Brian Schneider, the 49ers special teams coordinator, addressed the media Wednesday for the first time since the team selected kicker Jake Moody in the 2023 NFL Draft.
As expected, Schneider was asked about his initial impression of Moody thus far through a couple of 49ers OTA practices.
Schneider said Moody has been “everything we thought he was” and very consistent and even-keeled. Schneider saw that before OTAs, though.
“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,” Shneider explained. “And I think he was 12-of-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 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.”
Moody nailed 100 percent of his extra-point attempts and 82.1 percent of his field-goal attempts over five seasons at Michigan.
Schneider focused on more than just his physical talent, but also on how mentality mature Moody is even in the most adverse situations.
“He had two snappers that were backup long snappers on Michigan’s team that were not very good,” Schneider said. “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, OK, 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.”
Schneider continued to recall what played out.
“They’re on the sidelines, they all run out, the worst snap of the day,” he said. “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, ‘OK, 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’.”
When veteran kicker Robbie Gould made the decision to move on from the 49ers after playing six seasons with the team, San Francisco had big shoes to fill as it longed for its future kicker.
But after what Schneider witnessed, he was confident that Moody was the perfect fit. The 49ers selected Moody in the third round (No. 99 overall) in April, making him the highest-drafted kicker since the Tampa Bay Buccaneers picked Roberto Aguayo in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
With his “extremely powerful” leg and his composed mindset, Moody is expected to provide an immediate upgrade to special teams.
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