The NFL isn’t killing the kickoff yet. But it’s moving closer and closer to getting whacked.
Judy Battista of NFL Media lists some of the key developments from Wednesday’s session of an ongoing “safety summit” as it relates to the kickoff. She says that the next wave of changes to the play will likely include eliminating the two-man wedge, preventing players on the kicking team from getting a running start, and allowing only three players on the return team to stray beyond the row of blockers who are in closer proximity to the members of the kicking team.
If unsuccessful, get ready to say goodbye to the kickoff for good.
A cynic would say that, eventually, the kickoff is indeed going away for good, and that these changes are aimed at simply getting everyone comfortable with the inevitable.
While there had seemed to be a bit of a chasm between Smith and O’Brien with football operations, Gaine and O’Brien seem to be off on the right foot.
“Everybody coming together, working together hand-in-hand to achieve the best results. But, I would describe it as a great team effort,” Gaine said, via Sarah Barshop of ESPN.com.
“Bill spends a lot of time evaluating the players, too. We had the head start with the Senior Bowl, of course, with our coaches coaching in the game. To Bill’s credit, he spends a lot of time evaluating the players, watching the tape, but as well as the coaches. Bill then [builds a] consensus with his coaching staff and then the two of us come together and we blend our vision for the player, the prospect.”
The Texans didn’t have a pick until the third round as traded to acquire Deshaun Watson and dump Brock Osweiler left them without first- or second-round selections.
The previous relationship was described as “toxic” and “dysfunctional” between Smith and O’Brien toward the end of last season. Smith stepping aside has allowed for the head coach and G.M. to work together with joint investment in the direction of the team.