We’re going to look at each positions departures prior to Week 1 of the 2017 season and see how they fared after leaving the 49ers. Some players went on to better careers, while others may be out of the league. We won’t be highlighting every transaction, just some notable ones. Today, we do the the kicking teams
The San Francisco 49ers special teams became a bright spot last season, with their kicking units getting high praise. Bradley Pinion showed improvement two years after Andy Lee was traded to the Cleveland Browns for a 7th-round draft pick. The 49ers also signed Robbie Gould to helm kicking duties while saying farewell to fan-favorite Phil Dawson.
We’ve discussed returners in a different thread, but Jeremy Kerley took on punting duties for the 49ers and replaced by Trent Taylor. Despite a couple rookie issues (like a muffed punt to start a game) Taylor grew in the role and will no doubt be penciled-in as the 49ers punt returner next year.
The kick-off return team remains in a state of flux with several taking the job throughout the year. We’re going to focus on the kickers themselves. Here’s a list of the more notable departures that is no way complete. Note that with some exceptions, camp bodies, training camp transactions, and roster cuts during the season are not listed for the most part.
Phil Dawson (K)
Nick Rose (K)
Brock Miller (P)
There’s really only one person worth talking about:
Phil Dawson came into an ailing 49ers field goal unit that won in spite of David Akers’ numerous chip-shot misses during 2012. Considered one of the best kickers in the league at his signing, Dawson quickly made a name for himself as ‘Daw-some’ by fans. Dawson solidified himself as one of the best during the 2013 NFC Wild Card against the Green Bay Packers, kicking a buzzer-beater field goal and allowing the 49ers to advance to the NFC Divisional. The kick itself was a chip-shot, but it was done in the frigid cold of Green Bay where both teams were thinking twice about field goals all day due to the temperature and frozen ground.
Unfortunately, with the possibility of several rebuilding seasons looming, Dawson departed from the 49ers in 2017, going to the Arizona Cardinals. The 49ers went on to sign Robbie Gould as their new kicker. Dawson’s final season in San Francisco went 18 for 21 (85.7 percent)
Dawson saw a lot more attempts in Arizona, nearly double his final season with the 49ers. The larger numbers however also led to a few more misses. He went 32 for 40 (80 percent). The majority of his misses came from field goals of 30-49 yards, kicks he only missed three of in his 2016 season. He also missed three extra point attempts, two more than his final year with the 49ers.
Do you want Phil Dawson back?