|K David Akers hangs his head following one of two misses against Arizona on Sunday. (US Presswire)|
Harbaugh announced Monday that the team plans to bring in other kickers this week to compete for Akers’ job as the team prepares for its playoff game on Jan. 12.
“Yeah, we’ll probably bring a few in and have some tryouts and some competition,” he said.
“(Akers is) still our kicker and we’ll evaluate what we think is the best plan for moving forward in our next game.”
Since hitting his first five field goals to open the season -- which included a NFL record-tying 63-yard kick at Green Bay in the season opener -- Akers has hit just 24 of his last 37 attempts. He ranks No. 30 in the NFL in accuracy (69 percent) and has missed an NFL-worst 13 field goals.
“David’s certainly in it -- he’s done a lot of great things for us," Harbaugh said. "He’s made a lot of great kicks, a lot of big kicks. And he knows it, we know it, those kicks in the games, you’ve got to make those kicks. There will always be a level of competition around at any position to find who gives you the best chance to win the next game. Knowing the competitor that Dave is, I don’t think he’ll have a problem with that.”
While setting the franchise record last year for points in a season (144) -- which is also an NFL record for points by a kicker -- he built up some long-lasting goodwill. The team appeared close to replacing him in late November when it brought in veterans Nate Kaeding and Billy Cundiff for workouts, but neither was signed. Harbaugh called the workouts a “Plan B” in case a pelvis issue Akers was dealing with prevented him from kicking. Kaeding eventually signed with Miami.
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“Kickers go through slumps at times. You’ve seen that and they’ll go through it and maybe come out of it quickly,” Harbaugh said. “Sometimes it lingers a little bit. But, have I been surprised that he hasn’t made those kicks? Yeah, we understand that’s the job of the kicker, put it through the uprights. But (we) understand the difficult nature of the job as well.”
There is a chance the team could sign an additional kicker and keep Akers on the roster.
“Then they can kick in practice. And that’s an option. That’s a possibility,” Harbaugh said. “I think there are three options. We go forward with David. We bring in a new kicker. Or, we have two and let them compete for the job. We’ll make that decision as we go.”
Akers, a six-time Pro Bowl selection, signed a three-year contract with the 49ers before the 2011 season.
Coordinators names making the rounds: OC Greg Roman, DC Vic Fangio and special teams coach Brad Seely all figure to see their names linked to jobs as potential head coaches as the coaching carousel starts moving. Harbaugh would not comment on whether any teams have asked for permission to speak with anyone on his staff, but he acknowledged there is a chance some may interview for opens jobs as early as this week.
“I don’t think we say whether we do or don’t [grant permission for them to interview],” Harbaugh said. “But definitely we’ve got some guys who would be great choices. I’ve always thought that.”
He confirmed each coordinator would like a head-coaching gig.
“Yeah, they do,” Harbaugh said. “I’ve always tried to hire coaches that had that ambition. I like guys like that. That have those ambitions, those hopes, those dreams.”
Gamble a hot commodity: According to the NFL Network, 49ers player personnel director Tom Gamble has been granted permission to interview with the Jets, Jaguars and Chargers for their vacant general manager positions.
Jacobs waived: In an anticipated move, the 49ers announced waived RB Brandon Jacobs, who served a three-game suspension to close out the regular season. Jacobs’ tenure with the team will be remember more for his antics on social media than any production on the field. He appeared in two games and finished with five carries for seven yards.