The new kickoff rules stink for the fans and any team with a good kickoff returner. Mike Holmgren admitted as much when he said this weekend that he stood up against the new rules during meetings. Why wouldn’t Mike Holmgren be against the new kickoff rules which appear to chill the value and success of a great return man like Josh Cribbs? What is the Browns’ loss, will be someone else’s gain. Whenever a change like this occurs, it creates opportunities for innovators to see the future before it happens and take advantage. Granted, we have no idea exactly what kind of advantages can be gained from this rule, or just how big they will be. Still, I have a few ideas.
Eric Mangini loved special teams here in Cleveland. Bubba Ventrone, Blake Costanzo and Nick Sorenson were special teams beasts and they proved it on a weekly basis for Brad Seely’s special teams unit. If the new kickoff rules keep the majority of kickoffs from happening, it isn’t just great return men like Josh Cribbs who are affected, it’s also the coverage guys who have marginal value to the roster on the other downs.***
Let’s say you have a kicker that is really accurate, but can’t guarantee you touchbacks every time. Let’s also say you have 3-5 roster spots used up with guys who are best at coverage on the kickoff unit, but have limited value past that. A team in that situation would be better off signing a kickoff specialist that can boom the ball into the first row of the stadium on every kickoff and then re-purpose those roster spots for guys who might have more of a developmental future as every down positional players. [Read more...]