NFL Kickoff Change and the Ravens search for a kick returner
The Baltimore Ravens must find a new kick returner on their roster, for the new NFL kickoff rules:
The National Football League is changing things when it comes to kickoffs. In a nutshell the NFL is trying to make kickoffs safer by having rules that make lower speed collisions. It could be argued whether or not that this is better than doing away with the kickoff in the first place but player safety is what this rule is targeting.
One way or another kickoffs are going to change. If the Baltimore Ravens can find the right kick returner, they may be able to use these new rules to their favor. Speed has always been the top trait for kickoff returners, but quickness and vision could make up for a lot with the old rules. These new rules may make speed even more important.
With these new rules there is no running start for the kickoff team; they have to wait for the ball to move, just like on any other play. The new rules also dictate that most of the return team will be in a 15 yard range closer to the kickoff team. This seemingly creates a bubble for the kickoff returner. There should be a blob of players in the middle of the field, and the returner should be able to get to the 25 just about every time if he has the requisite speed.
This new set up will allow a speedy kick returner to pick up speed in the open field. The NFL may have intended to make the kickoff less dangerous, but they may have made the kickoff return a more prominent part of the game. This is just a theory, and we’re going to have to see it play out, but this may give the NFL more collisions, just at a lower speed.
Who will return kicks for the Ravens:
With no more Michael Campanaro or Bobby Rainy, the Ravens have to find their new kickoff returner. There are a couple of names that make sense here. Chris Moore is a speedy wide receiver with some experience returning kicks. Tim White, is on the roster bubble, however this is his big chance to get on the team. A defensive back returning kicks isn’t out of the question, but Chris Moore is the best option.
Moore is a football savvy player, especially from the special teams point of view. Moore is one of the fastest players on the team and he has the most experience. He had 13 kickoff returns in 2017 and averaged 26.6 yards per return. The only knock on using Moore as the return specialist is that the Ravens depend on him in multiple special teams roles and may want to give him more playing time on offense.
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With Moore’s speed and dependability, the Ravens could get even more out of the kick returning position than they did with the old rules. If there is a team that understands how to work the special teams units, it’s the Ravens. John Harbaugh got his start as a special teams guru, and Jerry Rosburg is a top special teams coordinator in the NFL. This should be interesting.