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This Week in Niners Nation: Special Teams Overhaul Edition (6/7)

This Week in Niners Nation, a weekly revisiting of Niners Nation content. We continue our 90-in-90 series of posts about each of the ninety players going into camp. We also take a look at the revamping of our special teams unit right before our eyes.

This is what happens after a made field goal, in case you've forgotten.
This is what happens after a made field goal, in case you've forgotten.
Jason Miller

These are the days that tend to bore the crap out of me. Sure, there's a bit going on here or there with the roster. The 78th guy gets cut, moving players 79-90 up the depth chart. There are reports about who's playing well, who dropped a pass and who's not playing at all. But generally, there's little going on (in public, that is) that actually affects the outlook on the season. Guys get familiar with each other (critical for success), we pray for no more injuries and we get a few sound bites.

That's what I was expecting this week. Then a few odd things happened. The 49ers added Kassim Osgood and Raymond Ventrone to boost their special teams. Both have positions, but they're primary purpose, the reason they're on the 90-man roster, is to boost special teams. Coach Harbaugh went on Judge Judy. That's weird. What's even weirder, is that he spoke about Colt McCoy as the No. 2 quarterback. His love of, and demand for, competition and the cloak of secrecy that shrouds the team tends to make these turn of events never occur ever, let alone in early June. All reports have McCoy playing well, seizing the opportunity afforded him and looking like a top-level backup.

And there we have it. An eventful week from an uneventful time of the year.

Special Teams News

One of the biggest upgrades to our special teams unit came with the addition of Phil Dawson as place kicker. He's replacing the deposed David Akers, now in Detroit battling a Norwegian guy who kicks left-handed can openers through soccer nets from a moving moped on YouTube to get noticed. Dawson has been nothing but clutch. Thank goodness. | Phil Dawson aims to get 49ers kicking on the straight and narrow (Busichio)

In writing TWiNN, I don't tend to include straightforward news pieces, especially in the offseason. But with ST being the fare for the week, we're just going to have to look at the news that Kassim Osgood was signed (emphasis on SIGH). He's a three-time Pro-Bowler as an ST standout. Joe Hastings was waived to make room. Gotfrench93 commented on my Nuggets piece from that day, and I quote, "No matter what happens roster-wise...kick coverage in the preseason should be awesome." | 49ers sign Kassim Osgood (Fooch)

Steph looks at the nature of special teams. They're generally just a bunch of inexpensive rookies and youngsters with little or no experience at it being lumped in there for financial reasons. She discusses the case of C.J. Spillman, who's 'waiting his turn', and notes that 20% of all plays in the NFL involve special teams. That's a lot of plays for us to have sucked on last year! | What's so special about the 49ers bolstering special teams? (SoCaliSteph)


Anthony Dixon is one of the most popular 49ers. He's been on the bubble since he arrived and this year will be no different. He won't see many carries at his listed position, running back, but the depth he provides, plus his special teams play, could see him through. Then again, with all the upgrades at ST... | 90-in-90 breakdowns: Anthony Dixon (Fooch)

Here's another one of those new special teams guys. Dan Skuta led the Bengals in ST tackles last year, his fourth campaign, after signing as an undrafted free agent. He works hard. Fooch speculates that he might not be as close of a lock as you think. I think they brought him in to be their ace on the coverage unit. They cut Rock Cartwright last year, and we hope they've learned their lesson. | 90-in-90 breakdowns: Dan Skuta (Fooch)

It's nice to give a little credit to the unsung heroes of the team. Guys who do their job with no fanfare and seek no glory. Ray McDonald is one of those guys. You never hear from him. He just stops the opponent from running on his side, gets the occasional pressure, while eating up blockers so the stars can make plays. This one's for Ray. | 90-in-90 breakdowns: Ray McDonald (Tre9er)

Here's one of those situations where money may be the deciding factor... In listing what Trenton Robinson has going for him under the 'chances of making roster' portion of the post, Fooch mentions that he's cheap. I don't mean he shops for underpants at Walmart and takes first dates to Del Taco. I mean he doesn't make a lot of money. | 90-in-90 breakdowns: Trenton Robinson (Fooch)

Ahmad Brooks really came into his own last season. Peter King even had him on his All-Pro team. There were a lot of good players at OLB last year, and without the massive sack numbers, sometimes it's hard to get noticed. Brooks is managing to make a name for himself on a team full of standout defenders. | 90-in-90 breakdowns: Ahmad Brooks (Tre9er)

Other News

Finishing the year as the league's runner up would indicate that a Lombardi Trophy is the only acceptable conclusion for next year. Anything less would be a regression, really. James proposes that 2013 is just as important for the long-term development of the team as it is for the presumed Super Bowl run. These rookies are our future, and some of them are our present. | For San Francisco 49ers, it's Super Bowl or bust, but next season is far more important for the long term (Brady)

Woodsy and I did our usual thing on Friday, answering all the questions we could. A couple of Qs about the cornerback situation and, more specifically, Nnamdi Asomugha's role on the team. Nnamdi-watch could provide a fair bit of intrigue as the summer rolls on. | Niners Nation #Channel49 Twitter Mailbag Vol. 12: 49ers cornerbacks, Kaepernick rushing prediction, and more (Woods & Malone)

Coach was on Judge Judy. That's Saved by the Bell, Adventures of Brisco County Jr and now Judge Judy. One sterling resume Harbs is ringing up. Thankfully Hard Knocks isn't on the radar! Reading this post made me smile in an awkward way. | Jim Harbaugh on 'Judge Judy' show -- we've got screenshots of the 49ers' coach living the dream (Brady)

Wes has been forced to take to the blogosphere to defend the Eric Mangini hiring. Sure, he failed in two ventures as a head coach. He was Bill Belichick's co-brain for a while, which is what got him his gigs in the first place. He's not replacing Harbaugh, people, he's just helping out. It's ok to ask for help. | Defending the Eric Mangini hiring (Hanson)


Wowzers! We've got some serious entries in the FanPost of the Week competition. It's hard to decide, so I'm going with fan favourite, Fred.P.Soft, who won the most recs. Starting slow was the bane of this team last year, and is ultimately to blame for the Super Bowl loss. This looks like a series, so get ready! | Reviewing Slow Starts: Exhibit A, Week 15 at NE (Fred.P.Soft)

Jerryriceisthebest comes in next with their rankings of head coaches in the league. If you had to start a franchise by drafting a coach, who would it be? If you said Jim Harbaugh, then give yourself a pat on the back. | Who is the Best Coach in the League? (Jerryriceisthebest)

Biff Strongman comes in with a stat-driven piece about why Colin Kaepernick is the best young quarterback in the league. I just spout opinions, with no stats to back me up, because I'm outspoken and lazy. Biff brings the goods, though. And then, right in the middle of the post is the craziest picture. Are you as confused as I am? | Why Kaepernick is Without a Doubt the #1 Young QB (Biff Strongman)

I won't be able to do TWiNN next week. It's my wife's 30th birthday and I'm going out of town. So, you'll have to excuse me, I'll be in the spa bath. Cha-ching!

Being a Sheep

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