Monday through Friday,
After Jet-setting from the Bay Area to New Jersey following each week of practice, Akers’ title changes from kicker to father. About as soon as the All-Pro settles down with his wife and three children on the East Coast, he’s already back in the car driving his kids to their weekends sporting events.
“I coach flag football for two teams and I coach soccer,” Akers said. “Saturday’s my busiest day of the week.”
He’s a proud coach, Akers. Saturdays usually start with a 9 o’ clock game in the morning and don’t end until the third game of the day is over around dinner time. Following church and more family time on Sunday, Akers hops back on the plane to join his second family, the San Francisco 49ers.
“You really don’t get much of an offseason when you go so far into the playoffs,” Akers said.
Coming off of a season when he earned his sixth Pro Bowl bid and fourth All-Pro honor, perhaps one would think there’s not much else Akers can improve. But as he enters his 14th NFL season, Akers is still keeping his timing and rhythm sharp with long snapper
The trio went to Hawaii together as the NFC Pro Bowl specialists in January and have been building on their chemistry throughout the offseason. Akers went perfect from the field during Tuesday’s practice, making nearly 10 attempts, despite strong winds and using nine-foot wide goal posts, less than half the width of regulation size uprights (18 feet, 6 inches).
“We were doing a good job of that today,” said Akers, who made a long of 51 yards. “Andy and I we were working those little nuances. … There’s a lot of little things that people don’t know we’re working on.”
Lucky for Akers, he’ll be able to keep working for Lee for the foreseeable future, as the 49ers locked up their star punter with a six-year extension.
Just as Lee helps Akers during kicks, Akers helps Lee when he can. On Tuesday, Akers channeled his inner-
“I was just trying to help so the cars aren’t getting killed,” Akers said with a laugh.
Akers and Lee formed a quick bond last season due to their faith and love for football and are looking forward to repeating their success from 2011. The players were each responsible for a bit of NFL history, as Akers set a new single-season for field goals made (44) and Lee set a new season-long net punting average of 44.0.
Understandably, Akers was excited to hear Lee inked a long-term deal with the 49ers.
“It’s such a blessing for him and for the organization,” Akers said. “What a great move for the organization to a wonderful class act on and off the field. He’s shown for years how well he can kick with the wind out at Candlestick so I think it’s a brilliant move. Money well spent.”
At this point in their working relationship, Akers and Lee are working on the subtle things. With the wind moving right to left in Santa Clara on Tuesday, Lee made a slight change to his hold to help the ball slice from left to right.
But try as you might, there’s no perfect practice for the swirling winds at Candlestick Park, as it can change on you in a heartbeat. Lee offered Akers some sage advice once he signed with the 49ers last season.
“Andy told me, ‘You’ll figure it out when you realize you can’t figure it out,’” Akers said.
During the offseason team activities, the specialists usually wrap up their work by the midpoint of practice. This leaves plenty of time for conversation, football and otherwise. Among the group of specialists in this year’s offseason is former Cal kicker
Tavecchio, who is also a left-footed kicker, said he couldn’t have picked a better situation after signing an undrafted rookie deal with the 49ers shortly following the draft.
“I aspire to kick the ball like him one day.” Tavecchio said. “He’s very consistent, very technical and he approaches it in a very professional way. That’s a goal of mine, is to become like him. Also, to see him as a person off the field – very outgoing and very caring – he’s just a fantastic role model. You couldn’t ask for a better role model.”