During their report on Cleveland Browns training camp from Saturday, Pro Football Focus pointed out that special teams coordinator Chris Tabor had his team practicing high kickoffs as opposed to booming them into the end zone:
The Browns’ kickers certainly seemed to be practicing hanging the ball up at or just beyond the goal line to tempt return men into bringing the it out and being stopped short of the new 25-yard touchback mark. Teams will likely differ on how they approach this rule change, but the Browns certainly seem to be looking to take that approach.
Back in May, Tabor said that early in the season, teams would just kick the ball out of the end zone for a touchback because the nice weather allowed for it. However, he acknowledged that with the new rule change, strategies would change even if the weather was good:
"Now I think it’s going to be obviously the whole year where even on a beautiful nice day, where you see possibly a shorter kick because you feel maybe you have an advantage in your kickoff coverage versus maybe the guys they have blocking on the front line and we can secure a tackle inside the 25. There’s going to be all sorts of factors, and that’s what makes it fun.”
That could play a role in the kicker competition between Travis Coons and Patrick Murray, seeing who can get better hang time on those types of kicks while still having the right depth.