Niners Live provided you with an in-depth post-game summary, which turned out to be a bag of mixed reviews. We now go a step further as only we know how, breaking down and dissecting the performance of each unit individually, recapping the game, inside the game.
In this edition, we will feature the highly underrated Return Game/Special Teams.
Doing Something Special
For many players, an opportunity to stand out from the pack and secure a roster spot, will come from being viewed as an impact player on the special teams. Just ask Aaron Burbridge who, even though he hasn’t seen much action offensively thus far as pointed out in our assessment of this year’s Training Camp Battles featuring the Wide Receivers, has surely been solidifying himself as a leader of this unit. Per Head coach Kyle Shanahan during his post-game recap, special teams coach Richard Hightower singled out Burbridge due to his performance on special teams and thought him to be deserving of the honor of being named team captain for the inaugural preseason contest this past Friday.
Highlights and Missed opportunities
The new regime must be thoroughly impressed with rookie Trent Taylor who continues to solidify himself and UDFA Victor Bolden who is coming on strong as of late. Both managed to turn in 30 plus yard returns providing a ray of hope and excitement of big play possibilities in the return game this upcoming season (ESPN.com).
Kickers Robbie Gould and back up Nick Rose were solid, converting on two field goal attempts each and accounting for 13 of the 27 total points. Punter Brad Pinion picked up where he left off last season doing his part to help win the field position battle with the exception of a blocked punt in the third quarter thanks to a missed assignment by Running back Kapri Bibbs, which may have sealed his fate for a roster spot on the final 53.
Area of opportunity
While offense and defense require a deeper understanding of scheme and technique, Special Teams is the most basic of all the football units. On June 10, 2017, Niners Live brought you Special team will need to deliver in 2017 part 1 runner and gunners in regards to the performance of this unit and the importance to the team success. As a special teams coach, you never want to see your unit give up a big play that could swing the moment of the game, especially being a team that is still during its infancy rebuilding stages and will most likely be lacking in chemistry going into the season. That’s why it is vital to have players who understand the importance of their positions and execute their responsibilities to the highest degree of success. Look for an added sense of urgency to this unit in the weeks to come as players on the bubble fight for roster spots. Let’s see who responds to the challenge and solidifies themselves on this unit in this week’s matchup against the Denver Broncos.
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As always, keep your eyes wide open, 49er fans. Niners Live will be watching with you. #eyeswideopen and often imitated but never duplicated… Go Niners
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All records, statistics, and accolades are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com, Pro Football Focus, 49ers.com, ESPN.com, NFL.com unless otherwise indicated. Author, Irvin Johnson Staff Writer at Niners Live. Co-Author, Content Creator, Editor Sequoia Sims.