Eric Branch conducted an interesting interview with 49ers long-snapper Brian Jennings in which Jennings briefly discussed the upcoming season and new special teams coach Brad Seely.
"I love everything about special teams and he's been coaching it at a very high level for a very long time and I want to see why," Jennings said. "I'm so lucky to have the opportunity to sit in those meeting rooms and figure out what he's doing that helps his teams dominate."
I find myself wondering the same thing when it comes to the 49ers new special teams coach. Prior to joining Jim Harbaugh's staff, Seely coached special teams with the Cleveland Browns for two seasons and the New England Patriots for the ten seasons before that.
I did a quick look through Football Outsiders database of DVOA rankings and over the last few years, Seely's teams have all ranked in the top ten in special teams DVOA. During that same stretch the 49ers had two top five finishes and three finishes in the middle of the pack. The last two seasons have seen the 49ers finish 21st and 19th.
Can a new special teams coach be the difference-maker, or is it simply a question of the talent on hand? It seems like special teams success is a mix of talent on hand and injuries to said talent. As for coaching, I'm not sure how it fits in to the success of special teams. Any thoughts on this?