New Kicker Lloyd Could Stick

The Giants signed former Ravens kicker Rhys Lloyd, a kickoff specialist, Tuesday night. He'll work Monday night against the Bears, and could stick around after that because of his strength in putting the ball into the end zone.

When the Giants signed kicker Rhys Lloyd Tuesday, they did it ostensibly as an insurance policy against the bruised thigh of incumbent Lawrence Tynes.

Tom Coughlin said Lloyd would handle kickoffs Monday night against the Bears.

But Lloyd could stick around for a while, even as Tynes returns to health. As we all know, Tynes is not exactly the prototype kickoff guy. But Lloyd is. He's got one of the strongest legs in the game, and he's capable of putting the ball into the end zone at any time.

He's proved that over 220 career kickoffs, 64 of which have gone for touchbacks for a rate of 29.1 percent. That's higher than anyone else. And, remember, those came under the old rule where the tee was placed at the 30-yard line.

With the new rules setting it at the 35, those touchback numbers should go up.

The question is, should the Giants really want them to? Unless Lloyd can boom it out of the end zone where nobody can field it, even a leg like his can create certain drawbacks. Especially if the Giants don't get their coverage teams in order.

As viewers saw in the Jets-Texans game, some coaches are already experimenting with their returners to take advantage of the other facet of the rule, which prohibits coverage teams from taking more than a five-yard running start. Rex Ryan ordered his returners to line up eight yards deep in the end zone and bring it out, providing they don't have to move backward to field it.

All three returners brought them out beyond the 20, with rookie Jeremy Kerley having the most success on two returns for a 34-yard average.

If some of the league's more dangerous kickoff units take that approach, the Giants may be better off with the mortar kick, which Tynes does, anyway.

Of course, if Lloyd knocks it out of the end zone every time, he'll be an invaluable addition. And they'll still need Tynes for field goals, since Lloyd has never kicked a field goal or extra point.

In the long run, he's probably worth having, especially since the gameday roster expansion to 46 will allow such luxuries as two placekickers.


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