Niners Go Into 2018 With Solid Specialists

Robbie Gould couldn't have been better as the 49ers kicker in 2017, and punter-kickoff specialist Bradley Pinion was strong

One area where the 49ers look solid this offseason is in their special team's duo of kicker Robbie Gould and punter/kickoff specialist Bradley Pinion.

When the analytic website Pro Football Focus recently graded the special teams of every NFL team, the 49ers came in at No. 9, with PFF noting:

"Gould made an outrageous 17-of-18 field goals between 40 and 49 yards (with another 4-of-4 from beyond 50). It’s a wonder why the analytically-sound 49ers coaching staff had Bradley Pinion kicking off so deep, but he answered the bell there, with 64 of his 79 kickoffs resulting in touchbacks."

The 49ers didn’t rank quite as high in the extensive annual special-teams rankings by Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News, who placed them 15th

Among the highlights for the 49ers in the statistical categories compiled by Gosselin, the 49ers were:

No. 2 in punt coverage (giving up 4.18 yards); No. 3 in field goals (39); No. 2 in field-goal percentage (95.1 percent); and tied for No. 2 in special-teams takeaways (2).

Gould, 36, is under contract for one more season, for $2 million. Pinion, 23, is entering the final year of a four-year deal and will earn $705,000 in 2018.

Gould, in particular, was one of the 49ers’ best stories in 2017. In one late-season victory over the Titans, Gould hit six field goals including two from 48 yards and another from 50. He also made five field goals in a win over the Bears.

Said head coach Kyle Shanahan in December: "Robbie’s playing as good as anyone I’ve ever had. Whenever he goes out there, I never think he’s going to miss it. He’s been so automatic."

Pinion wasn’t quite as good as Gould. He ranked 15th in the NFL in net punting average (41.6) and 29th in overall average (43.3) but was tied for the NFL lead in fewest average yards per return (4.2) and had just one punt that resulted in a touchback.

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