Special Teams Coordinator Brian Schneider Press Conference

Special Teams Coordinator Brian Schneider

Press Conference – May 31, 2023

San Francisco 49ers

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What have your early impressions been of K Jake Moody?

“Everything we thought he was. Just really consistent, really even-keeled and exactly what we hoped he’d be.”

What did you hope he’d be exactly?

“Just that. Consistent, really-even keeled. He’s just really consistent in everything he does from his approach, to his ball flight, to his finish, to the way he is around here all day, so it’s been fun having him.”

You’re going through the process of evaluating the kickers. How much is it, you’re looking at the physical, which they all need to be able to do, but also trying to analyze when the guy shanks a couple, is he going to bounce back or is he going to go down the tubes?

“That’s absolutely the toughest question. I think we evaluated 27 kickers coming out of college, so that’s where you always start with us. You go through the tape and then our guys do a great job. [General manager] John [Lynch] and all the scouts, they give you the rundown and so we’re starting kind of from square one. You look off the silent tape and you start to build your list and then you whittle that down and then ultimately you have to go work them out I think to see everything live and that’s the question you’re trying to get answered. And it starts with the consistency of what people say about them, so before I even meet them, everyone in our building that’s looked at them, I hear what they think, say and then when you go there to the schools, you listen to all the coaches, the weight coaches, any assistants, other players, you just try to find out and then ultimately you have to sit with them and just have get a feel for that.”

How are you sorting through the kickoff rule? Do you expect to see a ton of fair catches and the ball is at the 25? How do you think it’s going to work out?

“Yeah, we’re doing a lot right now, looking in college. Looking at college to see the different kicks, see how people have done it. We still don’t know all the rules yet, so we’re trying to go off the rules and what exactly that looks like, so it’s more or less just trying to figure out what we’re going to anticipate seeing and then I think through preseason and once you start getting some tape on guys, you’ll see their philosophy. Are they going to fair catch it? For me, it’s more being prepared for our kickoff return team and trying to anticipate, prepare them for whatever teams are going to try and do. There’s been so many changes in the last 15 years on kickoff and kickoff return. When I started it was four-man wedge, three-man wedge, two-man wedge, one, illegal double teams. There’s been like 20 rules, so we’ll all adjust to it and we’ll figure it out.”

How familiar are you with the XFL rule and do you think that could some time come into the NFL? That form of kickoff?

“To me, I wait and see how it shakes out and what rules we have to do it under and that’s all we’re doing now and now that we know it, we have to get all the fine points of that, like a penalty. What happens on a penalty? What happens if you muff it when you fair catch? There’s a lot of things to work through that we don’t quite have the answers to yet, so we’ll just kind of go play it as we see it.”

There’s a report that special teams coordinators were unanimously against it. Was it just because of the change of the unknowns? I don’t want to speak for you, but were you against it and why?

“Yeah, well when you say safety of the player, we’re all in favor of that and so that’s where it starts and we all agree on that. I don’t know if this necessarily addresses any of that. I think there could be more returns, there could be shorter kicks, there could be more collisions, there could be dirty balls like a Squib or a bloop, so there’s going to be more coverages because of it too, so I don’t know if we have enough of a sample set to really say and like I said, I don’t even know the rules yet. They say it’s going to be like college, but is it? There’s a lot of things to cover through that, so that’s the only thing. We’ll all figure it out. Everyone’s playing the same rules and we just have to see where it goes from there.”

Speaking of kickoffs, how has Moody been on that?

“Really good. He is extremely powerful, he has great hang time, he has great distance, so all those factor in. You start with hang time, distance and placement. Those are really the three things. And he’s exceptional in all of them.”

Was that becoming a problem last year as the season wore on? I’m sure it takes its toll on the kicker or whoever is handling the kickoffs. Was that starting to be an issue for this team?

“No, I thought we improved. The end of the season, I thought we were really good on kickoff, so different things, but at the end I thought we played our best.”

When you are getting all the information and stories and everything on Moody, was there a particular story that kind of stood out that might put your mind at ease?

“Yeah, when I worked him out, there was no question what I thought about it. I wish I could have that type of workout every time you go because it just kind of naturally happened. In his pro workout, he kicked off sticks, in other words where there’s a stick there and he just kicks a ball and all kickers would like to do it that way. And I think he was 12 for 13 and he missed like a 58-yarder, so that’s exactly what kind of talent he is. I always try to get him a holder and a snapper and some guys can’t find a snapper, it just doesn’t work out, but I’ll take any snapper, I don’t care. I want to see the operation of it all and I want to see him under, I think someone asked that question earlier, what is he like under stress? How does he respond? You can take all the information from all the coaches and you can try to see like the game that he missed three in ‘20, how he responded to that. He had great competition there that he was fighting with, so I still can’t figure out, like they’d go every three points, so he was going in and out. So again, you try to look on how he responded to adversity there, but the workout was perfect for me. It was unbelievable, he had two snappers that were backup long snappers on Michigan’s team that were not very good. And he had his holder, so right off the bat, these balls are coming everywhere and he was doing great. The times were good, everything’s good. As it got going and the snappers were rotating, the balls were just atrocious coming back. And I loved it because I was looking at him, how he responded to everything and you could tell he was getting frustrated because then I’d move the snappers and I had him kick off sticks and his timing was off, so it was a really frustrating workout from his point of view. I absolutely loved it because at the very end we backed up to a 55-yarder, bad snap and so he missed it and he thought that was the last kick and again, I’m just looking at him and he’s still stone-faced really cool disposition, so I go, okay, we have a last second field goal. I’m going to count, you have 12 seconds, I’m going to count it down and this is against Ohio State to win it. They’re on the sidelines, they all run out, the worst snap of the day. It bounced twice way inside. I mean the holder barely got it down and Moody just like I’ve seen on tape, so consistent with his approach and finish and trust, smoked it, so I was like, that is a great way to finish it. And then his last two kickoffs, so we did that, he did six kickoffs after that. And again, he was frustrated like anyone would be in a job interview where some things are out of his control, so the last two kicks I said, okay, we’re going to kick left. I want it outside the numbers as close as you can to the goal line with the best hang time. The first one, he put a yard outside the numbers right on the goal line 4.38 hang time, which is phenomenal. And then his second one was two yards outside the hash, right on the goal line with 4.38 hang time. Right there, all those questions you have of how does the guy respond to adversity? It just naturally happened at the workout and I was the only one there, so I was fired up. If a lot of people would’ve saw that, I think they would’ve saw what I saw and I trusted what I saw. That’s really what for me, out of everything, that was a final step where I was like, this guy’s the guy.”

Day two, third round of the draft, you guys have 99 and 101. Were you concerned at all that if you guys waited until 101 that he’d be gone?

“Yeah, they asked me my opinion and I tell John and [head coach] Kyle [Shanahan] that and then I let them handle it. Like to me, that’s my job is evaluating where I like guys and then that’s what they do.”

 Do you put a round grade on him?

“After that I told him, I don’t care where you take him, this is the guy. I felt that strongly about him. And so again, that’s not my job to figure out where we should draft him. I just know I really like the talent, I really love the kid. I love everything about him, so to me, it was like I think this is the best and they have to figure that out.”

FB Jack Colletto on special teams, what do you think of him and his potential there?

“I think there’s so much potential there. I think it’s so cool because you can see him do all these things and he played all the special teams too, so I watched him on offense, on defense, on all the special teams and to me it’s just the more you can do the value that you have. I’m really excited and like everybody, we’re doing everything and we’re evaluating and we’re just seeing where they start and where they improve and where they finish.”

What do you think of CB D’Shawn Jamison as a returner and WR Ronnie Bell as a returner?

“Both of them are really good. They’re both catching them and we’ll go through the process in training camp and the preseason. But both are really good. I tell you Bell is a really natural fielder, really special when you see that because you just see the first couple of returns and his feet are right under it and he really is a natural fielder, which by far is number one for a punt returner, so I’m excited to see both those guys go.”

What did you see from WR Ray-Ray McCloud III as he progressed through the season last year?

“Confidence more than anything and I’ve always loved watching Ray-Ray. Like to me his toughness, his ability, if you watch whenever people are around him, that’s when he is at his best. That’s when he is fielding clean and he’s making a quick move, he loves that action. His toughness and just getting the consistent 10 yards, I love watching him do that.”

Why don’t more NFL teams have a kicking coach?

“That’s a good question. I think we all know enough just to get in trouble. The basics, but to me it’s all individual on the kicker. Like if you look at all the kickers, everyone looks different. There’re base fundamentals that you have to have, but everyone’s different. It’s about learning the kicker or the punter. It’s about learning them and working together to see where we need to go. I don’t know, that’s a good question, but I know enough to get in trouble, so that’s why I trust them.”