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Ginn helps bring balance to WR group


CHARLOTTE – No Panthers wide receiver ranks in the top 30 in the NFL in receptions or receiving yards.

No problem.

"It's big when you can go out and come together as a unit and be able to get the balls thrown around to everyone," wide receiver Ted Ginn said. "Everyone is eating."

Ginn, Steve Smith and Brandon LaFell are each averaging more than 40 receiving yards per game, making Carolina just three NFC teams – along with the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants – that can claim such a trio.

In addition, they've combined for 10 receiving touchdowns, the same total that Panthers wide receivers accumulated the entire 2012 season.

"Each week it's a different receiver that's leading," said LaFell, who paced the Panthers with a career-high seven catches in Monday night's victory over the New England Patriots. "I've got one week, Smitty's got the next week, and then this week Ted didn't lead in any category, but he made the biggest play of the game.

"We're all getting into a groove. Everybody is stepping up when their name is called, and we have to continue to do that. We couldn't care less about stats. The only stat that matters is wins."

Ginn had to be the hungriest member of the group, starving for some individual success after catching just two passes last season with San Francisco. But Ginn, who played in the Super Bowl last season, is a team-first player, wanting to win regardless of stats just as much as LaFell – who has never enjoyed a winning season in the NFL – and Smith, who has seen it all.

"It felt good for everybody. It felt good for our Panther pride," Ginn said of his game-winning touchdown catch against the Patriots. "It felt good for our room. It felt good for me and my family. It's just a joy."

Ginn, who has 24 receptions and three receiving touchdowns after compiling 33 catches and one receiving touchdown in three seasons with the 49ers, made most of his impact on special teams in Carolina's victory at San Francisco in Week 10. Now he's preparing for a trip to face his other former team: The Miami Dolphins selected Ginn with the seventh overall pick in the 2007 draft before trading him after three productive seasons.

"It was for the betterment of both situations," Ginn said. "I had my time there and enjoyed it. It started me off.

"There are no hard feelings or anything like that. The game is a business, and you just move on."

Ginn still has a home in Miami, but he's found a new home in Carolina alongside Smith, who leads the team in receptions (46) and yards (512); and LaFell, who leads the receiving corps and is tied with tight end Greg Olsen with four receiving touchdowns.

"Ted has been a threat all season," said quarterback Cam Newton, who ranks 10th in the NFL with 16 passing touchdowns. "With Miami and the 49ers, he was viewed as the special teams All-American. He came here very hungry, trying to learn from Steve, and now those guys are feeding off each other.

"That's what you want."

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