Could rule change make Lloyd obsolete?

Posted on March 16, 2011 

The conventional wisdom has been that as long as John Kasay is the Carolina Panthers kicker, they're going to have to keep another one on the roster to kick off.

Or will they?

One proposed change among several outlined by NFL vice president of football operations Ray Anderson and competition committee chairman Rich McKay is to adjust kickoffs to reduce the threat of injuries.

The proposal McKay outlined on a conference call today included moving the kickoff from the 30-yard line to the 35, and giving the receiving team the ball at their 25 instead of their 20 on a touchback.

That 10-yard swing could make the Panthers think long and hard about keeping an extra kicker to handle kickoff duties.

Lloyd has been very good at what he does for the Panthers, but it's apparent that Kasay's going to kick field goals here for a few more years. He's still as accurate as ever, he just reached the age (41) where he hits 2-irons off the tee instead of drivers.

Punter Jason Baker's been uneven kicking off as well (while Kasay's Super Bowl kickoff stands as one of the franchise's biggest wince-inducers).

But if you take 10 yards of average drive start out of the equation, the idea of a kickoff specialist could become hard to justify -- especially if like last year the offense is such that Lloyd often kicked off two or three times a game, tops.

 

-- Darin Gantt

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