With the NFL’s new kickoff rules, Ravens’ Justin Tucker is adding more muscle this offseason

Justin Tucker Ravens pic
Justin Tucker Ravens pic

For the last 12 seasons, Justin Tucker has been the kicker for the Baltimore Ravens. The 34-year-old has seven Pro Bowls and five first-team All-Pro selections. When his career is done, Tucker will undoubtedly be known as one of the top kickers in league history. This offseason, the NFL has made a drastic change to part of Tucker’s job. 

Tucker will still be lineup kicking from the opposing 35-yard line but the other 10 players will be in a new location. They will not be lined up at the receiving team’s 40-yard line. Five yards away from the return team. With these changes, the kicker is the last line of defense and could be asked to make a few extra tackles. That’s why Justin Tucker has been in the weight room more this offseason to add muscle.

Justin Tucker is preparing his body to be ready to make more tackles in 2024

In the past, kickers have not been asked to make many tackles. It’s a rare occurrence when it happens. Justin Tucker’s last tackle was in December 2022. He has eight career tackles in 195 games. Tackling is not something you think about when it comes to kickers. However, the league’s new rules could require kickers to make a tackle here and there. Hence the reason Tucker has been in the weight room this offseason and has already added 3.8 pounds.

Justin Tucker told reporters that he hasn’t practiced tackling drills since high school. However, he mentioned that kickers might be involved in some tackling drills this summer. This new kickoff rule was used by the XFL. The Ravens’ coaching staff has watched every XFL kickoff to determine how they are going to gameplan. Tucker has been watching film this offseason too. Not something kickers often do. It’s an all-hands-on-deck approach with the new kickoff rules.

Sam Schwartzstein works for Prime Video analytics and he was the driving force behind the new kickoff change. He claims that kickers being asked to tackle more may be an overreaction. Schwartzstein doesn’t anticipate kickers to be asked to tackle as much as some are predicting. That’s probably good news for Justin Tucker and the rest of the kickers in the league. The last thing any team wants is to lose their starting kicker because he got injured trying to make a tackle. We’ll see how this new kickoff change first plays out in the Hall of Fame Game on Thursday, August 1.

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