Holding Out Hope for Kickoff Returns

AP Photo

Stop wringing your hands. Put away your shovels. It's not quite time to bury the kickoff return, at least not in these parts.

NFC North teams returned two kickoffs 100-plus yards for touchdowns in Week 1, making it difficult -- at least for the moment -- to gauge the true impact of a new rule that moved kickoffs up to the 35-yard line. We have all assumed that returns would be diminished, but in one week the NFC North matched its combined 2010 total.

So what do we make of Green Bay Packers rookie Randall Cobb and the Minnesota Vikings returner Percy Harvinboth taking it to the house in Week 1? How do we reconcile the fact that 54.5 percent of kickoffs in our games (24 of 44) went for touchbacks while also accepting that the 20 returns included efforts...

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