John Harbaugh press conference: 9-22-05

On how K David Akers looks and what he anticipates for this Sunday: "I thought he looked really good on field goals yesterday. So I think he can kick field goals for us right now, if we need him to. It's just a matter of checking him out on kickoffs for the next two days and seeing how that goes."

On whether he might hold David out to prevent further injury:

"Well there will be some consideration there, but there is more to it then just that. We've got roster considerations. So if you make that decision, two things are going to have to happen. You're going to have to make a change on your 53-man roster, and you're going to have to make a change to your 45-man roster. So I think you balance out the situation in terms of can he hurt himself any worse, is there any danger in this thing lingering, versus the roster choice that you might have to make, which might cost your team something."

On whether the plan might be to let David kick field goals and have someone else do the kickoffs:

" That's not our plan right now, because if we did that we'd have to, again, knock a guy off the 53-man roster, and knock a guy off the 45-man. We don't have anybody on the roster that can kickoff better than Dave could kickoff. Its like we did in the game Sunday. [TE/LS Mike Bartrum] kicked off the one kickoff and I think it was about a 3.0 down to the 20-yard line. Dave kicked off the next three with the injury, and actually kicked off better than Bartrum. So even if Dave's kickoffs weren't up to standard for an NFL kicker, with the injury, they were still better than Bartrum. Bartrum did a nice job, but he's not a kicker."

On if P Dirk Johnson can do the kick offs:

"No. Dirk kind of came up a different way as a kicker. Dirk was a safety who learned how to punt. A lot of those guys are kickers who kicked balls their whole life so he's not really a kicker. I think it's something we may want to work on in the future, but with the groin injury we have not been able to work on it."

On how K Todd France looked:

"Todd? He looked good. He kicked and made all of his field goals, and kicked off very well. He looks like a guy that's right on the brink of being a kicker in this league."

On what he saw in Todd that made him stand out:

"Well we've known about him since he came out of Toledo. He was a promising guy coming out so he's one of these guys that we tracked all the way through. [Director of Pro Personnel] Scott [Cohen] is the one who does a great job tracking those goes. He's the next best guy out there, we felt like. Of all the guys that were unsigned, he was the next best guy. We worked him out along with the young guy from Boise, Tyler Jones, and he was just better in the workout. So we think he's the next guy in line."

On why it is so hard for kickers to break out:

"Well I think part of it is the fact that there's only 32 of them. There's only 32 spots, and there's no backups. There's three quarterbacks on a roster, five corners on a roster, there's one kicker on every roster, and there's one punter. So that's part of it plus, there's the consistency part of it. These young guys are kind of raw. A lot of times they are not consistent. You want a guy with more consistency. It's like a golfer. How many golfers win the PGA tournament as 21-year old rookies? It takes time to develop those kind of skills. It's more of that type of skill than running and tackling."

On what concerns him the most about the Oakland Raiders return team:

"Their returner, Chris Carr. He's really good for a rookie coming out of Boise. Quintin Mikell warned us about him. He's really quick, really fast, and he's not shy. He hits it up in there north south. He's already had a big return so it's going to be a big challenge for us."

On how Mark Simoneau is adapting to special teams:

"He's been great. Mark is like [LB Jermiah Trotter] was last year. He's a team player, and he likes to play football. He's a good football player. You saw it in that big hit, and it's kind of the same thing we had with Jeremiah in that sense. It's good to have good players on special teams, and Mark has been into it."

On why the return games has not been so good:

"Well the biggest thing is it's early. We're going to be fine. We haven't had many kick-off returns, so I think the jury's out there. But the blocking was not very good the first week. Last week I don't know what to say. We only had one chance. In the punt returns, we had two good returns called back on holding calls. So whether they were legitimate holding calls or not, that's for the officials to determine. I think we're blocking people pretty well on the punt returns, and we'll have big punt returns. [CB] Dexter [Wynn] is doing a good job, and so is [CB] Rod [Hood]."

On if he is happy with both Dexter and Rod:

"Oh absolutely. There's no doubt in my mind that those guys are going to have good years, without question."

On whether David may re-injure himself and throw himself off:

"That's a good question. I don't know the answer to that. I don't think so. Fundamentally, yesterday, we watched the tape. That's all you can really do. We watched the tape. His mechanics were excellent. Just like they always are when he's healthy. I think he's got a little pain in there, but he's still got good mechanics. So, what more can you go by than that?"

On his anticipation of David's return:

‘I think if he kicks off well today then we anticipate him kicking on Sunday. We don't know, because we haven't seen him kickoff yet."

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