© Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Just about everything has been working for the 49ers, except their special teams unit. The team is on to its third long snapper of the season in Garrison Sanborn, after releasing Collin Holba, and 38-year-old Jon Condo’s surprise retirement following a wretched performance in Week 3 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In a 31-3 blowout over the Cleveland Browns on Monday night, there was a high snap to Mitch Wishnowsky that he did well to corral and punt, and a few shaky snaps on field goal attempts. Robbie Gould, the sixth-highest paid kicker in the NFL this season at $3.9 million (according to Over the Cap), went 1-for-4 on Monday. On Thursday, he invited the blame to be placed on him, not Sanborn.
“Doesn’t change,” Gould said of the long-snapping roulette. “Those guys are great. The guys they’ve brought in here, they’ve been really good. It’s not easy to come in and snap on a short work and have a few reps. You probably have like 12 reps before you go out there and play, so those guys have come in and done a great job, I just haven’t done my job and obviously I have to do that to help the team win. I’m just lucky that the errors that I’ve made over the last few weeks haven’t cost us a game.”
Gould went so far as to call this the worst stretch of his 15-year career.
“This is by far the worst I’ve ever kicked,” Gould said. “I’ve got to go back and look at film, which I’ve done and I’ve got to figure it out. I haven’t missed this many kicks in this many weeks in my entire career. The most kicks I think I’ve missed in a season was six, and that was probably the last year in Chicago, so I’ve just to go back and get it fixed.”
The veteran kicker said there isn’t anything fundamentally wrong with his kicking approach, but that he just needs to make “small changes” and have more trust in his approach than he’s had.
He said his confidence was high coming into the season, following a “great preseason” and has not been shaken.
“Everyone has a job to do and I just have to step up to the table and do my job,” Gould said. “I haven’t been doing that, obviously, as of late. But as disappointing as it is, I know I’ve been on streaks where I’ve made 30 in a row and I’ve also been on streaks in preseason where I’ve made 118 out of 118, so my confidence isn’t shook. I’m not really worried about anything, I just have to go out, find a little bit better rhythm and tempo and just trust what I’ve done the last 15 years.”