“So far, so good” is how San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh described David Akers‘ performance at practices the past week when asked about the kicking competition. With Akers struggling all season the 49ers signed kicker Bill Cundiff to give them insurance at kicker in the playoffs. At Wednesday’s press conference, Harbaugh also praised Akers by saying, “he’s had a very good week; this week and last week.”
Recently, Akers said he underwent surgery for a double sports hernia in February after the 49ers lost the NFC Championship game. However, the injury became an issue again in November after he slipped on a kickoff and re-aggravated the injury. This explains some of the reasons why he has been so inaccurate this season, but he also said last week his health is fine and it had nothing to do with his missed kicks.
It is not to reassuring to hear that Akers’ injury is not the reason for him only making 29 of 42 field goal attempts this season. So if it’s not his injury that is causing him to miss so many important kicks, then it’s a mental thing, right? It’s not as if Akers started kicking better down the final stretch of the season. In the season finale against the Arizona Cardinals he missed kicks of 44 and 40 yards. Ultimately the 49ers won, but the two kicks he missed cost San Francisco the chance to cut the Cardinals lead in half and to go up by four points in the second quarter of the game. In the playoff game against the Green Bay Packers on Saturday, the 49ers will need all the points they can manage.
Harbaugh seems to still have confidence in Akers and I believe he will go with him as San Francisco’s kicker on Saturday. Cundiff is a much bigger risk to go with despite Akers’ miscues this season and him possibly having lost some confidence. Hopefully the kicking completion will kick Akers into gear and he can regain some confidence for Saturday.
Video of Harbaugh talking about Akers performance at practice this past week: