SANTA CLARA -- Ted Ginn Jr. might be the foremost authority on the NFL's new-breed, dual-threat quarterbacks. After participating in Colin Kaepernick's emergence last season en route to the Super Bowl, Ginn is flourishing as one of Cam Newton's top targets this season with the Carolina Panthers.

"They both have something lot people don't have, and they use it: Speed," Ginn said Wednesday on a media conference call ahead of Sunday's game at Candlestick Park.

"They can run. A lot of quarterbacks don't run like these guys. Being able to have speed and read-option (plays) makes them be a little different."

Both quarterbacks are their respective teams' second-leading rusher: Kaepernick has 49 carries for 294 yards (6.0 average) and three touchdowns, and Newton has 55 carries for 251 yards (4.6 average) and four touchdowns. They rank as fourth and seventh among quarterbacks in rushing yards, respectively.

Primarily used as the 49ers' return specialist the previous three seasons, Ginn had just two receptions for 1 yard last season. This season, he has 21 receptions for 367 yards and two touchdowns.

"My goal is to go out whoever I'm with to have a feature Ted Ginn," he said. "I play it, I enjoy it, I wanted a better opportunity."

Why didn't he get more of an opportunity as a 49ers wideout?


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"Don't know," Ginn replied. "We were striving for a Super Bowl so I was being a team player, being a role guy and fulfilling my role."

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said of Ginn: "He was in a situation where the top two guys fighting for the No. 3 position both got hurt. Ted went in, made tremendous plays and it was, 'What do we have here?' ... He's been tremendous for us."

The 49ers have had trouble this season replacing Ginn's return-specialist capabilities. Kyle Williams has seen the most action on kickoff on punt returns ahead of such candidates as LaMichael James, Perrish Cox, Kendall Hunter and Anthony Dixon.

Ginn is averaging 8.3 yards per punt return and 24.7 yards per kickoff return with the Panthers. But he doesn't have to focus solely on special teams anymore, and he's now preparing for a familiar 49ers defense.

"To play with those guys so many years, I know what that defense is about and what it brings," Ginn said. "Having Aldon back is an 'X' factor. They'll come out in full force."

For more on the 49ers, see Cam Inman's Hot Read blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/49ers. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/CamInman.