Prognosticators aren’t very popular right now, but Phil Dawson’s forecasts continue to be spot-on.
The 49ers kicker is midway through his 18th season, and coach Chip Kelly said he takes Dawson’s advice about wind speed, wind direction and which end zone the 49ers should face at kickoff as gospel.
“I don’t know if I’ve been around, regardless of position, a person that takes his individual job to the level that Phil takes it to,” Kelly said Thursday. “The amount of work that he puts in to be so special at his craft. I don’t care if Phil was a kicker or an inside linebacker or a defensive end or whatever, he has it down.”
Dawson, 41, has made 11 of 12 field-goal attempts this season, and his 91.7 accuracy percentage is tied for fourth-best in the league.
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His toughest task this season may have been dealing with the winds in Buffalo, which gusted to 36 mph. Dawson, however, had kicked in Buffalo three times previously.
He knew when the winds would shift and could tell from the flags that lined the rim of the stadium not only the wind direction but the wind speed. He went 3 for 3 on the afternoon.
“I watch it; I kind of marvel at it,” Kelly said of Dawson’s pregame routine. “To have a guy like that, it’s one of those (situations) where you don’t weigh in. ‘You just tell me’ – it’s kind of our ongoing joke – ‘tell me what you want to do.’ And he’s always right.”
Hyde optimistic – If his right shoulder continues to progress, 49ers running back Carlos Hyde said “there’s a good chance” he’ll be on the field Sunday in Arizona against the Cardinals.
Hyde hasn’t played since Oct. 16 in Buffalo, and he has been wearing a blue, no-contact jersey in practices. But Thursday, he tested his shoulder on a blocking sled for the first time since the injury occurred and sounded more optimistic about playing than he did at this point last week. He was listed as limited on the team’s injury report.
“I was fine,” he said after hitting the sled. “That was the only kind of contact I’ve had so far. I was fine. No setbacks right now, so that’s good.”
Nose news – Asked if the season-high 46 snaps defensive lineman Glenn Dorsey played against the Saints last Sunday signaled he was finally back in full form, Kelly knocked on the wood of his lectern.
“I’m hoping that he’s gotten over the final hurdle,” Kelly said of Dorsey’s return from last year’s ACL injury. “Because I thought he played really well on Sunday. And to have a guy like that, a veteran like that in the middle of the lineup, will help us shore us some things.”
Dorsey played only 64 snaps over the first nine weeks of the season and sat out games against the Rams, Bills and Buccaneers. If he can take most of the snaps at nose tackle in the second half of the season, it will allow the 49ers to use Quinton Dial at defensive end.
Injuries – Safety Eric Reid (knee) was added to the team’s injury report; he was a limited participant Thursday. Cornerback Rashard Robinson (knee) returned to practice for the first time in three weeks and also was limited.