Akers providing boost with touchbacks

122010-david-akers-400
The Eagles have kicked touchbacks on 24.72 percent of their kickoffs this season. (Seth Wenig/AP)

akers_122710 David Akers turned 36 earlier this month, but he's showing no signs of slowing down.

In his 12th season with the Eagles (and final year of his current contract), Akers is actually improving in certain aspects of his game.

He got some recognition for his perfectly-executed onside kick in Week 15 that was key in the Birds' 38-31 comeback win against the Giants. Overall, Akers has been his steady self as a field-goal kicker and has shown improvement on kickoffs.

Let's start with field goals. Akers has hit 85.7 percent of his attempts, which ranks 11th in the NFL. But for Akers personally, it would be his fourth-best percentage in 12 seasons. Akers had that strange game against the Falcons in Week 6 where he went 1-for-4. But since then, he's converted on 23 of 24 (96 percent) attempts.

Where I really noticed the difference in his numbers, though, was the kickoffs. The Eagles have kicked touchbacks on 24.72 percent of their kickoffs; that's the sixth-best percentage in the NFL. And it's an unusually high number for Akers. He's kicked touchbacks on 22 of 89 kickoffs. Akers' previous high for touchbacks was 17 in 2008. That was also his previous high percentage (19.1 percent). Here's a chart of Akers' kickoffs over the years:


Kickoffs
Touchbacks
Touchback %
1999
67
8
11.9%
2000
80
4
5.0%
2001
79
7
8.9%
2002
89
10
11.2%
2003
83
8
9.6%
2004
86
12
14.0%
2005
35
3
8.6%
2006
83
11
13.3%
2007
78
6
7.7%
2008
89
17
19.1%
2009
94
11
11.7%
2010
89
22
24.7%


As you can see, he's improved this aspect of his game. According to Football Outsiders, the Eagles rank seventh in kickoffs. That's not kickoff coverage, just the kick itself.

Considering that the Eagles' defense is dead-last in the league in the red zone (opponents have scored touchdowns on 76.92 percent of their trips), Akers' improvement on kickoffs could provide a boost come playoff time.


You can follow Moving the Chains on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook.


Download our NEW iPhone/Android app for even more Birds coverage, including app-exclusive videos and analysis. Get it here.

Continue Reading