The 49ers special teams unit rolled through the 2011 regular season thoroughly dominating their opponents. The team was among the leaders in kicking, punting, and both punt and kick returns. Ted Ginn, David Akers and Andy Lee were the most high profile when it came to unit recognition, but the coverage units were equally spectacular throughout the season.
Blake Costanzo was the most high profile 49ers player on special teams, but based on a fairly small sample size, C.J. Spillman had the better numbers in 2011. Football Outsiders is releasing a variety of stats they have come across in preparing their 2012 prospectus, and today they released a breakdown of special teams tackles, including total tackles and stop rate for players with at least 15 return tackles.
Blake Costanzo finished the season with 12 return tackles and nine for stops. C.J. Spillman finished with 15 tackles and 13 for stops. These are not sufficiently in depth to make a lot of conclusions, but the 49ers will be looking for Rock Cartwright to replicate or improve upon Costanzo's special teams prowess. There is a good chance Anthony Dixon will depart as well, with Trenton Robinson likely getting some significant special teams time his rookie season.