Jim Harbaugh met with the media Monday at lunch time, and as expected he was asked about a particularly pertinent position on the 49ers roster. Yes, he was asked about the quarterback, but he also got a couple questions about David Akers' status with the team.
Someone asked Coach Harbaugh if Akers would be kicking for the 49ers on Sunday, and in response, Harbaugh said he expected Akers to be kicking. He indicate he was indeed still working through something, but he kicked well in practice and kicked well in the game. He seemed to view that from the perspective of pure strength on the kick as opposed to accuracy: "I thought the one that he hit in the ballgame that was missed was well-hit and it just didn’t go in."
This has become a tough situation to sort through given the nature of the kicker position. The 49ers brought in Billy Cundiff and Nate Kaeding for workouts last week. Coach Harbaugh indicated Akers was dealing with something then and the team was making sure they had a Plan B ready. Akers was limited during the week with a pelvis issue, but he was eventually cleared.
Akers did have the distance on the 51-yard attempt, but once again he was wide. If there is one thing the NFL has proven, it is that the wheels can come off the kicking game rather quickly. The thing is, the only confidence that comes from bringing in another kicker at this point is that he is not the current guy.
A kicker is a free agent in December for very few reasons. In the case of Nate Kaeding, who is billed as the most accurate kicker in NFL history, he has dealt with a variety of injuries in his career, most recently a groin injury. While he has been incredibly accurate during the regular season, he is 8-of-15 in his postseason career. Given the small number of attempts, and the fact that he hasn't kicked in the postseason since 2009, I suppose it could just be dumb luck.
I think that is what people will tell themselves as they convince themselves he is clearly a better option than David Akers. Yes, he is younger, and yes he has been money in the regular season. I suppose I could sell myself on the idea that a change of scenery will do good for him come postseason time. Of course, it could also just be trying to sell ourselves on a new kicker. Maybe he is "better" than Akers simple because he is different.