It may just be the exhibition season, but we're one week into San Francisco 49ers football, which means it's time for me to whine and complain about special teams. I'm a big fan of the product San Francisco puts on the field, when it comes to the coverage units, each and every year ... but I still worry quite a bit. I'm critical of every move, and you are probably all pretty sick of it by now.
Well get used to it.
Unlike offense and defense, what we see in the preseason on the coverage units is typically pretty close to what we can expect in the regular season. It's an ongoing battle as players fight for those last roster spots. Fortunately, there weren't any huge mistakes on Thursday against the Baltimore Ravens.
The coverage units were solid, though they did let a couple returns get by them. San Francisco was saved by some very, very solid punting from punters Andy Lee and Colton Schmidt. (PUNTER CONTROVERSY PUNTER CONTROVERSY) The coverage units just didn't get down there as fast as we're used to seeing them. Fortunately, they've got some time to work on that.
I noted Chris Borland looked pretty good on the coverage units, for what it's worth. I think he's probably more valuable than I've given him credit for, but he's still not going to beat out Michael Wilhoite for the primary backup job at inside linebacker. Flourishing on special teams and potentially making Blake Costanzo expendable is what he should be shooting for.
But how about the returners? Bruce Ellington started things off with a 32-yard return, and finished with two kick returns for 62 yards. He looked fast and decisive, and of course: he didn't drop a punt. Devon Wylie returned a couple kicks for 55 yards as well, while Chuck Jacobs returned one of them 40 yards
Phil Dawson was Phil Dawson.
I'm a little surprised things worked as well as they did on special teams Thursday. The unit has a long way to go but my list of grievances is certainly smaller than normal. What did you see?