His several errant snaps in the 49ers' Week 3 win over the New York Giants were the final nail in the coffin, but Kyle Nelson's on-field performance had been slipping for quite some time, and that more than anything prompted San Francisco to waive him on Wednesday (h/t San Francisco Chronicle).
"Kyle hasn’t been playing as good as he has in the past,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said of the long snapper. “It was kind of trending a little bit that way. If you see things trending that way a little bit you try to make a decision before it hurts you. And you guys saw what happened on Sunday.
“Fortunately, we were able to win the game and make sure that doesn’t happen again. That doesn’t mean he won’t come out of it. I actually believe he will. But it’s something that you just can’t risk. You’ve got to decide. We’ve been sticking with it. I think that was the writing on the wall."
Nelson, 33, was the 49ers' second-longest tenured player behind safety Jimmie Ward prior to his release on Wednesday. In a corresponding move, San Francisco signed Taybor Pepper to take over the long-snapping duties. Pepper, 26, has appeared in 20 career games with the Green Bay Packers and Miami Dolphins, and was waived by Miami in May.
In addition to the snapping issues in the win over the Giants, the 49ers also had a punt blocked in their Week 1 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, which tilted the momentum in the game.
They'll hope for better results in Week 4 when they host the struggling Philadelphia Eagles on "Sunday Night Football."