49ers kicker Jake Moody is on track to play against the Steelers. Moody, who suffered a pulled quad two weeks ago, missed the team’s final preseason game. They signed former Steelers kicker Matthew Wright as a handcuff for that situation, but it appears that Moody will be able to go as long as there are no setbacks during the week.
“Just as long as he doesn’t have a setback,” 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said. “He’s looking good now and I feel good about him and I’d be surprised if he’s not there. So, we’ll keep going at the pace we’re at. As long as he doesn’t have a setback, we should be all right.”
This offseason, the 49ers set out to replace longtime kicker Robbie Gould, who turned 40 last season and was 20th in the NFL in field goal percentage, with a longest-made kick of just 51 yards. To do so, general manager John Lynch drafted Michigan Wolverines kicker Jake Moody with the 99th pick in the third round of this spring’s draft. That plan started to look questionable when Moody struggled this preseason, finishing 3 of 5 on field goals and 1 of 2 on extra points.
Then he got hurt, straining his quad late in training camp. Zane Gonzalez, who the 49ers traded to get as a backup plan, was put on season-ending IR with a calf strain suffered before warmups of the preseason finale. Gonzalez was waived from injured reserve with an injury settlement.
So the 49ers are taking out an insurance policy in the name of Wright, who was cut by the Carolina Panthers last week. Wright served as a backup for both the Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs last year, making 83.3% of his kicks with a long of 59 yards and going 15 for 15 on extra points.
It does seem that Moody will be able to go, which will give the 49ers someone to go to against the Steelers for their kicks reliably. He still remained limited in practice on Wednesday, but Shanahan’s prognosis spells it out.