Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFC West [Print without images]

Monday, January 18, 2010
Thoughts on 49ers' special-teams hire

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

The 49ers' hiring of Kurt Schottenheimer to coach their special teams should work out because the team has good personnel at snapper, kicker and punter.

But replacing Al Everest with Schottenheimer is a curious move. Everest was known as a solid special-teams coach (he could wind up with the Steelers). Schottenheimer has a long history as an NFL assistant coach, but he has not coached special teams since 1994.

The 49ers' return game was poor in 2009. I think that was because they lacked a good return specialist, not because Everest forgot how to coach returners.

Schottenheimer otherwise inherits a solid situation. The 49ers are set at snapper, kicker and punter. They have one of the NFL's very best special-teams players in Michael Robinson. Coach Mike Singletary has made toughness a priority, and toughness is critical for good special teams.