It was raining during the beginning of today’s practice, but that didn’t bother David Akers. If by chance you were still wondering whether Akers’ problems kicking field goals stemmed from something within his own head, you can stop. Physically, he’s more than capable of making field goals from any reasonable distance. Mentally … that’s another story.
While the rest of the team was chatting with each other and stretching before starting the portion of practice when the media were sent back to their trailer (which was still full of pizza, thanks to Colin Kaepernick), Akers was crushing field goals. One by one, right down the middle. He started at about 35 yards — bang. Then 40 yards — no problem. Then 45 yards — ditto. No wide left, no doinks off the upright. The whole time, Jim Harbaugh was watching and even saying a few words to Akers. Both coach and kicker were too far away for anyone to pick up what Harbaugh was saying, which is just how Harbaugh likes it.
Maybe the pressure has subsided since the 49ers have no choice but to stick with Akers for the last game of the season, but it seems like having your coach looking over your shoulder while you kick would be rather difficult — even during practice. I wouldn’t even be able to write this post if Harbaugh was looking over my shoulder while I was typing.
Here are some photos of Akers kicking in the rain under Harbaugh’s watchful eye:
I’m not sure what Joe Staley was doing in that last photo. Sneezing, perhaps. And since this “slideshow without the slideshow” has gone so well, here is a photo of Justin Smith (with his Anheuser Busch tattoo peeking over his elbow brace) making Aldon Smith laugh:
Aldon wore a black “no contact” jersey. He was listed as limited in practice today, as were Tarell Brown and Bruce Miller (all three due to shoulder injuries). Ahmad Brooks (shoulder) and Garrett Celek (foot) didn’t practice for the second straight day. Justin Smith was a full participant in practice, because he’s Justin Smith.