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Cardinals preparing for possibility that teams will concede the 30-yard line on kickoffs

Under the NFL’s new kickoff rule, returners will have a better chance to make big plays, and touchbacks will go to the 30-yard line. Which means some teams will simply decide to boot the ball through the end zone, rather than risk giving up a long return.

As the Cardinals worked on the new kickoff rules this offseason, General Manager Monti Ossenfort said they’re preparing for the possibility that touchbacks will become the norm and offenses will start from the 30 instead of the 25, where touchbacks after kickoffs previously placed the ball.

“I think it’s going to be interesting to see,” Ossenfort said. “I think different teams are going to approach it different ways. I think some are going to say, ‘Let’s go down there and try to cover it.’ And I think some are going to say, ‘Forget it, we’re going to give you the extra five.’ Which teams those are, I don’t know. Stay tuned. We’ll see. I’m as anxious to see that as you guys are.”

The NFL changed the kickoff rule in an attempt to encourage returns, but if returns become too successful, that won’t happen. NFL kickers have good enough legs that they can usually kick the ball out of the end zone if they want to, and that might happen often this season.