Great players make those around them better. For proof, look no further than the impact inevitable 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton has had on journeyman receiver Ted Ginn.
The 30-year-old Ginn has changed teams five times in nine NFL seasons, but the two best statistical seasons of his career have taken place in Carolina with Newton.
Had Ginn put those seasons together in consecutive years, we might be able to chalk it up to simple improvement. But after catching a career-high five touchdown passes while going for 556 receiving yards in 2013, Ginn departed for Arizona, where he had only 190 yards and was scoreless in 16 regular-season games. Then, he returned to Carolina for a jaw-dropping (relatively speaking) 739 yards and 10 touchdowns with the 2015 Panthers.
A disproportionately high percentage of Ginn’s career numbers have come with Newton as his quarterback.
Newton has been Ginn’s quarterback for…
9.3 percent of his career games
31.7 percent of his catches
37.9 percent of his yards
71.4 percent of his touchdowns
But since 2010, it’s even more lopsided. After leaving the Dolphins three seasons into his career, Ginn made almost no impact for three years in San Francisco. In the last six years, he’s played in 95 regular-season and playoff games, but almost all of his production has come with Newton in 2013 and 2015.
In the last six years, Newton has been Ginn’s quarterback for…
35.8 percent of his career games
63.7 percent of his catches
71.2 percent of his yards
93.8 percent of his touchdowns
Ginn put up borderline-Pro Bowl numbers in his first relatively full year as a starter since 2009, but don’t be fooled into believing that he has suddenly become a stud receiver. The man still dropped nine passes.