TEMPE, Ariz. — Sure, the Arizona Cardinals have two standout receivers in Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd.
But coach Bruce Arians loves small receivers with dazzling speed, and he’s added two of them this year in Ted Ginn Jr. and John Brown.
Ginn is a seven-year NFL veteran whose been used mostly as a kick returner and wants to show that he is more than just that. Brown, a third-round draft pick out of Pittsburg State, has impressed in the off-season after taking a long, tough road to the NFL.
Together, quarterback Carson Palmer says, the two add a dimension to the Arizona offence that wasn’t there last season.
Arians has utilized small receivers with great success, such as he did with T.Y. Hilton in Indianapolis. Ginn and Brown both stand 5-foot-11.
"Anytime you can hit a home run in one play its easy," Arians said. "The threat of those guys being out there is every play you can hit one and what they do to a defence to open up everybody else. You don't have to throw it long, you hit a fast guy going across the field it's easy for them to turn it up and go the distance."
The coach figures the team has better speed in several spots.
"Andre Ellington being the featured back adds a lot of speed on the field," Arians said. "Whoever comes out of the tight end room has got some speed. I really like where we're at offensively."
Ginn has played with Miami, San Francisco and Carolina, but never much as a receiver.
While his kick and punt return skills could be utilized with the Cardinals, Arians has him playing the No. 3 receiver role often in workouts.
"It means a lot," Ginn said after the team's second mini-camp workout on Wednesday. "I've been in this league for a little while now. I know the ins and outs of different things. The main thing is coming over and learning the scheme."
Brown was drafted in the third round out of the Division II power Pittsburg State. He grew up in Florida and made several stops before landing in the small Kansas school. He is motivated by the shooting death of his brother, wearing his brother's dog tag and having his picture on his cellphone.
Brown has blazing speed. He ran a 4.34-second 40-yard dash, third-fastest at the draft combined."
"He's a good kid, real, real fast," Ginn said. "He gets in and out of his routes. It should be exciting what he can do."
Brown immediately took to the concepts Arians teaches.
"I think I fit in pretty well," he said. "All the plays are designed for me to get open. I know Larry and Michael get doubled a lot, so it will help me a lot."
Brown said he's taking his cues from Fitzgerald and Floyd.
"I follow Larry, I follow Michael," he said. "I ask a thousand questions. Those guys, they give me information, and everything they do, I follow their footsteps. If I don't understand, I ask him."
Asked who would win a race between the two, Ginn quickly said, "I would."
Whatever, they are both very fast.
But everything is not perfect for these receivers, not when Arians is watching every move, like a pass Brown dropped on Wednesday.
"'He was a rookie today," Arians said. "He dropped the ball, first one he's dropped. He fell down wide open. So he got to be a rookie. I think he's reading his press clippings."