What impact will new extra-point rule have on Cleveland Browns?


Sep 7, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cleveland Browns kicker Billy Cundiff (8) kicks an extra point from the hold of punter Spencer Lanning (5) against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 30-27. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL changed the rules on extra points on Tuesday, but how it will impact the Cleveland Browns remains to be seen.

Starting this fall, extra points will be kicked from the 15-yard line, while two-point conversion attempts will still snap from the two-yard line. The new rule, which owners approved by a 30-2 vote at the NFL’s Spring League Meeting, also gives the defense the ability to score two points on returns.

If the offense is flagged for a penalty on either an extra-point attempt or a two-point conversion attempt, then they have the option of changing their mind, which will certainly help slow down a part of the game that is already dragged out by commercials.

“Kicking a 33-yarder sometimes in the Dawg Pound is different than kicking a 33-yarder in a domed stadium or maybe down in Tampa.” – Chris Tabor, Special Teams Coach

Spotting the ball at the 15-yard line means that extra points will now by the equivalent of a 32-yard field goal, which should be no problem for players like former Cleveland kicker Phil Dawson, who has not missed at that distance since 2001, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

What the rule change means to the Browns, however, remains to be seen, primarily because the team doesn’t know who will be kicking the ball come the fall.

After releasing Garrett Hartley last week, the only kickers currently on the roster are Carey Spear and Travis Coons, neither of whom have ever kicked in the swirling winds that come off Lake Erie in November and December.

One person who is not a fan of the rule change is Cleveland special teams coach Chris Tabor.

“Kicking a 33-yarder sometimes in the Dawg Pound is different than kicking a 33-yarder in a domed stadium or maybe down in Tampa,” Tabor said according to The Plain Dealer. “It is what it is. I guess you have to say you know when kickers come to our place we’re used to it. We have to look at it that way. That’s how we’ll approach it. We’ll have to play by the rules. Hopefully we make more than we miss on them.”

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Tabor’s right; outdoor teams will be at a disadvantage later in the season when it comes to kicking the ball. But they are also at a disadvantage passing and running the ball in inclement weather as compared to teams that play in a dome, so why not make it complete?

Plus, the weather will be just as bad for the opposing team as it will be for the Browns, so with the right kind of kicker (think Dawson), the Browns could potentially turn this into an advantage.

As for the criticism of the NFL changing the rules of the game, haven’t they always done that? The goal posts used to be on the goal line, defensive linemen used to be able to head slap offensive linemen, kickoffs used to be at the 40-yard line, the list goes on and on. The game is always evolving and this is just another step in that evolution.

And if the weather gets bad enough, maybe the Browns can regift the “Johnny Package” that was all the rage early in 2014 and utilize Johnny Manziel as a two-point specialist, which may be his best (and only) chance to get on the field come the 2015 NFL season.

What do you think of the NFL’s new rule on extra points?

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