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Shanahan on Jake Moody: ‘No issues here with me’

Jake Moody started 0-2, but the Kyle Shanahan has seen plenty of good from his rookie kicker during practice

San Francisco 49ers v Las Vegas Raiders Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

The 49ers drafted a kicker in the third round of the 2023 NFL Draft. But it wasn’t just any kicker. Jake Moody was coveted by other teams, so much so that the Niners were convinced Moody wouldn’t make it to the fifth round.

We had our first exposure to Moody against the Raiders. The rookie missed both of his kicks, though he could easily be forgiven for one. There’s no shame in missing from 58 yards, even if the result was wide right by the length of a first down.

But Moody’s initial attempt came at a point in the game that the team couldn’t have simulated better in a practice setting. Moody was iced by the Raiders from 40 yards out with four seconds remaining in the second half. The score was 14-7, and the Niners had a chance to put points on the board. Moody’s kick went wide left, and that was as close as the 49ers would come to scoring again for the rest of the game.

Kyle Shanahan isn’t worried, as Moody has delivered in practice: “It’s unfortunate because I know the pressure’s on him when everyone’s looking, and I know he missed those two today, but he’s been great in practice.”

Adding fuel to the fire on the 58-yard attempt was that it came on a 4th & 1. Coincidentally, the 49ers were in the same situation earlier in the game after a failed first down:

Shanahan initially planned to go for the fourth down try again: “They’re both 4th & 1s, and the first one, I think, was third and six. And I told the offense, ‘you guys got two plays here.’ But it was frustrating. I wanted us to finish that drive and get more reps for the guys, especially the quarterback, and we didn’t convert on that 4th & 1.”

We’ll see where Shanahan and Moody both go from here. Like most rookies, Moody will have to work through uncomfortable situations. Unlike most rookies, Moody’s expected to be perfect when he steps onto the field. He’ll have a handful of opportunities during the next two preseason games.

I understand being frustrated with the misses. Shanahan said, “I’m glad it happened now, there’s a lot to learn from it.” But some complaints don’t add up. For example, “the rookie kicker can’t even kick it out of the end zone!”

After the 49ers scored, Moody’s kick landed on the Raiders 2-yard line. The returner only made it to the 16-yard line. A holding penalty was enforced on the kick, and Las Vegas started on the 8-yard line and went 3-and-out. Save for a fumble recovery, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better result than that on a kickoff.

The Niners way of taking advantage of the speed on the team can be maximized on kickoffs by pinning opponents inside the 20-yard line if Moody executes, which he did.

Shanahan made it sound like that wouldn’t be the last time we see Moody kick a long field goal: “I was just excited to attempt a long one, which was fun, but until it was missed. But he’s been great. He handles himself well. So no issues here with me.”

Let’s see how Moody responds in his next outing.