Here at Niners Nation, we're presenting a series called "90-in-90". We'll be looking at every player on the San Francisco 49ers offseason roster, one player per post, from now until the start of training camp.
A position that always gets overlooked until there's a lack of production is kicker. The 49ers kicking situation was highly noticeable last season, and not in a good way. After a stellar Pro Bowl 2011 season with the 49ers, kicker David Akers had an awful 2012 season, making only 69 percent of his field-goal tries. The 49ers and Akers parted ways in the offseason, which created an opening for a new kicker.
Many (myself included), thought the 49ers would draft a kicker this year, but the 49ers went another route. They elected to find their upgrade in free agency by signing 2012 Pro Bowler and former Cleveland Brown, Phil Dawson. Dawson, at age 38, isn't a young buck anymore. But that doesn't matter at kicker, as long as you still have a strong leg, which Dawson does. Father time hasn't told Dawson it's time to hang it up yet, and I believe he'll be as consistent as he has always been.
What To Expect In 2013
Expect consistency from Dawson, something he has delivered his whole career. The past four seasons Dawson hasn't has a field-goal percentage of less than 83 percent. Expect a kicker who can make long field goals. The past two seasons Dawson has connected on fourteen of fifteen attempts from fifty yards or more. The 49ers offense will be giving Dawson some chances from long range, and he has the ability to make a lot of the looks he gets.
Dawson is now on a winning team, something he isn't used to. Being part of a Super Bowl run could make Dawson more clutch than ever before, and the 49ers may need him to be multiple times this season. 49ers fans will grow to trust Dawson and his abilities. A reunion with his old Browns special teams coach Brad Seely should also bode well for Dawson.
His biggest test in 2013 will be the tricky winds of Candlestick Park, but Dawson is already trying to figure out the stadium's difficult conditions. Dawson has practiced At Candlestick this offseason with Andy Lee and Brian Jennings, and is well on his way to getting more comfortable in his new home stadium.
Odds Of Making The Roster
The only way Dawson does not make the roster is if he gets injured. Lock Dawson down as one of the fifty-three 49ers in 2013.