Matt Prater concerned the NFL trying to eliminate kickers after extra point change

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Matt Prater heard the metrics of his job changed last week and like many of his kicking compatriots around the NFL, he was not happy.

He went even further Wednesday, openly wondering if the league was trying to eventually eliminate the kicking position. Last week, the NFL chose to move attempted extra points back to the 15-yard line this season and turned a certainty into a 33-yard field goal, something the league experimented with during the preseason last year.

"Am I thrilled about it? No, I don't think any other kicker is," Prater said. "You know, they make these rules and they never talk to any of us about it. I don't know.

"I just feel that eventually they are just trying to weed kicking out of the game completely. It's something we'll have to deal with and hopefully make them all."

Prater, in his second year with Detroit, has not had many issues with 33-yard field goals in the past, making 13 of 14 field goals from either 32 or 33 yards away during his career. But his larger issue is with the changes to the game for kickers in general.

Besides the new extra point rule, the league contemplated a proposal to eliminate kickoffs in 2012 proposed by former Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano. The proposal never really went anywhere, but it signaled some concern to Prater, who was kicking for Denver at the time of the rule proposal to eliminate kickoffs.

"I don't know what the owners and (NFL commissioner Roger) Goodell and all them are thinking," Prater said. "But I'm just going to try and do my job and keep my mouth shut for the most part."

Prater acknowledged the new extra point rule could change strategy significantly, particularly in the fourth quarters of games and during late-season games in cold weather places. Considering the Detroit Lions play indoors at Ford Field, it won't be an issue for home games, but it could in Chicago and Green Bay as well as potentially during the playoffs if a team has to play in New York, New England, Philadelphia or another cold weather climate.

Fortunately for the Lions, they only have two games this season where cold weather could come into play -- November 15 at Green Bay and in the season finale on Jan. 3, 2016 against Chicago at Soldier Field.

"It doesn't change anything for me mentally but it's definitely going to affect the way teams, especially late in the year in Green Bay, Chicago, teams like that, Buffalo, where it's cold, windy," Prater said. "Those aren't always guaranteed with the weather conditions and everything.

"I think it'll change the way a lot of the two-point plays are going to be called. It'll change the game for sure. We'll see if they are happy with it after the season and go from there, I guess."