SAN DIEGO -- Kicker Nick Novak has had to grind in order to win an NFL job, and ultimately stay on a 53-man roster.
So the NFL experimenting with moving the extra point attempts back to the 15-yard line for the first two weeks of the preseason is just another impediment the San Diego Chargers' placekicker will have to overcome in order to stay in the league.
"I think it’s fine," Novak said. "I don’t have any negative thoughts on it. I’ve always been the type to do whatever I can to adapt. So I’ll just adapt. I want to play in this league, so I’m sure as heck not going to be upset about it. I’m going to work on it.
"I think it’s good field goal practice for the season. In years past (during the preseason) I’ve maybe only gotten four or five attempts. And this allows me to get more work with my guys. So I think it’s a great thing."
The new rule makes PATs about 33 yards, depending on where the holder spots the ball, instead of the current distance of 20 yards.
Novak is 148 for 149 on extra points over his seven-year NFL career.
The experiment of moving the PATs further out seems to have achieved the NFL’s goal of making the PAT more than just an automatic play.
After gathering data during the preseason experiment, the league will assess the PAT rule after the season.
Along with the new PAT distance, Novak has worked on developing more leg strength and better technique to improve his numbers on touchbacks. Last season, Novak finished in the bottom of the league in touchbacks, with only 19.6 percent of his kickoffs resulting in opposing teams getting the ball at the 20-yard line.
Novak said his distance on kickoffs has not been the issue, but generating more hang time in order to give his guys on kickoff more time to pressure the returner into staying in the end zone. In order to achieve that, Novak went from eight to 11 total steps on his approach to the kick.
"It’s going to change depending on wind direction, but I think I’m seeing progress, and I like where I’m at right now," Novak said. "I just have to continue to remind myself that every day is an opportunity to get better."