Kurt Schottenheimer, the younger brother of former NFL coach Marty Schottenheimer and uncle of current Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, has been hired as the new 49ers special teams coach after Al Everest was fired last week. Schottenheimer brings 22 years of NFL coaching experience having been not only a special teams coach (Browns ’87-‘88, Chiefs ‘89-‘94) but has been in charge of defensive backs (Chiefs ’95-’98, Packers ’04), defensive coordinator (Redskins ’01, Lions ’02-’03) and the secondary (Rams ’05, Packers ’06-08). It is great that Schottenheimer has so much coaching experience but if you take a look at the different coaching positions I listed you will notice the last time he was a special teams coach was 15 years ago in 1998 with the Chiefs. Mike Singletary said that regardless of the fact that it has been so long since he last coached the special teams that to hire a good coach with so much experience is not a bad thing. “If he was out of football for any length of time, that would concern me. A good football coach is a good football coach. When you get an opportunity to hire a coach with the experience he’s had … that was big,” Singletary said.
Remember Singletary said something similar after hiring Jimmy Raye as the 49ers offensive coordinator who had 29 years of experience. Depending on how you feel about Raye currently will probably factor into how you feel about Schottenheimer being hired. The coaching experience is a plus for Schottenheimer but how long too long ago to hire someone to do a job that they have not done in 15 years? I don’t know much about Schottenheimer and how much of a motivation type guy he is but in the end this might be a good hire. The 49ers problems on special teams this year had to do more with the return game being ineffective rather than the former coach Al Everest. Although his big blunder last year was in week 13 against the Seahawks when he called for a reverse punt in a critical part of the game that was botched on the hand-off. The fumble set up the Seahawks for a go ahead touchdown dampened the 49ers playoff hopes . Singletary commented on the Everest firing and said it had more to do with him personally than what he was doing as a coach: “I think Al was doing a good job during the year, but there were some things I had to deal with personally. It was just something Al needed to take care of. I had to let him go,” Singletary said.
With kicker Joe Nedney and punter Andy Lee having another great year the kicking side of the special teams are set. The 49ers will need to find a returner for kick-offs and punts for them to rise from being at the bottom of the NFL in the return game. Let’s hope Schottenheimer can identify some free agents or rookies in the April draft that will fill those two holes.
Here is how Schottenheimer’s special teams finished each year he was the coach:
Browns as special teams coach
1987: Ranked 24 out of 28 in the NFL ; Averaged 17.6 yards on kick-offs and 11.1 yards on punts; Zero touchdowns returned
1988: Ranked 6 out of 28 in the NFL ; Averaged 21.1 yards on kick-offs and 8.1 yards on punts; Zero touchdowns returned
Chiefs as special teams coach:
1989: Ranked 23 out of 28 in the NFL ; Averaged 17.6 yards on kick-offs and 7.5 yards on punts; Zero touchdowns returned
1990: Ranked 27 out of 28 in the NFL; Averaged 17.0 yards on kick-offs and 6.9 yards on punts; Zero touchdowns returned
1991: Ranked 6 out of 28 in the NFL; Averaged 20.4 yards on kick-offs and 7.6 yards on punts; Zero touchdowns returned
1992: Ranked 20 out of 28 in the NFL; Averaged 18.5 yards on kick-offs and 10.3 yards on punts; 2 punts returned for touchdowns
1993: Ranked 13 out of 28 in the NFL; Averaged 19.4 yards on kick-offs and 9.4 yards on punts; Zero touchdowns returned
1994: Ranked 8 out of 28 in the NFL; Averaged 22.0 yards on kick-offs and 7.3 yards on punts; 1 kick-off returned for a touchdown
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