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November 28, 2012
49ers look at two kickers known for playoff misses

kaeding.jpg

The two kickers spied trying out for the 49ers on Tuesday turned out to be Nate Kaeding and Billy Cundiff, according the Howard Balzer of the Sports Xchange. Presumably the tryouts are due to David Akers' recent struggles. Akers was not seen in the locker room Tuesday.

Akers began the season with an NFL-record-tying 63-yard field goal in Green Bay, which earned him a display at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He's been inconsistent of late, however. He missed a game-winning attempt against the Rams in overtime on Nov. 11 and was 1-3 on Sunday with one of his attempts blocked. Akers currently ranks 29th in the NFL in field-goal percentage (70.4).

Head coach Jim Harbaugh and special teams coach Brad Seely, meanwhile, watched Kaeding and Cundiff in action Tuesday. Both kickers have been consistent over long careers, but both also are best known for big misses in the playoffs.

Kaeding, 30, missed potentially game-winning or game-tying field goals for the Chargers in the 2005, 2007 and 2009 playoffs. In a divisional playoffs game against the Jets in 2009, he missed all three of his attempts - from 36, 57, and 40 yards - and the Jets won 17-14. Overall, Kaeding is 8-15 in the playoffs.

He suffered a torn ACL in 2011 and dealt with a groin injury this year that eventually led to the Chargers signing Nick Novak. Outside of the playoffs, Kaeding has been outstanding, hitting 180 of 207 attempts.

Cundiff, meanwhile, missed a last-second, game-tying, 32-yard field goal for the Ravens against the Patriots last year in the AFC Championship game. Cundiff, 32, struggled earlier this year for the Redskins and was released.

Akers last year set an NFL record with 44 field goals and was a major component in the team's winning formula. Earlier this year, he said he always had been good about breaking out of slumps. His 70.4 percentage on field goals, however, is his lowest since he became a full-time kicker in 2000.

- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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