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The Main Difference From Last Year: David Akers

  • bearster
  • 5th Round Draft Pick
  • Rating: 2.8/5 this site
  • 205 posts this site

Posted: 11/13/2012 4:44 PM

The Main Difference From Last Year: David Akers 


David Akers... He just simply isn't the same guy as last year. Ever since that game against the Giants 40+ has been a major obstacle for him. I don't have the same confidence in him as I did last year, and it feels like hes losing confidence as well.

Last edited 11/28/2012 12:54 PM by pudding

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Posted: 11/13/2012 4:59 PM

Re: The Main Difference From Last Year 


While Akers not being automatic doesn't help, I think the main difference from last year is lack of pressure on the quarterback. Last year, the 49ers were capable of getting decent and consistent pressure with just four players, allowing them to avoid "true blitzes" (that is, sending extra people, as opposed to zone blitzes, where it might still be four or even three, but a traditional rusher drops back into coverage while an ILB or DB rushes) that leave them less sound on the back end.

They're still eschewing such blitzes by and large, but not producing the 2011 pressure with three or four. Justin Smith is still pretty close to dominant...it's his commanding of double-teams that has played a big part in Aldon Smith's continued dominance and J. Smith is still great against the run. But McDonald and Sopoaga (when he's out there) have generated far, far less inside pressure and even J. Smith is not beating that double team as often to tally sacks. Brooks and A. Smith have been about as effective as last year, as far as I can tell. Brooks has never been a huge pressure guy, but he still gets his share.

The 49ers' run defense is also not as stout and, again, it seems to fall mostly on McDonald and Sopoaga not being quite as strong inside as last season. Last season, they were both excellent...this season, probably more like slightly above average against the run. Ahmad Brooks is still a solid run-stopper and Aldon Smith has done a nice job of learning to set the edge against the run on his side. Willis and Bowman have both been strong as usual, but not quite as dominant as their stellar 2011, in my opinion.

Last year, the 49ers could pretty much count on shutting down the run every week and forcing the quarterback into a number of pressured throws. Neither is a given this season. With that, generated turnovers have gone down. They were bound to get less turnovers anyway, since a chunk of generating turnovers is luck and luck tends to regress to the mean. But another chunk is pressure...a pressured quarterback makes worse decisions, and bad decisions can be capitalized on for more turnovers. Without as much pressure and as much luck, turnover generation is much less likely.

I don't think Carlos Rogers or Tarell Brown are playing any worse, but they're being exposed more by quarterbacks with plenty of time as neither is the kind of shut-down corner who can blanket a receiver for long. Culliver has improved, mitigating some of the damage, and Goldson is turning in another legitimately strong year, IMO. Whitner is what he's always been...a perfectly solid safety.

Last edited 11/14/2012 10:03 AM by Minstrel

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Posted: 11/14/2012 8:07 AM

Re: The Main Difference From Last Year 


What Minstrel said.  But more simply put.....last year with our ability to stop the running attack of almost every team we turned our opposition into one dimensional opponets......this year....not nearly enough of the same.

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Posted: 11/14/2012 6:42 PM

Re: The Main Difference From Last Year 


Last year 8-1
This year 6-2-1

The difference:  a slightly more difficult schedule and a year of game film for opposing coaches to dissect.
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  • bearster
  • 5th Round Draft Pick
  • Rating: 2.8/5 this site
  • 205 posts this site

Posted: 11/14/2012 11:40 PM

Re: The Main Difference From Last Year 


I think I put too much blame on Akers in the original post... More accurately I think that the special teams as a whole has been a huge let down. Last year it was almost a guarantee that we would win two phases of the game, Special Teams and defense. Accordingly, this led to a lot of wins. To be honest the loss of Blake Costanzo has been is showing more than anyone could have imagined.
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Posted: 11/15/2012 10:12 AM

Re: The Main Difference From Last Year 



bearster wrote: I think I put too much blame on Akers in the original post... More accurately I think that the special teams as a whole has been a huge let down. Last year it was almost a guarantee that we would win two phases of the game, Special Teams and defense. Accordingly, this led to a lot of wins. To be honest the loss of Blake Costanzo has been is showing more than anyone could have imagined.
Yep.

Do the 49ers players miss special teams ace   Blake Costanzo ?

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Posted: 11/15/2012 2:16 PM

Re: The Main Difference From Last Year 



bearster wrote: I think I put too much blame on Akers in the original post... More accurately I think that the special teams as a whole has been a huge let down. Last year it was almost a guarantee that we would win two phases of the game, Special Teams and defense. Accordingly, this led to a lot of wins. To be honest the loss of Blake Costanzo has been is showing more than anyone could have imagined.

It hurt losing Costanzo but Akers game has slipped from last season. He's hitting 71.4% of his field goals, down from 84.6% last season There are 29 other kickers converting a higher percentage of their kicks. Akers last season in Phili he was at 84.2%, about the same as his 1st season with the 49ers. Its concerning that after 9 games he's slipped about 13%.

IMO its fair to blame him for the tie against the Rams. I know its a team sport, but when he's called on to win the game with a 41 yard kick, he needs to deliver. I don't know if its mental or physical (he did hit the longest kick of his career this season) but he needs to get back to being Mr. Clutch.

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Posted: 11/15/2012 8:10 PM

RE: The Main Difference From Last Year 


didn't bother to compare to last year but i think the competition might be better this year...although i would love to be undefeated i didn't hold out hope...although i would be happy to go 5-2 the rest of the year...our division is a defensive monster.
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Posted: 11/18/2012 10:48 PM

Re: The Main Difference From Last Year 


Maybe we'll spend a pick on Dustin Hopkins.
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Posted: 11/19/2012 12:19 PM

Re: The Main Difference From Last Year 


I was not expecting Akers to have a year like last year, but his drop off has been very surprising. The Niners can no longer just rely on his leg. They need to get the ball into the end zone.
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Posted: 11/19/2012 1:36 PM

Re: The Main Difference From Last Year 



CDC84 wrote: I was not expecting Akers to have a year like last year, but his drop off has been very surprising. The Niners can no longer just rely on his leg. They need to get the ball into the end zone.

And that's as it should be.  Akers carried us for a long time when we had nothing.  The name of the game is to score TD's and have a good kicker that can bail you out in a scratch, that's why you don't see kickers as the top paid player on most teams. We have been lucky to have Akers do for us what he has, however I'd be far less than honest if I said I'm not disappointed that Akers didn't win the Ram's game for us.

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Posted: 11/19/2012 3:12 PM

Re: The Main Difference From Last Year 


So as it turns out, Akers isn't really slumping...he's right around career norms, as explained by Mike Sando at ESPN's NFC West blog. The reason for the perceived (by me, included) slump are two-fold:

1. He's not hitting 50+ yard field goals at the incredible rate he did last year. As Sando correctly notes, last year's near-automatic conversion from over 50 yards was probably once-in-a-lifetime. There's no way he could have been expected to keep that up.

2. Here's the good news: he's getting less chip shot attempts because the 49ers are converting more red zone opportunities into touchdowns. Last year, Akers got short field goal after short field goal, which boosted his overall percentage.

Overall, he's basically hitting field goals, at all length ranges, at about his recent career levels. Regression to the mean on very hard attempts and less short field goals is the entire difference.

Hit the link for the more detailed analysis.

Last edited 11/19/2012 3:16 PM by Minstrel

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Posted: 11/19/2012 5:11 PM

Re: The Main Difference From Last Year 


The area where Akers has struggled this year where he has historically been better is in the 40+ yardage. In 2010, Akers was 9-10 (90%).  In 2009, Akers was 11-13 from 40-49 yards (84.6%). In 2008 he was 8-10 (80%). Because he's not hitting those 50 yarders like he did a year ago, his 6-10 in that range is standing out.

Last year, he was actually 6-11 from 40-49, but his 7-9 from 50+ helped make up for that.

Relative to the number of attempts he's had and his struggles in the 40-49 range, I think it's fair to say that, even by his more normal standards, he's off. He's still on pace to kick about 37 FG, which would fit in with his attempt average from 2008-2010, At 71.4% overall, even with his lower attempts at the 'gimme' range of 0-39 yards, I think it's fair to say that he's not converting at quite his normal rate.

Point being, last year may have been anomalous in many ways, so comparing Akers performance this year to his prior 3 gives a clearer picture why, while he may not be slumping as badly as some suggest, he's not performing at quite the level that has been his recent careen norm.
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Posted: 11/20/2012 2:08 AM

Re: The Main Difference From Last Year 


The main difference from last year is our STs as a whole. Last year teams had the worst field position against us due to KOs and Punts, plus we had the best starting position of any team. This year we are pretty much irrelevant in those categories. Lucky for us our defense is close to being just as stout and our offense has improved mightily.

David Akers sucks this year by the way. He, IMO, lost (tied, whatever, we didn't get the win) the Rams games for us. 42 yard FGs are chip shots in the NFL.
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Posted: 11/20/2012 5:35 AM

Re: The Main Difference From Last Year 


I don't agree 42 yarders are gimmies but its one he should make. I am not going to look backwards. I still feel good with Akers kicking a ball in a big spot.
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Last edited 11/20/2012 5:35 AM by thethe

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Posted: 11/27/2012 4:18 PM

Re: The Main Difference From Last Year 


Just to follow up on this, after Akers missed another 50 yarder and got blocked on a 32 yarder, the 49ers, according to Matt Barrows, actually worked out some kickers today. No names on who they worked out, but I think it's fair to say that they may be more concerned than Mike Sando. tongue
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Posted: 11/27/2012 7:38 PM

Re: The Main Difference From Last Year 


Reports say the players worked out were Billy Cundiff and Nate Kaeding.
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Posted: 11/27/2012 8:55 PM

RE: The Main Difference From Last Year 


field goal kickers are a weird bunch. once they struggle, it is a tough thing to work through mentally. i love akers and hope he can work through this. he was an incredible kicker for us last year. however something seems off with him and i don't know what it is. the leg strength is still there but he's pretty inconsistent right now. i hope it sorts itself out as it would be a shame to not be able to rely on him for a clutch kick in a playoff game!

"You are either getting better or you are getting worse; you never stay the same."

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Posted: 11/27/2012 10:33 PM

Re: The Main Difference From Last Year 


What a roller coaster ride it has been for David Akers the last several years!

I am hoping he can work through it and see him succeed with the team.  I remember anything inside of 45 was pretty automatic.  He hit a 60+ yarder earlier in the season as well to tie the record.

I repeat the question: What has happened to David Akers!

Sticking with special teams, is it me or is it the kick off coverage unit is giving up more yards this season?  Seems like the special teams took a step backwards this season.  Andy Lee has been about the steadiest player on ST.
No play is too big for Colin Kaepernick!!!
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Posted: 11/28/2012 11:47 AM

49ers looking at other kickers 


With David Akers' struggles continuing Sunday, the 49ers tried out unemployed veteran kickers Billy Cundiff and Nate Kaedingon Tuesday.

The tryouts were first reported by Scout.com, and confirmed to CSNBayArea.com by a league source.

http://www.csnbayarea.com/foot...amp;feedID=5936

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