New NFL kickoff rule changes are spicy and confusing

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NFL rules changes affect all 32 NFL teams. But in the case of the LA Rams, sometimes those changes can benefit the team, while they can sometimes penalize the team. We will be sharing the complete list of NFL rule changes later, but we did want to focus on one new rule change that may have significance to the team this year. The rule change that jumps out at me is the new kickoff rule. It is a pair of rule changes that was ratified by the NFL competition committee.

I've noticed a lot of discussion about the new rule change to the kickoff aspect of the game, but I believe that the best visual and descriptive presentation of the rule change came from ESPN NFL Insider Jeff Darlington, who shared his SportsCenter explanation on social media. See for yourself:

So what changes? Here are some highlights:

  • The kicker kicks from his own 35-yard line
  • The return team lines up at their 35-yard line, the kicking team (except for kicker) line up five yards away, as the 40-yard line
  • The kicker's primary goal is to place the football between the opponent’s 20-yard line and the end zone (the target zone).
  • If the football is kicked into the opponent's end zone, the play results in the offense taking over at their (35-yard-line) Amended to the 30-yard line
  • If the football lands in the target zone and rolls into the end zone, the offense will take over at their 20-yard line.
  • No kickoff players can move until the ball is touched or reaches the target zone (area from 20-yard-line to goal line)
  • Onside kicks are still permitted but must be declared before the play.
  • The team can set up an unbalanced formation (6 to one side, 4 to the other side) to enhance the chances of recovering the onside kick.

The new rule change will certainly add renewed interest to an aspect of the football game that has grown stale over time. How will the changes impact the team's draft plans?

Keep in mind that the Rams did re-sign former kicker Tanner Brown to the team via a Reserve/Future contract. So the team only needs to draft a kicker to create competition for Brown to face in training camp. After all, the rule changes impact all 32 teams. Now the question is, can the Rams leverage this change to their advantage?