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Returning The Ball
September 18 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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The 49ers suffered big time in the special teams department on Sunday. The kick returning, manned primarily by Jimmy Williams was dismal, constantly dropping the ball, or being left unable to return it. It was a drastic difference than what the 49ers were hoping to achieve with their return game this summer.

The 49ers released Vinny Sutherland, the teams return man last season, because he wasnít explosive enough. Sutherland however, didnít drop/fumble the ball, and built a reputation as being reliable. Given that the 49ers couldnít answer their kick returning the team should consider brining Sutherland back to the team.

The 49ers, clearly not content have already brought Glyn Milburn in for a workout. Milburn is a nine-year veteran of the league, having played in Detroit and Chicago, and last season in San Diego. He averaged 8.2 yards on his 21 returns last season.

Something needs to be done to solidify the special teams return position. Starting field position is crucial to building a solid offense, and that has clearly been a down fall of the 49ers this season. Turning the ball over on special teams, something the 49ers havenít done yet, but are awfully close to doing is even more dangerous to the success of the team. The 49ers have recognized this as a problem area on the team, and will likely do something to change it (even letting Cedrick Wilson or Jamal Robertson take on the duties). They are quite constrained in terms of roster positions however, and likely wonít be able to dedicate a roster spot to a return man that doesnít compete in other areas on the field too.

Talk about it in the 49ers Paradise Forum

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