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Five Questions with Blake Costanzo

Posted Oct 5, 2011

Linebacker Blake Costanzo has been an impact player on 49ers special teams since signing a deal with the team this offseason. As a New Jersey native, Costanzo said it was nice to travel back to the East Coast last week, but that he’s looking forward to the Week 5 matchup with Tampa Bay. 49ers.com spoke with Costanzo about the team’s tenacious punt coverage unit, which has allowed punter Andy Lee to lead the NFL with his net average of 46.1 yards per attempt.

Q: What was that like to go back to the East Coast for the first time this season?
A: I have a ton of family over there, so it’s always good to go back and breathe that East Coast air. I liked that little bit of rain that we got, getting dirty a little bit. It was good to see family and friends and we came out with the win so it was the best of both worlds. But it’s funny, even though I grew up on the East Coast I was a 49ers fan – a huge Jerry Rice fan. He was always my favorite player.

Q: What is it like to be reunited with a respected special teams coach like Brad Seely after working with him in Cleveland?
A: Coach Seely is our leader on special teams, obviously, and all of our guys here support him. A lot of guys realize that special teams is our job on the football team so we take it very seriously. When you have guys that are into it and want to make a difference, that’s when the unit starts to make plays.

Q: Do you have a different mentality when you’re covering punts and kickoffs?
A: I love it. It’s what we all relish. It’s different because it’s a way to let loose. Offense and defense, you kind of have to play within the scheme. Special teams is like that, too, but it’s more about beating your guy and having more desire than the other guy to make a play. You can kind of let loose more and that’s what I really like about it.

Q: What challenges do you expect to see from Tampa Bay?
A: Every week, it’s somebody. It’s the NFL, there’s always somebody that can hurt you, players that make plays. Tampa Bay has been right up there as one of the best in the league on special teams just like they have been in years past. Every week’s a challenge and we welcome it and we’re ready to play.

Q: Do you feel like this team has established identity as a tough and resilient group?
A: Yeah, no doubt. I think that started the first day of training camp. Coach Harbaugh has instilled it in us and every day we just keep growing closer as a team and keep learning more about each other. With every game and every practice, I think the sky’s the limit to where we can go.

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