The 49ers are not getting the same special teams play they did a year ago, particularly on their coverage units. They rank 30th in punt coverage, and 31st in covering kickoffs. Many have speculated that the team misses special teams ace Blake Costanzo, and the 49ers players agree. Costanzo signed with Chicago after the 49ers showed little interest in signing him back during the off-season.
"We do miss Blake," fullback Bruce Miller said. "He was a heck of a special teams player. He had a great feel for whatever team it was, he had a good feel for what was going on. He played for (special teams coach) Brad Seely for years."
Fellow linebacker Larry Grant said there's really no way to replace him.
"There is no replacing a guy like Blake Costanzo, he's in a league of his own," linebacker Larry Grant said. "Everybody misses Blake, fans, players on this team, coaches. But unfortunately, he's not here. We got a find a way to get back as a team. We just got to play better; we got to move forward."
Costanzo was also a Jim Harbaugh favorite; he used to joke that Costanzo only packed a tooth brush when the team went on the road. Costanzo might have been sacrificed in the team's constant push to develop young players.