12s, you may be worried that the Seahawks are facing their worst season in some years in 2018. But the NFL may have just handed you a gift. It’s the little things that win games and Seattle might just steal a few with their return game.
The NFL announced a rule change to the way teams can do kickoffs for 2018. The Seahawks should be happy about the change. With Tyler Lockett already a Pro Bowl player as a returner, Seattle is happy. But now that they have added Rashaad Penny, the world is a good place.
The reason is because of the league’s rule change. And the NFL gives the change a pretty good breakdown here
While on the surface it would appear a receiving team not being able to block until the ball is touched or the ground would be bad, in realty it should enable skilled returners room to run and improvise. This is especially true as the kickoff team cannot get a running start anymore.
It also helps the Seahawks that not only have Lockett but Penny. At San Diego State, Penny returned seven kickoffs for touchdowns. Plus, in his sophomore through senior seasons, he averaged more than 30.6 yards a return.
The rule change means three players will probably be deep on kickoffs. Most likely, Seattle will choose to have one upback and two set to return, Penny and Lockett. This would give Seattle flexibility in setting the return and with which player.
Seattle may have lost quite a bit when Richard Sherman and Michael Bennett left Seattle this offseason. But the NFL just gave something back to the Seahawks. Of course, we all know that the NFL really wants to do away with kickoffs altogether. For “safety” reasons. So 2019 might bring about even more kickoff changes.
Returns may not make a huge difference in every game. But two or three? That might be good enough for Seattle to steal enough wins to make a playoff push.