When the NFL tweaked it’s kick-off rules this year they put the receiving team at a big disadvantage. Unintensionally of course.
The NFL offered teams a starting spot on the 25 yard line instead of the 20 should teams take a touchback on kick-offs but that has not been the case for many teams thus far.
The Patriots are and the Dolphins need to be ready.
New England used the short kick against the Cardinals in week one and consistenly pinned the Cardinals inside their own 20 yard line. They will do the same against Miami forcing the Dolphins to return the kicks.
Typically one would think, “So what”, but the shorter kicks and the higher kicks are allowing the kick defenders to get to the ball faster and with the quickness of those players teams are coming up short of the 20 yard line.
This was clearly evident during Thursday nights game between the Bills and Jets. Both teams used the short kick to pin teams back.
So far the NFL is not getting what it wanted by adjusting the kick-off rules. Teams are taking advantage of the rules and keeping opposing teams from getting the ball at the 25 yard line. The rule obviously did not have the intended affect that the NFL wanted.
For the Dolphins, kicking the ball short will also keep the Patriots pinned back and thus allow the Dolphins defense to put more pressure on the Patriot offense.
Whether the Dolphins will use the short kick consistenly will be known on Sunday but it is something that should be used every kick-off if they can defend it. The question is can Andrew Franks consistently put the ball inside the 5 which is where it needs to be to work.