The Bears may measure Ted Ginn’s impact not only by his receptions and yards, but by what he can do for the other 10 guys on the field with him. Or, more specifically, one guy.
“He sat in our meeting Day 1 and said,' Listen, here’s what I’m coming to do. I’m coming to help Allen Robinson be one of the best players in the league,'" wide receivers coach Mike Furrey said. "'And I’m coming to win a Super Bowl. That’s it. That’s my job.
“'I’m going to show up every day and if they tell me to run a go ball and clear out for Allen Robinson, it’s going to be the fastest go ball you’ve ever seen in your entire life. I’m not going to sit there and pout. I’m not going to sit there and whine. I’m going to get mine when I need to get mine, but I’m going to help him out also to help him get his.'”
Ginn’s message, as relayed by Furrey, is the product of years of experience in the NFL. Ginn debuted in 2007 – when Furrey was playing for the Detroit Lions – and has teamed up with plenty of dominant receivers, from Steve Smith to Larry Fitzgerald to Michael Thomas (and Marty Booker!). And it sounds like he knows what he can do help another great receiver in Robinson while with the Bears.
The Bears still believe the 35-year-old Ginn has plenty left in the tank, especially when it comes to his speed. They would know, too, seeing as Ginn torched a busted coverage for a 45-yard catch against the Bears while with the New Orleans Saints last October.
“I wouldn't stand on the table for Ted Ginn to come here if I didn't think he had anything left in his tank,” Furrey said. “You go back to last year and New Orleans and watch his film and watch this young man run, I mean he still can run, he's still 4.2, the high 4.2's, low 4.3's. I mean this kid can still run and now add you know what, 16, 17 years of experience to that.”
(Ginn is actually going on Year 14 in the NFL, but it feels like he’s been around forever, so we’ll let the details slide.)
But opposing defenses still have to respect Ginn’s speed and ability to get open downfield. He averaged 14 yards per reception in 2019, 31st among receivers with at least 30 catches. Taylor Gabriel, for comparison’s sake, averaged 10.8 yards per catch in his two years with the Bears.
And the Bears believe that speed will force defenses to back off, allowing Robinson more room to operate (maybe it’ll de-clutter the box, too, and help the run game). Robinson caught 98 passes for 1,147 yards last year. Only two Bears have ever had 100 or more receptions in a season – Brandon Marshall in 2012 and 2013, and Booker* in 2001. If the Bears are right about Ginn, maybe Robinson will have an even better shot at being the third.
More importantly, though, it was interesting to hear how Furrey sees Ginn improving the Bears' offense. If he's right, it'll add a dimension to Matt Nagy's offense that's been largely lacking since he arrived in Chicago.
And maybe that'll be part of the turnaround the Bears hope happens in 2020.