Capitals

Akers, Cundiff both could be on playoff roster

Akers, Cundiff both could be on playoff roster

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) David Akers and Billy Cundiff were taking their competition to be San Francisco's playoff kicker to Candlestick Park on Monday.

Coach Jim Harbaugh said there's a ``good chance'' both kickers will be on the roster for Saturday's NFC divisional playoff game against the Green Bay Packers, though he didn't specify whether each would be among the 46 active players but did say ``that's conceivable.'' Harbaugh indicated one of the two has already earned a lead for the job but wouldn't say who it is.

The 49ers (11-4-1) signed Cundiff on Jan. 1 to compete for a job with the struggling veteran Akers, who has made just 29 of 42 field goals this season after connecting on 44 of 52 in 2011.

``No, not a resolution. We have a leader in the clubhouse,'' Harbaugh said as his players returned to work after taking the weekend off. ``We'll see how it goes today and tomorrow. It's been good competition. We're working through it.''

Cundiff missed a potential tying 32-yard field goal in the closing seconds of the AFC championship game that sent New England to the Super Bowl last season instead of the Baltimore Ravens, coached by Harbaugh's big brother, John.

Harbaugh said he has no timetable for when to name a starting kicker. The leader emerged from two practice sessions last week.

``It will predominantly be based on how they're kicking now,'' Harbaugh said. ``I think there's a good chance they'll both be on the roster come Saturday.''

Akers missed overtime kicks twice against the Rams this season, with the 49ers losing at St. Louis and tying at home.

In a 27-13 victory against Arizona in the regular-season finale Dec. 30, Akers missed wide left on kicks from 44 and 40 yards and got booed by the sellout home crowd.

The 15th-year pro also had a 21-yard attempt blocked by Red Bryant in a 42-13 loss at Seattle on Dec. 23, and Richard Sherman returned it 90 yards for a touchdown. Yet Akers has made at least one field goal in 33 consecutive games, the second-longest such streak in NFL history.

Cundiff was released by the Washington Redskins on Oct. 9 after missing five of his 12 field goal attempts. The journeyman Cundiff joins his sixth team in 10 NFL seasons. He has also played for Dallas, New Orleans and Cleveland.

Punter Andy Lee, who is the holder on field goals, has long supported Akers in the good moments and also through the missed field goals.

Now, he must put his personal feelings aside.

``I've got to do my job, because I know if other things were going on and somebody could affect the way I play, I wouldn't want that happening,'' Lee said. ``So I've just got to swallow everything I have inside me and go out and do whatever I can to help each guy the best I can.''

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Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: What happens in Vegas....

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USA TODAY Sports

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: What happens in Vegas....

It's almost here.

After a lengthy break between the conference finals and the Stanley Cup Finals, the Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights are set to meet on Monday for Game 1.

Who will hoist Lord Stanley's Cup?

JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir give their keys to the series and their predictions for the Stanley Cup Final. Plus, JJ speaks with several member from the local media to get their insights and predictions.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.

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Need to Know: A look at the Redskins' key 2019 free agents

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Need to Know: A look at the Redskins' key 2019 free agents

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, May 27, 16 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp.  

Note: I am vacationing in the Outer Banks this week. In this space, I’ll be presenting some of the most popular posts of the last few months. I hope you enjoy these “best of” presentations and I’ll see you folks when I get back. 

Here is my sunrise view from this morning:

Looking at next year’s free agents

This post was originally published on March 18. 

There is still work that the Redskins can do in free agency and they still have some of their own players they want to retain. But with a lot of the player movement already in the books, we can take a look forward some of the key Redskin who currently are set to be free agents when the 2019 league year opens. 

QB Colt McCoy (Week 1 age 32)—Lots of questions here. Will the Redskins want to keep him around for another year as Alex Smith’s backup? Or will they want a younger and cheaper backup? Will McCoy want to move on rather than back up another QB who doesn’t miss many games?

OL Ty Nsekhe (32)—The Redskins gave him a second-round restricted free agent tender this year so it’s possible that he could be gone or on a long-term contract in Washington. If he is a free agent, his value and the difficulty of retaining him could depend on if he ends the season as a reserve tackle (easy) or as a starting guard (hard). 

OLB Preston Smith (25)—As we saw with Trent Murphy (three years, $21 million with up to $30 million), pass rushers get paid. Smith also makes big plays. Since Smith came into the NFL, he is the only player with at least 20 sacks, 3 interceptions, and 4 forced fumbles. If the Redskins can’t reach a deal on an extension with him this year the franchise tag is a distinct possibility. 

WR Jamison Crowder (25)—This year the supply of quality receivers both as free agents and in the draft sent contract prices skyrocketing. To guard against that happening next year, the Redskin should start talking to Crowder about an extension soon. 

ILB Zach Vigil (27)—As I noted here, Vigil went from being cut in September to a very valuable reserve in November. Both Zach Brown and Mason Foster will still be under contract, but the Redskin still should make an effort to retain Vigil for special teams and as a capable backup. 

Other Redskins who are slated to be UFA’s next year are DL Ziggy Hood and ILB Martrell Spaight. 

It’s also worth noting that WR Maurice Harris and DE Anthony Lanier will both be restricted free agents next year. Both positions were pricey in free agency this year, so both could require at least second-round tenders, which likely will increase to about $3 million in 2019. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler