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Special Teams 2014

  • buck
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 11,517
Originally posted by WINiner:
Thinking Ventrone, Dahl, Osgood are goners.

I tend to think that Craig Dahl will be cut.

His cap number is high---1,283,333.

With the addition of Bethea and Ward, Dahl at best is the 4th safety on the team.

CJ Spillman is better on special teams, has gotten playing time at safety and is much cheaper---158,334.

Spillman sticks and Dahl leaves.


I am not sure about Ventrone and Osgood. I would not classify them as goners, not yet anyway.
But, with the addition of Blake Costanzo, I do think that one of them will get cut.

[ Edited by buck on Jun 6, 2014 at 6:35 AM ]
Originally posted by buck:
The importance of special teams cannot be ignored.

There are number of players whose presence on the team will depend on their special teams play.

As I see it, we have three absolute locks on special teams; Andy Lee, Phil Dawson, and Kevin McDermott.

RETURN SPECIALIST

Incumbent, LaMichael James, remains on the roster. He can handle both punt and kick returns, but there are a couple of factors that might diminish his appeal.

First, and foremost, correctly or incorrectly, his tweets are irritating, and we know Harbaugh is not a big fan of irritating tweeters. Second, up to this point, James has not proven to be a solid running back.

Given the apparent depth that we have at running back, I think that James only survives the final cut, if team cannot find another option at punt and kick returns.

Possible Return Specialists




GUNNERS

The team does have space for one gunner who does not bring much if anything to the team at another position. Maybe, the team has room for two such players, but I am not sure.

With the addition of Blake Costanzo predicting the gunners on our special team unit became somewhat more complicated.

Possible Gunners



It will interesting to see what happens between now and the final cuts.


Cap Numbers are from

http://overthecap.com/calculator/?Team=49ers

Long overdue for a topic. Well done.

To date, this is who we have competing for return duties...we absolutely NEED a back-breaker back there...for US.

PR/KOR: LaMichael James; Perrish Cox, Darryl Morris, Devon Wiley, Bruce Ellington, L.J. McCray & Kenneth Acker (even Carlos Hyde took snaps here).
Originally posted by thl408:
Although Morris was one of the gunners on the punt coverage unit at times late last season, it was Spillman and Osgood in the playoffs. I misspoke in some thread about Spillman losing his job to Morris. I'm gonna assume that the best gunners on the team are Spillman and Osgood based solely off the three playoff games and how it was these two guys being used, not Morris.

Ventrone plays a key role on the punt coverage unit making the line calls for protection as well as being the person that calls for the ball to be snapped.

Isn't that Morris in your still-shot above as the gunner (#40) in the NFCCG? I'm like you...I thought he was our #1 gunner all year long. I think originally it was Spillman and Osgood but Morris took over for Spillman early in the year and excelled. If there was a change with Morris late in the playoffs, it may have been d/t increased snaps in the secondary with Roger's/Wright's minor injuries?
Originally posted by buck:
Originally posted by WINiner:
Thinking Ventrone, Dahl, Osgood are goners.

I tend to think that Craig Dahl will be cut.

His cap number is high---1,283,333.

With the addition of Bethea and Ward, Dahl at best is the 4th safety on the team.

CJ Spillman is better on special teams, has gotten playing time at safety and is much cheaper---158,334.

Spillman sticks and Dahl leaves.


I am not sure about Ventrone and Osgood. I would not classify them as goners, not yet anyway.
But, with the addition of Blake Costanzo, I do think that one of them will get cut.


Agreed. I think McCray may have more potential as a true S (plus Dontae Johnson and Jimmie Ward can play there as well) PLUS he's cheaper AND has serious return abilities and has the most experience in returning punts/kickoffs. He's got an outside shot here...
  • buck
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 11,517
Originally posted by NCommand:
Long overdue for a topic. Well done.

To date, this is who we have competing for return duties...we absolutely NEED a back-breaker back there...for US.

PR/KOR: LaMichael James; Perrish Cox, Darryl Morris, Devon Wiley, Bruce Ellington, L.J. McCray & Kenneth Acker (even Carlos Hyde took snaps here).

Thanks for the information on who has been taking snaps as punt and kick returner.

McCray had 78 kick returns for 2,194 yards and 3 scores in college.
That is an average of 28.13 yards per kick return.

He also had 17 passes defended in college---3 picks and 14 passes broken up.

So, he brings some return skills to special teams and some ball skills to the defense.

I am rooting for this UDFA.
[ Edited by buck on Jun 7, 2014 at 10:57 AM ]
  • buck
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 11,517
Originally posted by NCommand:
Agreed. I think McCray may have more potential as a true S (plus Dontae Johnson and Jimmie Ward can play there as well) PLUS he's cheaper AND has serious return abilities and has the most experience in returning punts/kickoffs. He's got an outside shot here...

I'm guessing a lot of this unit will come down to how the CB situation shakes out. I could see any of the rooks taking Osgoods spot, especially if Ellington takes James spot as a returner. No need to keep yet another receiver on the roster if his only job is ST. I'd rather have bench depth at CB/S/LB filling our ST unit. I'm rooting for anybody who has the ability to be a gamebreaker as a returner that other teams have to plan for; when you have to start worrying bout punting away from certain guys that is when valuable mistakes are made.
Tony Montana! Tony Montana! Tony Montana!
Originally posted by buck:
Originally posted by NCommand:
Agreed. I think McCray may have more potential as a true S (plus Dontae Johnson and Jimmie Ward can play there as well) PLUS he's cheaper AND has serious return abilities and has the most experience in returning punts/kickoffs. He's got an outside shot here...


This would be great.

Also Skuta sure played well.
Originally posted by NCommand:
Originally posted by thl408:
Although Morris was one of the gunners on the punt coverage unit at times late last season, it was Spillman and Osgood in the playoffs. I misspoke in some thread about Spillman losing his job to Morris. I'm gonna assume that the best gunners on the team are Spillman and Osgood based solely off the three playoff games and how it was these two guys being used, not Morris.

Ventrone plays a key role on the punt coverage unit making the line calls for protection as well as being the person that calls for the ball to be snapped.

Isn't that Morris in your still-shot above as the gunner (#40) in the NFCCG? I'm like you...I thought he was our #1 gunner all year long. I think originally it was Spillman and Osgood but Morris took over for Spillman early in the year and excelled. If there was a change with Morris late in the playoffs, it may have been d/t increased snaps in the secondary with Roger's/Wright's minor injuries?

You are right that is Morris on the kickoff coverage unit in the nfccg. I've seen the term 'Gunner' used loosely for special teams. I've seen gunner used to describe just the two guys that line up wide on the punt coverage unit whose job is to get downfield and force the fair catch. I've also seen it used to describe anyone besides the kicker on the kickoff coverage unit. When I referenced it above, I was referring to the two guys on the punt coverage unit. It's worth noting that in the handful of punts I've watched, Lee will angle his punt toward Osgood's side of the field.

The guys on the kickoff coverage unit I've seen referred to as L5, L4, L3...with L5 (left 5) being the guy closest to the sideline on the left of the kicker (Morris in the pic from the nfccg). L1 is the guy directly to the kicker's left. Then there are the R5, R4 etc guys. They all have specific duties defined by whatever strategies the ST coach uses.
  • buck
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 11,517
Edit: In my original post, I left a digit out in Blake Costanzo's cap number.

I also have realized that I should have listed the cap savings and dead money as well as the cap cost in the tables.


I have inserted the new tables in the original post.
Originally posted by thl408:
Originally posted by NCommand:
Originally posted by thl408:
Although Morris was one of the gunners on the punt coverage unit at times late last season, it was Spillman and Osgood in the playoffs. I misspoke in some thread about Spillman losing his job to Morris. I'm gonna assume that the best gunners on the team are Spillman and Osgood based solely off the three playoff games and how it was these two guys being used, not Morris.

Ventrone plays a key role on the punt coverage unit making the line calls for protection as well as being the person that calls for the ball to be snapped.

Isn't that Morris in your still-shot above as the gunner (#40) in the NFCCG? I'm like you...I thought he was our #1 gunner all year long. I think originally it was Spillman and Osgood but Morris took over for Spillman early in the year and excelled. If there was a change with Morris late in the playoffs, it may have been d/t increased snaps in the secondary with Roger's/Wright's minor injuries?

You are right that is Morris on the kickoff coverage unit in the nfccg. I've seen the term 'Gunner' used loosely for special teams. I've seen gunner used to describe just the two guys that line up wide on the punt coverage unit whose job is to get downfield and force the fair catch. I've also seen it used to describe anyone besides the kicker on the kickoff coverage unit. When I referenced it above, I was referring to the two guys on the punt coverage unit. It's worth noting that in the handful of punts I've watched, Lee will angle his punt toward Osgood's side of the field.

The guys on the kickoff coverage unit I've seen referred to as L5, L4, L3...with L5 (left 5) being the guy closest to the sideline on the left of the kicker (Morris in the pic from the nfccg). L1 is the guy directly to the kicker's left. Then there are the R5, R4 etc guys. They all have specific duties defined by whatever strategies the ST coach uses.

That makes sense! And that's a terrific observation re: angling to Osgood's side. It could just be my own perception but Morris almost always seems to be the first gunner down there (sometimes over runs b/c he's running so fast...but still usually forces the returner to hesitate even if he does before the next wave gets there) but I felt overall, he was probably the best gunner or 1 and 1A with Osgood. Spillman seemed to struggle early on but was much better last year (I think that's why we ended up seeing Morris taking over permanently).

I'm really glad we're talking about this topic and the screen shots help a ton (thanks for that!). With the talent we have now, we could end up having one of the very best coverage units in the NFL. If we can add a dynamic returner (please, please, please), we could be electric!
Obviously a lot will be decided in pre-season, but my predictions for STs are:

Out > In

Dixon > Costanzo
Moody > Borland
Dahl > Ward

That leaves the 10 guys on kickoff coverage as: Morris, Osgood, Ventrone, Costanzo, Spillman, Borland, Wilhoite, Ward, Lemonier, Skuta.

If Ward can't handle STs, then put in some other backup DB, maybe DJohnson. That's 3 guys that are designated STers in Osgood, Ventrone, and Costanzo. Not sure the staff would do that since last year there were only 2 specialized STers (Osgood, Ventrone). I think Costanzo is a direct threat to Ventrone's spot on the roster should the team only carry 2 specialized STers.
Originally posted by NCommand:
Originally posted by thl408:
Originally posted by NCommand:
Originally posted by thl408:
Although Morris was one of the gunners on the punt coverage unit at times late last season, it was Spillman and Osgood in the playoffs. I misspoke in some thread about Spillman losing his job to Morris. I'm gonna assume that the best gunners on the team are Spillman and Osgood based solely off the three playoff games and how it was these two guys being used, not Morris.

Ventrone plays a key role on the punt coverage unit making the line calls for protection as well as being the person that calls for the ball to be snapped.

Isn't that Morris in your still-shot above as the gunner (#40) in the NFCCG? I'm like you...I thought he was our #1 gunner all year long. I think originally it was Spillman and Osgood but Morris took over for Spillman early in the year and excelled. If there was a change with Morris late in the playoffs, it may have been d/t increased snaps in the secondary with Roger's/Wright's minor injuries?

You are right that is Morris on the kickoff coverage unit in the nfccg. I've seen the term 'Gunner' used loosely for special teams. I've seen gunner used to describe just the two guys that line up wide on the punt coverage unit whose job is to get downfield and force the fair catch. I've also seen it used to describe anyone besides the kicker on the kickoff coverage unit. When I referenced it above, I was referring to the two guys on the punt coverage unit. It's worth noting that in the handful of punts I've watched, Lee will angle his punt toward Osgood's side of the field.

The guys on the kickoff coverage unit I've seen referred to as L5, L4, L3...with L5 (left 5) being the guy closest to the sideline on the left of the kicker (Morris in the pic from the nfccg). L1 is the guy directly to the kicker's left. Then there are the R5, R4 etc guys. They all have specific duties defined by whatever strategies the ST coach uses.

That makes sense! And that's a terrific observation re: angling to Osgood's side. It could just be my own perception but Morris almost always seems to be the first gunner down there (sometimes over runs b/c he's running so fast...but still usually forces the returner to hesitate even if he does before the next wave gets there) but I felt overall, he was probably the best gunner or 1 and 1A with Osgood. Spillman seemed to struggle early on but was much better last year (I think that's why we ended up seeing Morris taking over permanently).

I'm really glad we're talking about this topic and the screen shots help a ton (thanks for that!). With the talent we have now, we could end up having one of the very best coverage units in the NFL. If we can add a dynamic returner (please, please, please), we could be electric!

NC, I misspoke (I think "Costanzo is back" thread) when I said that Spillman lost his job on the punt unit to Morris. In the playoffs it was always Spillman and Osgood on the punt unit. I am not sure why Morris saw action over Spillman for a portion of the games in the middle of the season.
edit: nevermind
[ Edited by theduke85 on Jun 6, 2014 at 10:37 AM ]