San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh announced the winner of the kicking competition between David Akers and Billy Cundiff. Akers won the job he has held since last season, even though he has struggled this season by missing 13 field goal attempts. Let’s hope the competition gave Akers the needed boost of confidence he has been lacking throughout the season and that his double sports hernia injury is as fully healed as he says.
This has been an up and down season for Akers. In the season opener, against the Green Bay Packers, he connected on a 63-yard field goal that tied the NFL record for longest field goal. Since then the kicker has been on a steady decline by missing multiple important kicks, like the two potential game-winning field goals in overtime he missed in both games against the St. Louis Rams. In case you forgot, because of those missed kicks the 49ers tied and loss those games. In the loss to the Seattle Seahawks, he had a field goal blocked that was returned by Richard Sherman 90 yards for a touchdown. In the season finale against the Arizona Cardinals, he missed wide left on field goals of 44 and 40 yards.
After making the Pro Bowl and setting NFL records last season for field goals made and attempted, it seemed like the kicking position was all set with Akers for this season. Instead, he finished the season by making a career-low 69 percent of his field goal attempts. Because of his inaccuracy the 49ers brought in Cundiff to compete with Akers and the two have been in a kicking competition for the past week and a half. Harbaugh opened his press conference on Thursday by saying,
He (Akers) responded like a football player does… he gives us our best chance to win. (Cundiff) has none a nice job. David’s done a better job.
And what will happen to Cundiff? Well, he will be on the roster at least until Saturday, just in case Akers continues to miss field goals. But it is unlikely he will be activated for the playoff game. Akers did not talk to the media after Thursday’s practice. Congratulations to Akers. Now go out there and make some freaking field goals!
Here is what Carlos Rogers had to say about Akers winning back the job,
I have a lot of confidence in him. I actually thought that was going to be the choice. I thought he should stick with David from the get-go. I think that was just a little pressure to get David back on point. He was a little off. I’m glad he’s out kicking. Coach is not the guy that brings in a lot of people, changes a lot of positions. We kind of stick who we’ve stuck with from the beginning of training camp. David’s that guy. I’ve said all along David’s going to make the kick to help us win the Super Bowl. That’s just been my mindset, since Day 1.