Special Team Woes
November 13 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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The 49ers special teams have really stunk up the joint this season. Itís not just Jose Cortez missing field goals, like the three heís missed in the past two weeks. The problems stem much deeper. Itís the return teams, the coverage teams, the kickers, they are all playing at a sub par level.
Return man Jimmy Williams is not coughing up the ball, but he certainly isnít bringing the ball up field a whole lot either. Luckily Williams is not doing a worse job that Sutherland last year. The return teams are thus stumbling, whether it be Williams or the blocking for him.
The coverage teams have been absolutely brutal, so bad in fact that the 49ers kickers have been asked to kick the ball shorter at times to avoid a big run back. This is not how you play effective football. The return of Paul Smith and John Keith havenít helped yet, but hopefully will.
Jose Cortez couldnít nail a touchback if his life depended on it, and punter Jason Baker is anything but consistent. The 49ers have two other kicking options, but not willing to use them, makes you wonder just how bad the other guys are.