Despite being the heavy favorite in the Detroit Lions' position battle at kicker, David Akers has sort of been overlooked by many during training camp and the preseason. Much of the focus has been on Havard Rugland because of his unique path to the NFL. The idea of "Kickalicious" becoming the Lions' starting kicker quickly took off amongst fans, especially once Rugland proved he had the ability to kick in an actual game.
While Rugland's story is quite outstanding, let's not get things twisted: Akers is going to go into the 2013 season as the Lions' starting kicker as long as he's healthy. He spent the offseason recovering from an injury, and now that he's at or near 100 percent health, it seems like he's back to kicking like he did at the start of the 2012 season (i.e. before his accuracy fell apart). Case in point:
Akers banked in a 63-yard attempt off the right upright today.— Justin Rogers (@Justin_Rogers) August 19, 2013
Rugland drew attention for his strong kicking leg early in training camp, but Akers showed on Monday that he's still got a pretty powerful leg as well. Akers also showed that at the start of last season when he made a 63-yard field goal at Lambeau Field. It's a good sign that he is still able to make a field goal from that far out, as it suggests his injury issues over the last year haven't affected his power.
Rugland, by the way, made all three of his field goal attempts in practice on Monday, according to Dave Birkett. His farthest kick was only 48 yards, but he is continuing to perform at a pretty high level given his lack of experience. Even though his chances of beating out Akers are slim to none at this point, it wouldn't surprise me one bit if Rugland lands a gig somewhere else in 2013.