By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Monday, March 21st, 2011 at 10:57 am in Oakland Raiders.
The Chicago Bears aren’t the only team which isn’t happy about the proposal to move kickoffs to the 35-yard line and touchbacks to the 25.
The Raiders have remained underground for much of the off-season, other than coach Hue Jackson speaking at the scouting combine and again later after being honored at the University of the Pacific.
When and if Jackson comes up for air, go ahead and assume he won’t be on board with any proposal which will limit game-breaking skill of Jacoby Ford, who set a club record by returning three kickoffs for touchdowns a year ago.
Then again, the Raiders were 1-2 in games during which Ford had kickoff returns for touchdowns _ a 101-yard score against Miami and a 99-yard return against Indianapolis _ both came in losses after the rookie had given Oakland a 7-0 lead.
The flip side of, of course is kicker Sebastian Janikowski would likely end up with a career high in touchbacks. As it was, Janikowski had a career-high 29 touchbacks in 2010 and opponents averaged 23.1 yards per return with one touchdown.
From an excitement perspective, it’s clear watching Ford return kickoffs is more compelling theater than seeing Janikowski kick it out of the end zone.
The NFL competition committee is meeting today to discuss the possible rule change, aimed at reducing the amount of violent collisions that occur during kickoffs.