CHARLOTTE – Before getting into the ins and outs of the NFL’s new kickoff rules, one thing should be made clear: Special teams coordinator Chase Blackburn believes the kickoff belongs in the game.
“Obviously, you want to keep it,” Blackburn said after a recent OTA practice. “You take that away and you take away a very electric part of this game.”
The NFL recently announced changes to the kickoff for the 2018 season, and many have speculated that it could be the first step toward eventually eliminating the play entirely due to safety concerns.
“It’s such an integral part of the game,” said Blackburn, who is entering his first season as coordinator after two years as an assistant. “It can impact the outcome; it can create an instantaneous momentum shift. Guys are making careers from it or using it as a starting point. It creates opportunities for guys and also makes it exciting for the fans.”
Blackburn is a perfect example of one of those guys who made a career out of special teams. He beat the odds as an undrafted linebacker with the Giants in 2005 by proving to be an impact player on coverage units. Over the years, he contributed more and more on defense and finished his career with 45 starts.
It all started with special teams, and Blackburn doesn’t want to see those opportunities eliminated for guys trying to prove they belong. But he also understands the importance of…