You have to look hard to find blemishes on a 49ers team that's on a five-game winning streak. But the two that are most easy to find involve A.) the lack of production by the No. 2 receiver and B.) the lack of pop from the return game.
Enter Ted Ginn, who has made an impact in both of those areas this year for the Panthers. Ginn spent the last three seasons in San Francisco. He was a free-agent in 2012, visited several teams in the hope they would use him more as a receiver, then ended up signing a one-year deal with the 49ers.
His stat line last year on offense: two catches, 1 receiving yard and one very memorable flub in St. Louis on a pitch between him and Colin Kaepernick.
This year's numbers are far more impressive. He has 21 catches for 367 yards for Carolina and is averaging a gaudy 17.5 yards per reception. What's more, he has two receiving touchdowns. He had only one -- in 2010 -- in three seasons in San Francisco. Meanwhile, no 49ers wide receiver has a touchdown this year other than Anquan Boldin.
Said Ginn: "My goal was to go out and, whoever I went to, just give them an opportunity to feature Ted Ginn. I believe I can player receiver. I played it, I enjoy it. I just wanted to have a better opportunity."
Asked why he didn't have a bigger role in San Francisco, Ginn said, "I really don't know. ... I was just being a team player, a role guy. I was just filling my role. That's all I can really say. I don't know why or what or what was said or whatever. I just went out and played football and I did what the people asked me to do."
As far as returns, Ginn's numbers certainly aren't explosive. He ranks in the middle of the league rankings in kickoff and punt returns. Still, he hasn't turned the ball over - which was his strength as a return man in San Francisco, too - and his numbers are better in both categories than Kyle Williams'.
The 49ers might be ready to make a changes in their return game. Anthony Dixon got a chance at kick returns against Jacksonville and played well. LaMichael James could get his first-ever chance at a punt return in a regular season game. He held that role during the preseason but has been a healthy scratch the last three games.
-- Matt Barrows