When it was time for the 49ers to make their original cuts to 53 players, special teams absorbed the biggest hits.
Gunners C.J. Spillman and Darryl Morris were released.
The 49ers made a change at long-snapper, and veterans Kassim Osgood and Bubba Ventrone have been released and re-signed too many times to document.
The problems on special teams showed up early in the season. Against the Philadelphia Eagles, the 49ers surrendered two touchdowns on special teams with a blocked punt and punt return for a touchdown.
But the group has settled down in recent games and has not been a problem.
MVP: Phil Dawson. Dawson made all five field goals, including two from beyond 50 yards, in a victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.
Overall, he has made 13 of 16 field-goal attempts, including 4-for-5 from 50 yards or longer.
Dawson has also been very solid with his kickoffs with more than 60 percent resulting in touchbacks.
Pleasant surprise: Kyle Nelson. After a flawless rookie season, it appeared Kevin McDermott would be entrenched as the team’s long-snapper for a long time.
But Nelson won the job because his snapping was on par with McDermott, while also showing better athleticism to run down the field and make tackles on punts.
Disappointment: Bruce Ellington. He returned only three punts during his college career, so this is a work in progress. He is learning on the job.
So far, he has yet to demonstrate a good feel for when to return, when to fair catch and when to let the ball go.
At least, he did not lose a fumble in the first seven games. He has a lot of promise, so he should continue to improve.
Best play: Fake punt. On a fourth-and-1 situation from their own 29-yard line, Craig Dahl received a direct snap at the fullback position and plowed straight ahead for a 3-yard gain in Week 5 against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The 49ers went on to kick a field goal, giving them a 19-17 lead in the fourth quarter.
Worst play: Blocked field goal. Trailing by six points early in the fourth quarter of Week 3 against the Arizona Cardinals, the 49ers originally called a fake field goal.
After seeing that the Cardinals were set up to defend against the fake, they decided to go ahead and have Dawson attempt a 45-yarder.
The only problem was that the right side of line thought the fake was still on, so they wanted to allow the defenders on that side to get some penetration.
The kick was blocked, and the 49ers wilted away for a second consecutive loss.
Outlook: More changes ahead. Aldon Smith, NaVorro Bowman, Marcus Lattimore and Glenn Dorsey are expected back. That means there could be more adjustments to the roster on special teams.
Special teams will likely take the hit, as spots must be created for those additions to the 53-man roster. Ellington should continue to improve, but the coverage units could face some challenges.