Monday, January 7, 2013
49ers likely to carry both kickers
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- David Akers and Billy Cundiff were taking their competition to be San Francisco's playoff kicker to Candlestick Park on Monday.
Coach Jim Harbaugh said there's a "good chance" both kickers will be on the roster for Saturday's NFC divisional playoff game against the Green Bay Packers, though he didn't specify whether each would be among the 46 active players but did say "that's conceivable." Harbaugh indicated one of the two has already earned a lead for the job but wouldn't say who it is.
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The 49ers (11-4-1) signed Cundiff on Jan. 1 to compete for a job with the struggling veteran Akers, who has made just 29 of 42 field goals this season after connecting on 44 of 52 in 2011.
"No, not a resolution. We have a leader in the clubhouse," Harbaugh said as his players returned to work after taking the weekend off. "We'll see how it goes today and tomorrow. It's been good competition. We're working through it."
Cundiff missed a potential tying 32-yard field goal in the closing seconds of the AFC Championship Game that sent New England to the Super Bowl last season instead of the Baltimore Ravens, coached by Harbaugh's big brother, John.
Harbaugh said he has no timetable for when to name a starting kicker. The leader emerged from two practice sessions last week.
"It will predominantly be based on how they're kicking now," Harbaugh said. "I think there's a good chance they'll both be on the roster come Saturday."
Akers missed overtime kicks twice against the Rams this season, with the 49ers losing at St. Louis and tying at home.
In a 27-13 victory against Arizona in the regular-season finale Dec. 30, Akers missed wide left on kicks from 44 and 40 yards and got booed by the sellout home crowd.
The 15th-year pro also had a 21-yard attempt blocked by Red Bryant in a 42-13 loss at Seattle on Dec. 23, and Richard Sherman returned it 90 yards for a touchdown. Yet Akers has made at least one field goal in 33 consecutive games, the second-longest such streak in NFL history.
Cundiff was released by the Washington Redskins on Oct. 9 after missing five of his 12 field goal attempts. The journeyman Cundiff joins his sixth team in 10 NFL seasons. He has also played for Dallas, New Orleans and Cleveland.
Punter Andy Lee, who is the holder on field goals, has long supported Akers in the good moments and also through the missed field goals.
Now, he must put his personal feelings aside.
"I've got to do my job, because I know if other things were going on and somebody could affect the way I play, I wouldn't want that happening," Lee said. "So I've just got to swallow everything I have inside me and go out and do whatever I can to help each guy the best I can."