Gould’s honest assessment of 49ers rookie kicker Moody originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
The 49ers once again will break training camp with a goal to finally win the franchise’s elusive sixth Super Bowl title.
This time, however, they’ll have rookie Jake Moody handling the place-kicking duties instead of steady veteran Robbie Gould, who famously has never missed a postseason kick. Those two kickers will be compared all season long as fans debate San Francisco’s decision to move on from Gould.
“I haven’t talked to him much since he’s been in San Francisco just because I want him to have his own identity,” Gould recently told NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco at the American Century Championship at the Edgewood Tahoe Resort in Stateline, Nev. “I think that’s important for him. I’ve been in situations where I leave and there’s a lot of comparisons [to the next guy]. For him, I just think he has to be who he is.”
It’s one thing to be a rookie kicker, and it’s another to be a rookie kicker on a team expected to contend for a championship. The 49ers clearly believe in Moody — they made him the highest-drafted kicker since the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Roberto Aguayo in the second round in 2016.
“He’s a rookie. I think he’s got a strong leg; I think he’s got an awesome mindset going into the season,” Gould told Maiocco. “But like anybody else, when I was a rookie I think I kicked 75 percent. There’s a learning curve.”
Gould didn’t give himself enough credit. He nailed 77.8 percent — 21 of 27 — of his field-goal attempts as a Chicago Bears rookie in 2005, one of just three campaigns he’s finished under the 82-percent clip. He learned plenty of lessons along the way.
“Hopefully with guys like [long snapper] Taybor Pepper in the building assuming that leadership role, can help him accelerate his process,” Gould told Maiocco. “It’s not easy to kick in the NFL. You’ve got to [be on a] team that’s going to have patience. The 49ers have a chance to potentially make a run at a Super Bowl. … They’re going to have an awesome group. There’s going to be a lot to look forward to.
“Everyone’s going to look at the kicker position as the biggest question mark. I think he’ll come in and do a great job.”