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Miami Dolphins' Ted Ginn Jr. not getting it done


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Miami Dolphins wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. drops a pass in the fourth quarter of a game against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2009 at Land Shark Stadium in Miami Gardens. JOE RIMKUS JR. / STAFF

If only it were that simple, right? If only the Dolphins' collapse that lost Sunday's game and set the season sour could be neatly blamed on that one timeout call late in the first half -- as so many fans and media apparently would like to believe.

Even coach Tony Sparano made a point of that one sequence to start his Monday news conference, bringing it up before it could be asked.

``I want my players to do this; I need to do it myself. I have to take ownership of the situation,'' the good soldier said. ``I should have lived with what was out on the field in that situation. It was a poor decision on my part.''

OK, enough with this already.

Yeah, it was a dumb timeout that ended up costing Miami four points. But I'm tired of hearing how that one decision -- which allowed the Saints to score a 1-yard touchdown run instead of settling for the field goal they'd planned -- irrevocably turned the entire game against Miami.

You want to blame the avalanche on one pebble? Go ahead. Not me. That's letting the Dolphins off the hook too easily for the calamity of the second half. It might benefit Sparano to fall on the grenade and imply this loss is on him, because it diverts attention from all of the other reasons and culprits. But it is ludicrous to suppose everything might have been different had New Orleans only gotten a field goal heading into halftime.

Remember that Miami overcame and survived Sparano's admitted gaffe to lead 34-24 entering the fourth quarter, then got outscored 22-0 when it mattered most, the defense getting steamrolled and the offense curling into a fetal position.

Is that one timeout late in the second quarter to blame for all that? Really?

If you want a microcosm for this demoralizing defeat, let Sparano off the hook for a second and look to a more proper goat:

Ted Ginn Jr.

Sparano's mistake was a one-time thing that cost Miami momentum but not the game.

Ginn is the gift that keeps on not giving. He is the 2007 Cam Cameron-regime draft misstep that continues to haunt and hurt Miami.

It is time for Sparano and Bill Parcells to pull the plug on Ginn and at least admit he does not deserve the starting job he continues to be handed and must earn it back.

Ginn, the fastest receiver on the squad but someone unable to consistently get open, had eight passes thrown his way Sunday and caught two for a negligible 16 yards.

It was the damage he did when not catching the ball that killed the Dolphins.

Everybody is obsessing about Sparano's timeout late in the second quarter -- how about Ginn's gaffe early in the third?


Third-and-11, Chad Henne throws deep left for Ginn, who sees the ball go off his hands and watches it returned 42 yards for a touchdown by Saint Darren Sharper.

``I thought it was a very good throw,'' Sparano admitted.

In other words, a pass that Ginn should have caught for a huge first down instead was a pick-six for which Henne was blameless, a crushing turnaround.

Ginn had two other drops by my count, and that's not even counting one deep pass that he cowered from rather than fought for. Let's not even get into the time he daintily stepped out of bounds one yard shy of a first down.

Sparano had been asked about Ginn's big drops after the game Sunday and had said, ``Today he had some opportunities. We'll coach the heck out of it and try to get the guy better.''

A day later, asked about Ginn's failings again, Sparano did the coaching tap-dance. Tony is so forthright, so detailed. Usually. Except when he's pulling a muscle bending over backward to not fricassee a player publicly. That's when something like this comes out:

``Well, I thought some of the situations, right now, that have occurred [with Ginn] have been, quite honestly, circumstances.''


``In other words,'' Sparano elaborated, ``what I mean by that is, there is a lot of things that go into some of these things.''

OK then.

In other words, and these are my words, Ginn isn't very good but his head coach can't say that.

``I think Ted is a young guy who is getting better, has been improving along the way and just didn't have a real good ballgame yesterday.''


When those not-real-good games far outnumber the games in which a draft's ninth overall pick plays to that level, well, I dunno, it might be time for a team to eat its loss and try something else.

Journeymen Davone Bess and Greg Camarillo are consistently more productive than Ginn. And, based on Sunday's effort, rookie Brian Hartline probably deserves to start getting more of the snaps wasted on Ginn.

The problem is, more opposing defenses will start doing what the Saints did to Miami on Sunday: stacking up to stop the run and daring Miami to pass, gambling that single-coverage will be enough against a Dolphins receiving corps that presents nobody to cause a cornerback the slightest indigestion.

Ginn is supposed to be the answer there, the go-to guy, the game-breaker. Instead he keeps presenting him oppositely, as the frail, undersized wideout who is the physical antithesis of the tough team Miami wants to be.

This isn't scapegoating Ginn or putting Sunday's collapse all on him. But if you like things simple and neat with your blame, well, you can have that one bad timeout.

I'll take the No. 1 draft pick who continues to not be what the Dolphins thought they were getting and so desperately need.

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Guess it's a good thing Teddy is playing the Jets this week. He'll look to make it 3 straight games with a TD against you guys.

(But yes, he sucks)

yeah...the sad thing is that out of the 5 career td's this guy has 2 are against us. but what's sadder is that in 2 1/2 seaosns he only has the 5 td's despite playing in every game. safe to say this guy has been a bust.

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