Nate Kaeding could benefit from new rule

March, 16, 2011
3/16/11
6:25
PM ET
The San Diego Chargers certainly won’t be upset by the news that the NFL competition committee will ask teams to vote at next week’s owners meeting on a proposal to move the point of the kickoff from the 30-yard line to the 35-yard line. Thus, kickers will have a five-yard advantage than in the past if this vote goes through. The proposal also includes switching the point of a touchback from the receiving team’s 20-yard line to the 25-yard line.

This vote is inspired to cut down on injuries during kickoffs. Only the kicker would be allowed to line up more than five yards behind the ball. The competition committee also wants to outlaw the wedge on kickoffs.

This vote will help some of the NFL’s least successful kickers on kickoffs.

San Diego kicker Nate Kaeding had touchbacks on just four of 72 kickoffs last season. He had one of the lowest percentages in the NFL. Kaeding was bothered by a leg injury for some time of the season. In 2009, he had touchbacks on 9.3 percent of his kickoffs. So, this new rule should help him if it passed.

Kansas City’s Ryan Succop could also benefit. He had touchbacks on 10.3 percent of his kickoffs. It should affect Denver’s Matt Prater and Oakland’s Sebastian Janikowski. Prater had touchbacks on 35.1 percent of his kickoffs, which was the third highest percentage in the NFL. Janikowski had touchbacks on 31.2 percent of his kickoffs, which was the fourth highest percentage in the league.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN San Francisco 49ers reporter

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