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News & Notes: Justin Tucker Gives Insight to New Kickoff Rules

K Justin Tucker
K Justin Tucker

For years, the kickoff in the NFL has been an afterthought. But with the new rules coming this season, it's generating a lot of buzz.

Justin Tucker was asked almost exclusively about the new format after Organized Team Activities on Thursday.

"[My] initial reaction was [that] you have to be positive about it and think about it in terms of, this is going to keep the play in the game," he said. "This is not just going to keep the play in the game, it's going to make it much more exciting. I think there's going to be a lot more action as far as kicks that will be returned.

"In all likelihood, we're going to see a lot more returns, and it will give a lot more guys opportunity to take that play and make it a big play. I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be really exciting."

Tucker said that when watching film of XFL kickoffs, which these new rules are modeled after, the kickers were involved in about 25% of the tackles. After joking about doing more shoulder shrugs because of that, Tucker was asked in all seriousness if he's thinking about adding any weight due to the new rules.

"I have put on like 3.8 pounds," he said. "Can you guys tell? Probably not. I'll leave it at that."

With the condensed nature of the new kickoff and the increased changes of the kicker getting involved in the tackles, Head Coach John Harbaugh was asked about the possibility of not using Tucker as the kickoff kicker.

"I would say that we've thought about everything," Harbaugh said. "It's just a matter of, 'Do you have a guy that can kick it in there consistently?' If you do, it probably is an advantage because you get an extra tackler in there, and you don't put your kicker at risk," he said. "So, I'd say we're looking at every aspect we can think of."

John Harbaugh Provides Injury Update

With mandatory minicamp starting on Tuesday, Harbaugh provided an injury update on Adisa Isaac (hamstring), Beau Brade (ankle), and David Ojabo (knee).

"We might see Adisa back, for instance. I'm hopeful," Harbaugh said. "We might see Beau back, hopefully next week – off the top of my head – guys like that. We saw David Ojabo started getting into individuals today. That was really good to see. So, it's kind of working through it."

Harbaugh also said he expects cornerback Marlon Humphrey to practice next week.

"Whether it's full go or not, or whether we choose to put him out there full go, I don't know yet," Harbaugh said.

Roger Rosengarten Talks Weight Gain and Toughest to Face

Rookie tackle Roger Rosengarten was one of the most athletic offensive linemen in the 2024 NFL Draft. His 4.92 40-yard dash was the fastest amongst the O-linemen at the Combine, but he is a bit light for his position, listed at 310 pounds.

Since arriving in Baltimore, putting on some muscle has been a focus for Rosengarten, who has a chance to be a starter.

"I've put on a few pounds, and it's not fat, so I'm thankful for that," he said. "So, yes, that's my main thing: gain weight – if so, they like me where I'm at – and get stronger."

Rosengarten also gave names of the toughest players to go against so far.

"I think, obviously, 'Dafe' [Odafe Oweh]. He's a really good player," Rosengarten said. "Malik Hamm [is a] really good player as well. Then, 'Big Trav' [Travis Jones] in the middle and 'Broddy' [Broderick Washington], those guys are holding it down, for sure. So, those are just to list a few. As advertised, those guys are high-caliber players."

Andrew Vorhees Has Unique Opportunity Coming Off Injury

Guard Andrew Vorhees lost his first NFL season to a torn ACL at the Combine, but as he enters Year 2, he has a big opportunity in front of him.

With both starting guards from last year's team gone, there are spots open on the offensive line in 2024. Vorhees, a seventh-round pick last year, will compete for a starting spot after not playing a game in well over a year.

"I just think to go out to practice every day and just try to be the best football player that I can become," Vorhees said on his focus this offseason. "We'll let everything else take care of itself. I know these gentlemen upstairs have quite the job to decide who's going to play at the end of the day. But as an individual, it's up to us to become the best football players we can become and just make their jobs easier."

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