The San Francisco 49ers have the luxury of having a bye week in the 2012-2013 NFL Playoffs, following a comeback win against the Arizona Cardinals coupled with a loss by the Green Bay Packers which will set up a wild card matchup against the Minnesota Vikings. While many teams will enjoy the first round bye to rest some players, the 49ers will use it to evaluate players and bring in some competition for at least one of their incumbents.
More specifically, San Francisco will bring in kickers to see if they should sign one of them to replace the struggling David Akers before their postseason game in the Divisional round in just under two weeks.
After setting records for having one of the best seasons by a kicker in the history of the NFL in 2011, Akers has had a downright dreadful year in 2012. After setting an NFL single-season record with 44 field goals in 52 attempts last year, Akers has now missed 13 of his 40 attempts this season. That includes missing four of his last eight tries.
The six time Pro-Bowl kicker with the 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles missed two more makeable field goal attempts in Sunday’s win against the Cardinals, and may be finally on the verge of being replaced. The 49ers will bring in Billy Cundiff and Justin Medlock for a work out this week to see if they would feel more comfortable heading into the playoffs with a new kicker.
The one thing that Akers may have going for him is that the better kickers have already been signed over the last few weeks. The 49ers may have missed their opportunity by failing to sign either Josh Brown or Nate Keading. The Cincinnati Bengals signed Brown to replace the injured Mike Nugent, while the Miami Dolphins brought in Keading after losing Dan Carpenter for the end of the season.
Cundiff was cut by the Baltimore Ravens for a reason. The same can be said of Medlock with the Carolina Panthers. Cundiff missed five field goals in a dozen attempts to start this season, and is not known for his long range kicks. Medlock began 2012 well enough with the panthers, but then went so cold that the team replaced him with Graham Gano, who was a Washington Redskins cast-off from not too long ago.
San Francisco will hope that Akers can get out of his own head and turn his career back around in time for the playoffs. After all, he already did so once in a major way after being released by the Eagles. When that occurred, many people felt as if Akers had hit the end of the road in terms of his NFL career.
If he cannot get it back together, then the previous statement may now come to fruition.
That will not be good news for the 49ers.