the field regularly with the offense or defense.

Ginn almost certainly doesn’t consider himself to be in either of those categories. He certainly is no longer young and he probably feels like he’s proven enough in the league. And he’s probably not ready to accept being in the latter category and probably never will be. He’s made his money. At this point, he’d probably rather his career just ended rather than to be forced to risk his body fielding punts for a living.

With Mooney being much younger and, let’s face it, performing better than Ginn could at this point or, in my opinion, at any point in his career, there just wasn’t a place for Ginn on the roster unless he was willing to use his skills on special teams.

I think this is all interesting because the Bears haven’t seen this problem in recent years. Now they not only have had it with Ginn, but they are dealing with it from Foles, who is having trouble standing in the pocket against the pass rush, trouble that he almost certainly didn’t have when he was younger and dumber.

Up until this year, the free agents that the Bears have signed have generally been young men under the age of 30. But in the 2020 offseason, GM Ryan Pace switched to “win now” mode, signing Robert Quinn (30), Foles (31), Ginn (35), Jimmy Graham (33), and Barkevious Mingo (30). They also chose to resign Danny Trevathan (30) over 26-year old Nick Kwiatkoski.

Suddenly they have become an older team with older team problems. And that’s on top of the fact that the “winning now” isn’t working out the way that they’d hoped.

Getting back to Ginn, it’s entirely possible that this is the end of the road for him as a player. If its any comfort to Chip, above, if his attitude towards the risks of taking punts is an indication of his level of desire in general, that might just be OK with Ginn.

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