Raiders News: Daniel Carlson Responds To New Kickoff Fair Catch Rule

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One area the Las Vegas Raiders have been strong in the last couple of years is with their kicking game. Daniel Carlson has been an All-Pro the last two seasons while punter A.J. Cole has made the Pro Bowl two consecutive years as well.

But it isn’t just field goals where Carlson shines as he was also one of the best in the NFL at kickoffs last season. Carlson was excellent at pinning kickoffs inside the five-yard line and forcing a return, and his teammates were excellent at getting to the returner, ranking third in the NFL in opponents yards per kick return.

But the league will introduce a new kickoff rule in which the ball will be placed at the 25-yard line on any fair catch called behind that line. It is a huge change, and Carlson admitted that he doesn’t want to be limited by rules, via Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

“You want to be able to perform at the highest level and not be limited by rules,” Carlson said. “And so, we’re trying to figure out how to do that now and roll with the punches.”

It is definitely a huge change for Carlson and greatly affects an area of the game in which he was elite. As he would add, being able to pin the opposition after a score is a great momentum builder:

“Not only for field position, but also for kind of the momentum after a score to go pin someone down inside the 20,” Carlson said. “I think that’s a huge play for a team to set their defense up and to get guys fired up.”

Of course, a major reason for this change is to make the game safer. The kickoff has long been one of the most dangerous plays in the NFL, especially when it comes to concussions, and the league believes this rule will reduce the number of concussions suffered during these plays.

Player safety should always be one of the biggest factors in any rule changes, and no one will argue that point. Carlson knows he will simply have to adjust now:

“We’ll just have to adjust along with all the other teams in the league and try and figure out ways to take advantage of the new rules, just like offense and defense do when rule changes happen with them.”

One way or another the Raiders kicker will figure out the best way to thrive regardless of the rules.

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