Robbie Gould believes the 49ers' special teams unit has improved a great deal since last season.
Not only did the club hire special teams coordinator Brian Schneider, but John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan signed linebacker Oren Burks, wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud and safety George Odum, who are all known specialists.
Gould has already noticed differences in the group through practices during organized team activities. The 18-year place kicker spoke to Matt Maiocco on the latest episode of "49ers Talk" and shared how Schneider has reinvigorated the group since his arrival.
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“His philosophy of playing aggressive and techniques that we use are very similar to what we want to do on offense and defense,” Gould said. “Great to have three phases playing the exact same style of football, and he’s going bring a lot to the table to help guys get in the right match ups, get in the right scheme, put them in the right position to be successful.”
Schneider returned to coaching after a year hiatus to spend time with his family. The coordinator previously held the same position with the Seattle Seahawks from 2010-20, producing a group that ranked first in the NFL in takeaways (26), second in blocked kicks (24) and fifth in touchdowns scored (14).
Though his lengthy career, Gould has played opposite of Schneider’s coaching a great deal. The kicker believes that the changes he has already noticed will continue as the group gets closer to the start of the season, and Gould already has declared Schneider “one of the best coaches I’ve ever had.”
Gould also has noticed how much the group has changed with personnel additions, as well as returning players playing faster and with a “clear mind.” With the scheme change and free agent signings, the unit has potential for success and their talent will be used more than just on special teams.
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“Oren Burks, that guy is just a technician when it comes to playing on special teams,” Gould said. “I think he fits exactly what we are trying to do. He plays really well on defense for us. George is going to bring a lot of speed, a lot of creativity from Indianapolis and how they played and bring that into our locker room and help with our techniques that we use.”
Some things in 2022 will remain the same as Gould will be working with punter Mitch Wishnowsky and long snapper Taybor Pepper for the third season in a row.
While the group still has a long way to go until the start of the season, Gould sees the group “coming together.”