SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – David Akers and Billy Cundiff began their kicking competition at the 49ers practice facility Thursday as the team prepares for next weekend’s playoff game.

Akers revealed he had hernia surgery last February, but said he’s not sure why he’s been struggling, missing 10 of his last 19 field goal attempts from at least 40 yards.

“Just knowing kickers, I would guess that it’s mental,” John Madden told the KCBS morning crew, noting that if coaches thought he had a physical problem they would have signed a backup earlier.”If they knew and it was affecting him, you think they would have had someone on the side for insurance.”

Cundiff was signed Tuesday to compete for the placekicker job.

“I think bringing Billy Cundiff in was probably a smart thing because if you didn’t, you’re just kind of living with that and hoping everything is okay. And if it’s not, it’s too late to do anything,” Madden said. “(But) then you wonder how (Cundiff) is mentally after what he did last year in the playoffs.”

Kicking for Baltimore, Cundiff missed a 32 yard field goal attempt that would have tied the game with a few seconds left in a loss to the Patriots. (8:00)

Listen to the John Madden segment live weekday mornings at 8:15 on KCBS All News 740 AM/106.9 FM. And catch John’s extra report at 9:15 a.m. Mondays and Fridays during the NFL season.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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