Philadelphia Eagles News

Akers' Value Never Greater

In 2009, 10 of the 32 NFL clubs used at least two kickers. That stat can be translated into simply: No kicker in the NFL can ever get too comfortable.

And though he's headed to a fourth Pro Bowl next week, Eagles' kicker David Akers believes he's kicking to keep his job each and every week.

"Ultimately, when the team calls upon me, I hope to be able to go out and make the kick," said the 11-year veteran. "You have to learn to make the kick and go on and make the next kick. Or, if you miss a kick, you have to go on and make your next one."

That's been easier said than done in this postseason.

Despite only two games being played in cold weather cities (Jets at Bengals, Ravens at Patriots), field goal kickers are just 15-of-26 (57.7 percent) in the postseason. Teams are 0-for-5 against the Jets.

Last Sunday, Chargers placekicker Nate Kaeding missed a 40-yard field-goal attempt with 4:38 left and the Chargers trailing, 17-7. It was his third miss of the day - he also missed from 36 and 57 yards. Kaeding, who like Akers is Pro Bowl-bound, had missed just three kicks all season and had made 69 in a row from 40 yards-and-in. Dallas' Shaun Suisham, who struggled at times earlier in the year with Washington, missed from 49 and 48 yards at Minnesota.

A week earlier, Arizona had a chance to win its wild Wild Card game against Green Bay at the end of regulation. However, Neil Rackers missed from 34 yards out. In Cincinnati, Shayne Graham missed from 42 and 28 yards in the Bengals' 24-14 loss to the Jets.

All that being said, the Eagles are very fortunate to have Akers, the team's all-time leader in points (1,180), field goals (262), 50-plus-yard field goals (14) and PATs (393).

Like Kaeding, Suisham, Rackers and Graham, Akers had his forgettable game this season - in Oakland on Oct. 18 when he missed wide left on a 43-yarder and wide right on a 47-yarder in a 13-9 loss. After that, he missed just two field goals the rest of the season.

Akers' good days certainly outnumber the bad and that is why he remains in midnight green.

Akers finished 2009 tied for the league lead with 32 field goals and was second in the league with 139 points, each of those totals were the second-highest single-season outputs in team history (144 points and 33 field goals by Akers in 2008). Akers was also third in the league with 12 field goals of 40-or-more yards.

Akers also solidified his standing as the most prolific kicker of the decade. With 1,169 points, Akers led all NFL kickers for the 2000s.

-- Posted by Bob Kent, 10:15 a.m., January 21

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