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Mailbag: Will kickoff rules alter roster makeup?


While I'm sure KaVontae Turpin and John Fassel are excited about the new kickoff return rules, and I believe it should make the game more exciting, will it change how the 53-man roster is kept from game to game, knowing some players who were frequently needed on special teams last year may not be as needed this year? – Michael Moore/Meridian, ID

Nick Eatman: I don't think you'll see a dramatic change in the roster makeup. It might take some time to see just how these formations are going to go. Some teams might want bigger players on the kickoff for the blocking while others could use speedy, faster players. At the end of the day, special teams is generally made up of backup players at all the positions. You still need to fill out your depth chart with backups at most of your positions. And because of that, that's when you will fill out the special teams. Sure, there might be changes in the alignment, but I don't think you'll see major changes in how the roster is constructed.

Patrik: Fantastic question, as I've sat here the past couple of weeks and pondered the ripple effects of the rule changes, leading me to ask CJ Goodwin his take on it as well. By all accounts, players are thrilled about it, despite the added challenge for gunners who can't move while the ball is in the air. I don't believe any of it will impact how Fassel and McCarthy play the numbers game, though. In the end, it's still a kickoff and you'll still need gunners and guys who can tackle in open space (kicking) and those who can block and clear lanes (receiving). So guys like Goodwin and Sam Williams will still be vital, as will whomever steps up following the departure of Dorance Armstrong. I just don't see the new rules suddenly devaluing who you put on the field for special teams. If anything, now that there will be many more returns, it makes them more important than ever — especially the quick-twitch guys who can go from 0-100 real quick.

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