<
>

Chiefs staying busy with changes to PAT rules

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas City Chiefs have frequently worked on placekicking during their offseason practices and inevitably they do so with the line of scrimmage at the 15, the ball placed at the 23 and the kick being from 33 yards.

That’s the distance of the point-after touchdown under the new NFL rule. The Chiefs are hoping kicker Cairo Santos is more than comfortable from that distance by the time the regular season begins.

“We’ve really got to practice it,’’ special teams coordinator Dave Toub said. “You have to make that 33-yard extra point mentally seem just like [a 20-yard kick]. We’ve been doing it a lot. On Monday, it was a non-OTA day. We had 32 kicks out there and almost half of them were PATs.’’

The Chiefs, like all NFL teams, have an adjustment to make to the new rule. They’ll have the choice after touchdowns of kicking for one point with the line of scrimmage at the 15 or going for two points with a pass or run with the ball spotted at the 2.

For the Chiefs, at least, it means extra time spent in practice on what had been a routine play.

“There have been a lot of changes where special teams have been deemphasized,’’ Toub said. “This is one where special teams is emphasized more.’’

The defense can now score two points by blocking a kick, intercepting a pass or recovering a fumble and returning it to the end zone. Look for the Chiefs to try to get creative when it comes to blocking kicks.

“The field goal block team is going to try to come after kicks, the extra points, a lot harder,’’ Toub said. “Nobody is going to try to run a fake for two points from the 15-yard line. It’s too hard to get. There will be some, but not a lot. The chances of a fake are slim, so guys are going to try to go after it a little bit more.’’