David Akers gets a kick from new regimen
By Matt Gelb
Inquirer Staff Writer
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – David Akers acknowledged he was embarrassed. The Eagles kicker is a perfectionist. He keeps diligent track of his statistics in practice, games and training camp. That’s why his 2-for-10 clip from beyond 40 yards last season made him desperate to change something.
Then one day, while in Dallas during the off-season, Akers saw an infomercial for a new training regimen called P90X.
“I said, you know what, it looks legit because it’s not some gimmick,” Akers recalled. “It [involves] actually working hard and changing the regimen all the time.”
He tried it for the sake of change. He did not intend to lose weight, but he ended up dropping 20 pounds and 6 percent of his body fat.
And his leg feels stronger. He has shown that in camp. Akers, out to prove last season was a fluke, has made two 60-yard field goals, including one yesterday.
“I’d be real happy if I was able to keep this type of power and consistency through the season,” Akers said.
Last season, Akers lacked on deep kicks for the first time in his career. For a lifetime 68.1 percent kicker from beyond 40 yards, 2 for 10 was like a slap in the face.
Akers, though, was not overly disappointed with last season. He made every field goal under 40 yards that he attempted (22 for 22). Of the field goals he missed from beyond 40 yards, many were near-impossible kicks, he said. Plus, he was working with a new holder, Sav Rocca, which caused some headaches.
“You don’t lose it just like that,” Akers said.
The distance was not the problem. A 57-yard attempt in Week 14 against the New York Giants that would have tied the game banged off the right goalpost. He did not think he had a shot at making it from there, anyway.
Still, Akers questioned himself in the off-season. The 33-year-old cannot regain the strength he had as a younger player, but he wanted to do something new.
That’s when he saw the infomercial for P90X, which boasts on its Web site that users can “get absolutely ripped in just 90 days.”
“I liked it because it really worked a lot with the explosion of the legs,” Akers said. “Jumping, cardio aerobic, push-ups, pull-ups, jumping back and forth, it’s crazy. Yoga, stretch, tempo . . . it’s all kind of mixed into one.”
He convinced Eagles trainer Rick Burkholder, who said he lost 30 pounds on the regimen. “And he was standing on a chair doing it at first,” Akers said. Burkholder has the injured Eagles doing parts of the training system.
Special-teams coordinator Rory Segrest sees a different Akers, who now weighs 183 pounds.
“He’s showing really good leg strength right now,” Segrest said. “He’s hit them in warm-ups. He’s hit them during our team reps.”
The first day Akers came to camp, he was playing around with Rocca and long-snapper Jon Dorenbos. He said he nearly hit a 70-yard field goal. That’s when he realized that maybe this regimen could pay off.
“There’s something to it,” Akers said of his new training technique. “It’s not like, ‘Hey, take this pill, you’re going to lose 40 pounds of fat.’ You bust your butt. It’s tough.”