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49ers mulling options with Akers, kicking game

SANTA CLARA

Jim Harbaugh was in his Jimbo mood on Monday. When he's happy and everything is right with the world and he flashes the million-dollar grin, that's the Jimbo mood.

Of course, Harbaugh has several other moods and some of those are terse or gloomy or withdrawn. Hardly Jimbo Jim.

But on Monday, Jimbo visited with the media. The conversation naturally got around to David Akers, the Niners' biggest problem. Jimbo being Jimbo, he didn't seem fazed that Akers is the worst kicker in the league. He said kickers go through slumps. That insight right there showed empathy, and one of Jimbo's most attractive qualities is empathy. We assume Jimbo was not the Jim Harbaugh who handled Alex Smith or Brandon Jacobs, whom the 49ers waived Monday after a short, unhappy tenure on the team and an unspecified transgression that resulted in loss of pay for three games.

Jimbo said he has three options in the place-kicking department.

Option No. 1: He could stick with Akers.

Sure, he could but that would show lack of preparation and a certain slackness we do not associate with Harbaugh in any incarnation.

Option No. 2: He could get another kicker. Jimbo admitted he will bring in kickers for tryouts this week and see if any is better than Akers.

This is a very good idea. I wonder, though, what kind of kicker the 49ers can procure with the playoffs around the corner. I mean, if this unnamed kicker is so good, wouldn't he already be employed?

One further note on Option No. 2: Akers is not allowed to compete with the other kickers. So, he'll wait at home biting his nails while the other guys try to kick him out of a job.


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