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Raiders use a holder on kickoffs to improve hang time, after an NFL rule clarification

With Josh Jacobs, Davante Adams and Derek Carr beginning to shine as a unit, Mike Florio and Chris Simms assess if the Raiders could stay hot and make a playoff push.

The Raiders are using a holder on kickoffs tonight against the Rams, leading to several fans asking on social media: Why use a holder when the ball is being placed in a tee, and the game is indoors so wind isn’t a factor?

The answer is that the Raiders’ holder isn’t placing the ball in the tee but on the tee, which improves hang time on kickoffs.

Raiders coach Josh McDaniels explained on Monday that the Raiders got the bright idea to have the ball placed on the top of the tee, rather than inside the tee, which puts the ball slightly higher off the ground and gives kicker Daniel Carlson the opportunity to get under the ball better and get more hang time on his kickoffs. McDaniels said the Raiders first got clarification from the NFL that a holder is allowed to hold the ball on the top of the tee, and the league confirmed that it’s legal.

“They clarified a rule a couple weeks ago, that you’re permitted to hold the ball on the top of the tee now, so we’ve got a good kicker, you can add hang time to the kick, and I think you saw Daniel use that to our advantage,” McDaniels said. “As long as you don’t kick it into the end zone, extra hang time, put it at the goal line, we’re further down there, it gives the coverage team a better opportunity to make tackles inside the 25-yard line.”

McDaniels said nothing in the rules requires the ball to be placed in the tee, and the Raiders made sure what they were doing was permitted.

“That’s the rules. They clarified it a couple weeks ago. If it helps us gain some type of advantage, we’ll try to do that,” McDaniels said.

It’s a smart innovation from the Raiders, and one we’re likely to see more of around the NFL if the Raiders continue to have success with it.