Are you ready for some kickoffs?
The NFL is trying its hardest to keep the play relevant in the modern game while reducing the possibility of significant injury, and the latest rule changes are largely being met with optimism by coaches around the league. One such individual is Green Bay Packers special teams coordinator Ron Zook, who sees the changes as being a positive step forward.
In fact, Zook thinks more kicks will be returned this season as a result of the changes. If so, that would be a substantial change; last year, the Packers returned just 35 of 85 kickoffs (including one by Kyler Fackrell), while Mason Crosby’s 66 kickoffs (not including two onside attempts) resulted in just 30 returns.
While we speculate on the effects of those new rules, we also look back at one of the Packers’ strongest positions over the team’s history as well as some news about a beloved former Packer in a new uniform.
Can the kickoff be saved? New rules give Packers' Ron Zook hope | Packersnews.com
The NFL made kickoffs a little bit less of an issue a few years ago by bringing the touchback out to the 25 instead of the 20, but they hadn't done anything about when a kick is returned. That's the purpose of the new rules, and Ron Zook things teams will be more willing to return kicks now that the kicking team cannot take a running start.
Jim Ringo: Best of long, illustrious line of centers | Packers.com
Perhaps no position has had the string of strong, consistent play over the years for the Packers than the center spot. From Ringo to Frank Winters and plenty of great players in between, the team has seemingly always had strength at that position.
Are Packers lacking in the talent department? | Packers Wire
Are the Packers not a top-ten team in the NFL on talent alone? So says Gil Brandt.
Carr sees why Rodgers loved throwing to Jordy Nelson - NFL.com
It's all coming down to intelligence and attention to detail for Nelson at this point. That can still make him dangerous as a complementary piece, but he's certainly not looking like a primary wideout any more.
Julian Edelman suspension is latest snag in Patriots’ rocky offseason - SBNation.com
The Pats brought in a bunch of wideouts this offseason, so this might not hurt them that badly in the short term.
Besiktas fined by UEFA after cat wandered on to pitch during Bayern Munich game - BBC Sport
The Turkish soccer team was fined 34,000 euros for the incident; meanwhile, German fans of Bayern Munich voted the cat as the "man of the match."