Cleveland Browns kick returner/wide receiver Josh Cribbs is never one to shy away from voicing his opinion, especially on his Twitter account. So naturally, you would expect him to voice his opinion on the rule change to kickoffs, which he has done in the past.
The rule change that Cribbs has opposed has been the NFL’s decision to move kickoffs to the 35-yard line, five yards ahead of the previous mark. There has been plenty of conjecture regarding this rule change, but last night was the first time those rules were seen in action.
Needless to say, Cribbs wasn’t happy with what he saw. He was frustrated at the sight of so many touchbacks (though there were 35 returns on 51 kickoffs last night around the league), which is understandable. If the NFL’s aim is to reduce kickoffs in general, it severely limits Cribbs’ value to the Browns.
The league’s attempt to curb injuries is understandable and, in some regards, admirable, as they are potentially erasing some of the most exciting plays in the game. But for a player like Cribbs, who has made his living in the NFL on being a kick returner, it’s understandable how concerning this move may be. It’s hard enough to score on a kick return, and this rule change only makes it more difficult.
Cribbs should just be happy the NFL didn’t take the rule changes this far, according to this tweet by ESPN’s Chris Mortensen:
No question there will be many more touchbacks. As NFL noted, there was talk of eliminating kickoff but knew it was too extreme.