On Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers might get kick/punt returner Ted Ginn Jr. back on the field. Ginn has been nursing a sprained right ankle since late August, and missed both of San Francisco's regular season games thus far. In his place, running back Kendall Hunter has been handling most of the kick return duties, while wide receiver Kyle Williams fills in on punt returns.
Ginn practiced in a limited capacity all this week and was listed as questionable on the official injury report, along with running back Brandon Jacobs. While the latter hasn't practiced at all and most likely will not play, Ginn certainly could be back there returning some kicks against the Minnesota Vikings.
But that's all he should be doing.
Truly, Ginn is one of the best in the league at what he does on special teams. He's a danger to take one back every time he's fielding a punt or kickoff, but more than that, he's been one of the most consistent return men in the NFL for years now. San Francisco won most of their games a season ago thanks to strong field position, and that's an area where they were bested by both the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions thus far.
Still, they managed to win those games, and they have a strong offense to thank for that. Nobody quite knows where guys like Randy Moss, Mario Manningham, Kyle Williams, A.J. Jenkins and LaMichael James fit into it yet, but we do know that it's been very productive under Alex Smith. And that's all that matters.
Ginn, for all his strengths, has been a poor wide receiver in the NFL. He was drafted early as a WR, disappointed, and then traded to San Francisco. Yet the 49ers have shown a dizzying trend of putting him out there for more plays than plenty of other receivers, and that's an issue in my opinion. Ginn does not need to be out there on offense, as he adds no new dynamic. For fear of throwing a wrench in the works, Ginn should remain on the sideline until special teams calls for him.