Steve Young spoke on KNBR Wednesday afternoon. Here’s what he said about the 49ers kicker competition.
Q: How does a slumping kicker like David Akers affect the quarterback’s mindset during a game?
YOUNG: When a kicker’s in a funk, it’s a problem. I’ve got to wonder why they brought in another guy to compete with him. David’s been around a long time. He’s a veteran guy. If he’s hurt he’s hurt. If he’s missing he’s missing, but I don’t think having someone come in and compete with him is going to get him extra focused. I just don’t imagine it. Maybe that’s what they think.
To me, it’s the last thing you want to do. A young player, you bring in a guy and force him to face the music and face the challenge and get him focused. But David Akers? He’s either going to hit them or not hit them. He’s not going to beat you out during the week and impress you. Either you like him or you don’t like him.
In kicking, you have to bet on a guy: This is my guy, and he’s struggling, but I still believe in him. Almost by doing that, you help him out. If I was the coach this week I would say, “David, I know you’re struggling but I believe in you,” and half of the battle is won because the coach said I got your back, go hit the field goal.
But bringing in another guy, and telling (Akers): “Look, I don’t know if you’re my guy or not. I’ll tell you on Friday.” That’s a tougher way to go.
It’s already a psychological in-your-head mess being a kicker. Two of them are now competing for the next five days, staring at each other. I don’t know, we’ll see if it brings out the best in them.