Brock Purdy should be the San Francisco 49ers’ starting quarterback for the team’s Week One tilt against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The biggest offseason questions has been answered. But the team has another question heading into the regular season opener.
Who’s their kicker?
Right now, head coach Kyle Shanahan isn’t sure. The team’s two kickers, Zane Gonzalez and Jake Moody, are dealing with injuries. As we wrote yesterday, Gonzalez has a calf injury while Moody is fighting a quad strain. As ESPN’s Adam Schefter noted Saturday evening, Gonzalez will “miss a few weeks” while Moody’s return is unknown.
Per 49ers’ reporter Nick Wagoner, Shanhan said he’s in uncharted waters, never having to navigate a dual-kicker injury situation before.
“We’re discussing everything and just being ready for any possibility to maneuver this roster however, but we really don’t know what direction we’re gonna go until time takes care of that,” he said via Wagoner.
Gonzalez was acquired first, traded over from the Arizona Cardinals to the 49ers in late March. Moody was added through April’s draft, the team’s third round selection and 99th overall pick. It’s rare to see kickers selected in the Top 100 but Moody was considered the ace leg of the class, a college All-American and Lou Groza Award winner for the NCAA’s top kicker. His leg is big with a career long of 59 yards and he excelled despite kicking in Michigan weather.
Now, it’s unclear if either will be healthy for the Steelers’ game. Based on reporting, it doesn’t look like Gonzalez will be able to, leaving Moody as the only possible option. If neither can go, the 49ers will have to search for an external option just two weeks before they play Pittsburgh. They’ll also have to figure out what to do with Moody. He won’t be cut and a trip to injured reserve is his likely destination. For him to return later this year, he’d have to make the initial 53-man roster and then be moved to IR with a designation-to-return.
San Francisco isn’t the only Steelers’ early-season opponent dealing with injuries and kicker issues. The Cleveland Browns are having a whale of a time with K Cade York, who has missed multiple kicks this summer and was injured in today’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs. His confidence seems to be hurt more than his foot but it’s unclear if the Browns will stick with him as their Week One starter. Pittsburgh faces Cleveland in Week Two for a Monday night showdown.