Previewing the Monday Night Football tilt between the Arizona Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers, I had one last question for Niners Nation's David Fucillo. It was about the special teams unit for San Fran. I know that a season ago, it was perhaps the strongest unit in the league. They got great punting and kicking, superb coverage and good returns.
But what about 2012?
This is what Fooch said:
"The special teams has struggled in big parts this season, but they are coming off a strong night against the Seahawks. David Akers has regressed a bit and currently has one of the lower field goal percentages of his career thus far. He had two big kicks against the Seahawks, so hopefully he is bouncing back. Punter Andy Lee remains a dominant presence and was NFC Special Teams Player of the Week. The 49ers coverage units have struggled even with Lee's big punts, so this could still provide an opportunity for Patrick Peterson to make an impact on special teams.
"The return game has been sort of middle of the road with some solid returns by Kyle Williams. Ted Ginn Jr. took over both punt and kick return duties against Seattle and had a strong day. He will likely fill both roles against Arizona and remains a tough threat. The key for the 49ers comes with their blocking and coverage groups. They have some strong special teamers, but the unit as a whole needs to come together. I don't think anything exemplifies the importance of teamwork quite like special teams play. The 49ers had it in spades last year, but is still trying to find some consistency this year."
Arizona also has a very strong unit, but recently there have been some struggles in the kicking game.
In this game, which unit will stand out? Will David Akers miss kicks like he did last year in Arizona en route to a loss? Will Jay Feely work his way out of his current slump? Can the Cards keep Ted Ginn from making a game-changing return and can Patrick Peterson finally bust out and find the end zone?