Just a week into the NFL preseason and the new kickoff rules, moving the ball up five yards, seems to be universally panned by fans and players alike. But love it or hate it, get used to it at least for the 2011 season because it isn’t going away.
The Kansas City Chiefs only kicked off once in last week’s 25-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but kicker Ryan Succop says that you should expect more than just touchbacks from the Chiefs special teams unit Friday against the Baltimore Ravens.
“There may be games where we say, ‘Hey, we can hang this ball up and try to get it to come down and the goal line and maybe we feel comfortable trying to get them inside the 20. And then there may be times … where, ‘You know what? We don’t want to mess with this guy. Let’s try to line drive it out of the end zone.’”
Succop’s troubles last season on kickoffs has been well documented here and the new rule, depending on how the kicker and special teams coach Steve Hoffman decide to handle the placement, should help close one of the few holes in his game.
Though the Chiefs kicker isn’t so sure that it will be so easy to put the ball in the end zone all year long.
“As the weather turns and it gets cold and guys’ legs wear out, it won’t be a touchback every time.”
I’d feel much more comfortable with Succop simply putting the ball 5 yards deep, daring the returners to try and get at least 25 yards on the return instead of trying a directional or popped up kick. When your worst case scenario is at the 20, it’s not a bad place to be.