Around the NFC West: Jan. 2, 2013
David Akers' performance as the San Francisco 49ers' field-goal kicker has gone from misunderstood to unacceptable -- so unacceptable that the team signed free-agent kicker Billy Cundiff as insurance.
This doesn't feel like an upgrade.
Akers has made 20 of 23 attempts (87 percent) from inside 40 yards this season. Cundiff had nearly as many misses (two) on 17 fewer attempts from that range while with Washington this season.
Akers has made only 7 of 13 tries from 40 to 49 yards. He made 6 of 11 such kicks last season. Cundiff has made 3 of 4 such attempts this season. Not much to go on.
There aren't enough meaningful tries from 50-plus yards to compare the kickers' performances from that range this season. Akers has made 2 of 6 such attempts after hitting 7 of 9 last season. Cundiff has missed from 57 and 62 yards, his only attempts from 50 or longer.
The 49ers had to do something to address their kicking situation. Perhaps Cundiff will show them enough in practice to inspire confidence. This isn't the time of year to be auditioning kickers, but at least the 49ers, with a first-round playoff bye, have some time.