49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

January 23, 2012
Free agency: Ginn states his case by his absence


The 49ers season is over and the focus now will begin to turn to free agency. One of the team's 19 pending free agents made a fantastic case for why he should be re-signed today by not playing. Ted Ginn missed the game because of a knee injury, and the 49ers missed his sure hands on the return team.

When Ginn's 2011 highlight reel is played, it inevitably will have the two big touchdowns he scored on returns in the fourth quarter against Seattle in Week 1. Perhaps more important was the fact that Ginn didn't lose a fumble on a punt or kick return this season. The 49ers' won games this season by taking the ball away on defense and being careful with it on offense, and Ginn and the special tams unit reflected that approach.

Special teams is very important to the 49ers. And Ginn -- it's more obvious now than ever -- is a critical piece to their special teams.

It's also clear that the 49ers missed Ginn on offense. No, Ginn is not a No. 1-caliber wideout nor is he naturally gifted at the position. But defenses certainly respect his 4.3-second speed, and when Ginn is in the game, a safety always has to be wary of him taking off down field. The Giants defense, for the most part, did not feel threatened on Sunday and did a good job of bottling up the 49ers' passing attack.

The 49ers have just two receivers, Michael Crabtree and Kyle Williams, signed for next season. They started the game but only had one catch between them - Crabtree's for a modest three yards. Crabtree was targeted five times; Williams four times. That's the second straight quiet game for Crabtree, and afterward he expressed frustration at not being given chances to make plays.

"Sometimes, you've just got to move the ball," Crabtree said, his frustration palpable. "You've got to make plays. You've got to give people chances to make plays. You've got to make plays."

Unrestricted free agents
LB Ahmad Brooks
LB Blake Costanzo
WR Ted Ginn
S Dashon Goldson
LB Tavares Gooden
WR Joshua Morgan
TE Justin Peelle
RG Chilo Rachal
CB Carlos Rogers
FB Moran Norris
QB Alex Smith
S Reggie Smith
OL Adam Snyder
WR Brett Swain
S Madieu Williams

Restricted free agents
CB Tramaine Brock (Exclusive rights free agent)
LB Larry Grant (RFA)
DB C.J. Spillman (RFA)
DT Will Tukuafu, injured reserve (EFA)

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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