He nailed a record-tying 63-yard field goal in the season opener (which led to a bit in Sports Illustrated’s expose on 63-yarders) but soon tumbled back to the uneven form that led to his exit from the Eagles after the 2010 season. He has missed 13 field goals this year, including four in the last three games, and has the 49ers a little nervous heading into the playoffs.
So San Francisco has decided to bring in a couple of kickers to audition to back up or replace Akers, according to Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area. Here’s the catch: One of the kickers getting a tryout is none other than Billy Cundiff.
Now, Cundiff is not a bad kicker. To get to the NFL, you have to be pretty decent, and Cundiff has forged a nine-season career in which he has bashed 139 of his 184 kicks, including a perfect mark from 30 yards or less.
But Cundiff is also well-known to even the casual NFL fan, which is generally not a good thing for a kicker. Cundiff’s foot was under the shank that led to Baltimore’s loss to the New England Patriots in last year’s AFC Championship game. What looked like a sure chance for the Ravens to push the Pats to overtime turned into a Super Bowl berth for New England and the instant revilement of Cundiff.
So now, with the 49ers needing some help at the placekicker position, it seems a bit odd that they would turn from one team’s former goat to another who has blown kicks in big moments. The Baltimore mishap wasn’t the only facepalm situation for Cundiff, either — he was cut by the Redskins earlier this year after failing to impress in five games in which he missed five kicks. (He also got the honor of commentators talking about his playoff miss every time he took a Redskins kick this year.)
Anyway, Justin Medlock and Cundiff reportedly worked out for the 49ers on Monday, with the team expected to make a decision soon. A little hint to the decision-makers: No matter which player has better kicking ability, one of those guys already has the name recognition that would make him getting the job a pretty bad PR move for a Super Bowl-hopeful team.
Akers photo via Facebook/NBCPhiladelphia