Mike Silver explains why he doesn’t love Jake Moody as 49ers’ kicker

© Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

The 49ers did not play well on Sunday. But even given an underwhelming performance, they should have won the game.

If rookie kicker Jake Moody had made either his 54-yard attempt early in the game, or his 41-yard attempt at a game-winner, San Francisco would have remained 6-0.

Instead, they were dealt their first loss of the season, and there are questions being asked about their rookie kicker.

Mike Silver of The San Francisco Chronicle said he didn’t like the selection of Moody from the start. He joined Murph and Mac on Wednesday to discuss his reservations about a Super Bowl-caliber team going with a rookie kicker.

From the start, Silver said he was wary of the selection given the innate uncertainty with rookie kickers, and believes that “any kicker in the third round is overdrafted.”

He said his issue is not with Moody specifically, but with the 49ers’ decision to eschew the services of Robbie Gould.

I just don’t understand on a win-now team, which they very much are, why you would get cute and have someone learning on the job. I wrote that in August and it went well for a few games, and they had a winnable one that they just lost…

The larger issue is you get into a playoff situation and it’s win or else and it comes down to a kick. You let go of a guy who is 68-for-68. He’s had 68 chances in the postseason to mess up a kick and has done zero times.

And you decided, ‘Nah, we’re good. We’re gonna go get this rookie.’

I think two men who have made a lot of great decisions, Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch and assembled the best roster in the land. I will question that one.

The 49ers were defensive of Moody after the loss, with players taking blame on their own shoulders for a poor performance.

But if Moody continues to struggle, Silver says he has seen how competitive locker rooms can turn on inexperienced kickers. It’s a team which values seeding, and kicks like those can change the potential to host the playoffs at home.

I’ve seen what happens in these locker rooms, especially teams that feel an urgency to win in the moment, when young kickers are not getting it done. One game, nothing bad’s gonna happen. It happens a couple of times, quickly, it can degenerate.

And I do want to commend the 49ers coaches, and especially players, for the way they’ve handled this one because I saw zero signs of even private grumbling. There was a lot of, hey, we didn’t earn this game. We didn’t deserve to win it. It would have been cool to steal it, but we played bad. So I do think they’re doing the right thing and they’ve got Jake Moody’s back and all that.

Again, it’s not him. My larger point is, you’re in an elimination game, it’s Super Bowl or else, or it is the Super Bowl, why would you have not wanted to keep the guy who literally has never missed in the postseason?

So the question then is, would the 49ers give Robbie Gould a call?

Silver didn’t rule it out, but thinks the team wants to avoid that in large part because Gould is such an awful person to have that conversation with.

He seems, err, cantankerous.

“He’d take a call but then there’d be another conversation that they hate having, which is really the reason, more than cap space or money that this has happened,” Silver said. “He would tell them — probably if my column were, say, a seven on a scale of 10 of thrashing, he’d give him an 11. And it wouldn’t be from his agent, it would be from him.”

Silver does believe Gould would take a call and that there is a deal to be done, but it would require people like John Lynch, Kyle Shanahan and Paraag Marathe to “suck it up and go, ‘Alright, we’re gonna make this call.'”

Gould, 40, is currently a free agent and has never missed a playoff kick in his 68 attempts. It’s always possible the 49ers could sign him on a pro-rated basis towards the second half of the season and/or stash Jake Moody on injured reserve, as Silver suggested.

Listen to the full interview above. You can listen to every KNBR interview on our podcast page at knbr.com/podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Catch Murph & Mac weekdays from 6 a.m. – 10 a.m. on KNBR 104.5 / 680 and streaming live on KNBR.com.


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