49ers special teams: Is Kyle Williams ready to take over?

Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

We take a look at the performance of Kyle Williams and what it means for Ted Ginn and the kick/punt return unit

One of the notable storylines that we've discussed a fair amount here is the 49ers special teams. The units that comprise the special teams squad have struggled at times this season. While Andy Lee and David Akers continue their strong performance, the coverage and return units have had some issues at times. There could be numerous reasons for this, but one is likely something to do with some new players on the various units.

One notable absence through three weeks has been Ted Ginn Jr. In his time with the 49ers, Ginn has been among the best return men in the game, both in punt returns and kick returns. The 49ers return game was a big part of the team's strong field position in 2011, and that has been a bit of a downgrade this season.

Until last week....

Kendall Hunter returned the first two kicks for the 49ers against the Vikings, netting a total of 49 yards on the two returns. To start the second half, Kyle Williams took over the kick return job and on his first touch gained 94 yards, setting up the 49ers at the Minnesota 14. On his second return, Williams gained 50 yards. The 49ers netted a combined three points on the two ensuing drives, but the point remains that Williams made something happen.

Through the first three games, Williams has returned those two kicks for 144 yards and four punts for 52 yards. His 13.0 yard average on punts is good for eighth in the league. He is tied for 28th in returns attempted (he's had several fair catches), but even still, he is showing some skills.

For some, the concern remains that he will choke in a big situation. We won't know until the situation presents itself, but given his performance to date, he is potentially working his way into position to retain the return jobs for the foreseeable future.

At the same time, Ted Ginn is starting to work his way back. He has not played in the regular season, but is starting to practice again. He was limited all last week, and is again this week. Nobody really knows if he will be active for Sunday, so we are left to wait and wonder. However, given Kyle Williams performance thus far, what should the 49ers do?

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