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Brian Schneider hired by 49ers as special teams coordinator

Seattle Seahawks v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Former Seattle Seahawks assistant Brian Schneider is returning to the NFC West.

The San Francisco 49ers have hired Schneider to be the special teams coordinator following the departure of Richard Hightower, who landed the same job with the Chicago Bears under first-year head coach Matt Eberflus.

Schneider was Seattle’s special teams coordinator from 2010 through the start of the 2020 season, when he stepped away from the team for personal reasons. He was hired by the Jacksonville Jaguars to be their ST coordinator but left the team indefinitely, again due to personal reasons.

San Francisco’s special teams, which played a huge role in their NFC Divisional Round win over the Green Bay Packers, was actually pretty lackluster in 2021. Football Outsiders ranked the 49ers’ ST unit 26th by DVOA and dinged them heavily for both kickoffs and kick returns. Against the Seahawks, they notably lost fumbles on kick returns in both meetings. They also gave up a fake punt touchdown to Travis Homer in the December meeting, and allowed a kick return touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings.

While Schneider’s last few seasons in Seattle produced average to bad special teams by DVOA, the 2010-2013 units were mostly elite groups. The last Seahawks ST group under Schneider to finish top-10 in DVOA was 2015, and so far in two seasons with Larry Izzo in charge the Seahawks have returned to those heights.

Now Brian Schneider is tasked with reviving San Francisco’s special teams the same way he did at the start of his time in Seattle.