Jim Harbaugh 49ersNear the end of Jim Harbaugh’s press conference (no Justin Smith updates, so we’ll just have to see if he practices on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday), Matt Maiocco asked him about David Akers, who missed a 39-yard field goal attempt on Sunday night.

JH: Specialists, sometimes they only get four or five opportunities per game. You’ve got to make the play. We’ve got to see him do it. We’ve got to see him make those plays. 

Will he still get chances? Is he still a part of this team?

Oh yeah. Yeah. 

No thought of giving it a change right now?

No. Not at this time.

Harbaugh is very careful with his language, and often gives answers based on exactly the words presented rather than the inferred meaning of reporters’ questions. So the “Not at this time” portion of his answer leaves Harbaugh an out if they decide this week to either bring in a guy like Nate Kaeding or Billy Cundiff for another tryout.

The one thing in Akers’ favor is the same thing that has led many to give Colin Kaepernick and Jonathan Goodwin a bit of a pass for all the botched handoffs yesterday — the elements at Foxboro. The 49ers could feel that the rainy conditions led to Akers missing his first field goal under 40 yards this season other than the 33-yarder that was blocked in the New Orleans game.

After an All-Pro 2011, Akers has struggled with his accuracy in 2012. He hasn’t made a field goal from 40+ yards since Oct. 29, although he has only had three chances and two of those were from 50+. Among qualified kickers’ only Mason Crosby (58.6%) has made a lower percentage of his field goal attempts than Akers (71.4%). On the positive side, Akers’ 25 made field goals has him tied for 11th in the NFL, and he has made every one of his 40 PAT tries.

Regardless of whether the 49ers keep Akers (the likely move) or make a switch, those who prefer teams go for it on 4th-and-short might find themselves very pleased with Harbaugh’s decision-making the rest of the way. San Francisco went for it on 4th-and-1 from New England’s 25-yard-line on the possession after Akers’ missed FG (Kaepernick fumbled on a QB sneak).