ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – What was once a gimme in the NFL is now … well, a wait-and-see proposition.
Denver Broncos special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis says it’s still too early to predict the impact of the new extra-point rules. But he believes more teams will try to block the longer attempts and said the Broncos spent a little more time in the preseason on all of the scenarios.
“I still think it’s a play that’s going to evolve as the year goes on," DeCamillis said. “If I’m not mistaken, I think that there were more misses in the preseason -- whether that is pressure or if it’s further back -- than there were all last year. It’s a big play, no question."
Last season the league’s kickers turned the extra point into a lock – kickers made 99.3 percent of extra-point attempts last season (1,222 of 1,230 attempts). And in an attempt to add at least a little spice to that part of special teams life, the league’s owners approved a move back to the 15-yard line for an extra-point attempt, for what would be a 33-yard kick, or a two-point attempt with a play from the 2-yard line.
The distance might not change strategy too much. Kickers made 97 percent of their 33-yard field goal attempts last season. However, in the preseason kickers missed 14 extra-point attempts, including four missed by Philadelphia Eagles’ kickers, three of those by Kip Smith.
A blocked extra point used to result in a dead ball that couldn’t be advanced. However, under the new rule, a blocked field goal can be returned all the way back for a score that would be worth two points.
That is why DeCamillis believes teams will try for blocks in the regular season.
“We definitely spend some more time on those plays as far as whether it’s going to be a two-point or whether it’s going to be a kick, all those types of things," DeCamillis said. “That was also in consideration."