Why the Chiefs could turn to Justin Reid on kickoffs instead of Harrison Butker

Dave Toub spoke in-depth about the kickoff rule changes and how he's planning to combat them.
Kansas City Chiefs v Arizona Cardinals
Kansas City Chiefs v Arizona Cardinals / Norm Hall/GettyImages

Dave Toub spoke in-depth about the kickoff rule changes and how he's planning to combat them.

Fans who tune into the NFL this year without learning about some rule changes ahead of time are going to find themselves confused and then excited by the adaptations accepted by the league when it comes to kickoffs. That's because the league is doing everything it can to encourage more thrilling results on special teams in 2024.

After watching how some kickoff rule changes have played out in alternate leagues like the XFL, the NFL adopted rule changes that are affecting how every franchise is approaching the role of a specialist—and that includes the Kansas City Chiefs.

For some insights into what the league has done to kickoffs, assistant head coach Dave Toub recently spoke with Chiefs reporters to talk about how Harrison Butker's role might be changing from the straightforward specialist's role to which we've become accustomed.

"I like to have somebody that can go and make a tackle. Butker is able to make a tackle, but I really don’t want him making tackles all year long. If you watch the XFL, we watched every play and I’d bet kickers were involved in at least 25 to 40 percent of the tackles—either trying to make a guy bounce back or making the tackle himself or just missing a tackle."

Specifically Toub explained to reporters that teams are much more likely to actually return kickoffs in 2024 given that the NFL has decided to be more generous to teams who are given nothing to return in the first place. A touchback now results in the offense starting at the 30-yard line.

"We don’t want Butker in that situation but he will be a kicker," said Toub on Thursday. "He’ll be a guy we use in certain situations. He’s got a lot of ability to move the ball whereas other guys may not be apt to do that. 

"He can still kick a touchback if we need it. You’re just giving up the ball… if we do kick a touchback, now they’re getting it at the 30 instead of the 25. That five yards makes a big difference. That’s another three percent chance that you’re giving the offense against you to score."

Instead of Butker, the Chiefs have a secret weapon in the surprising versatility of starting safety Justin Reid. Reid has demonstrated a clear ability to serve as an interim kicker for the Chiefs in the past and his ability could be a real advantage for the Chiefs given the changes.

"Justin can cover. I mean, he can kick, which he can do, and then he can go down there and make tackles. He’s an extra guy that they’re probably not accounting for. I mean, they know that that guy can go down there and tackle but a guy like Justin is a guy they have to worry about. They have to get him blocked and they have to give up blocking somebody else. That’s the whole thought of that."