Strategy: Kicking Into A Strong Wind 3rd And More Than Short

Discussion of technique and strategy.

Strategy: Kicking Into A Strong Wind 3rd And More Than Short

by Paolo X » Sun Apr 25, 2010 9:09 pm

I am a new fan to the game as most of you know, and I have a question on what happens typically on 3rd down in the following common situation. I heard a coach talk about this situation on a CFL video made for new American fans in 1993 in explaining the rules for sake of recovery of kicks by onside players in the CFL.

Situation:
3rd And A Long 1 or more
Early in game or still close game in 3rd quarter
Ball at opponent's 50 or farther back to be too far for a field goal
Wind 17km/hr or greater with gusts up 50km/her, with or without snow, ice, or rain

Do most teams just resort to punting for less yardage into the strong wind on such downs and leave it at that for the defence trying to hold the other team off for low points until the next quarter when they have the wind at their backs? Or do they ever try various plays to recover kicks by onside players given that they have little to lose in doing so anyway?

Of course the worst case would be going for it on 3rd down and coming up short to turn over the ball anyway, so I am trying to understand given the above two seemingly superior options, what do most teams do in such a common situation given often your harsh weather up there?
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Re: Strategy: Kicking Into A Strong Wind 3rd And More Than Short

by Massdestruction » Tue Apr 27, 2010 4:17 pm

Do they do squib kicks in american football?
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Re: Strategy: Kicking Into A Strong Wind 3rd And More Than Short

by Paolo X » Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:32 am

Massdestruction wrote:Do they do squib kicks in american football?


On kickoffs yes, but on punts hardly ever intentionally.

Same question and situation as below back to you or others with regard to whatever happens in Canadian ball?

Actually I wish there were a way for onside players to recover kicks, so long as they go go beyond ten yards, in American football not just on kickoffs but on any kick, along with other small rule changes, to compel more kick returns instead of as many touchbacks and fair catches, but that's another discussion.
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Re: Strategy: Kicking Into A Strong Wind 3rd And More Than Short

by Massdestruction » Sat May 01, 2010 9:58 am

Many variables come into play PX. How teams match up. How accomplished the kicker is. Coaching philosophy, IMHO most times there would be a punt, likely out of bounds. That puts the pressure on the kicker not the coach.How ever if the Coach has faith in his O line and offense then gambling on 3rd down in that situation could happen.If successful there would be advantage in time consumption while going against the wind.
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Re: Strategy: Kicking Into A Strong Wind 3rd And More Than Short

by CatsFaninOttawa » Fri Sep 03, 2010 1:23 pm

While it's definitely allowed in the rules, and is a very exciting play, I don't know if I've seen a deliberate onside punt since the '70s; however, occasionally you will see a punt hang up in the wind (or shanked) and the punter will sprint downfield to try to recover it. I'm not sure every punter in the league would try this - some tend to shy away from the physical, but others (Prefontaine comes to mind) love to hit people.

As far as strategy, given your scenario (more than a yard to go, close game, barely inside opponent's territory, into strong wind), I think most teams would punt it. It's up to the punter to keep it low and try to drive it out of bounds inside the twenty. The risks here are a) it's blocked because of the low trajectory, b) it goes out of bounds in the air before the twenty, resulting in a "punt out of bounds" penalty, or c), the returner gets to it well before the cover team and picks up a big gain.
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Re: Strategy: Kicking Into A Strong Wind 3rd And More Than Short

by PhotoJim » Fri Sep 24, 2010 1:33 pm

In the CFL, if a team thought it wanted to try to keep the ball in this situation it would either simply gamble on 3rd down, or fake the kick. Kickers can and do recover their own punts and occasionally the kicking team will put another player back of the kicker to increase the odds of recovery but I doubt that the play is often made with the plan to recover the ball, merely to try. It is assumed that the receiving team will get the ball.

The issue with an "onside" kick in punting is that you still need to get a first down. You already have the ball, after all. On a kickoff you don't really have the ball per se unless you kick it the ten yards and recover it.
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Re: Strategy: Kicking Into A Strong Wind 3rd And More Than Short

by Massdestruction » Fri Sep 24, 2010 5:19 pm

PhotoJim wrote:In the CFL, if a team thought it wanted to try to keep the ball in this situation it would either simply gamble on 3rd down, or fake the kick. Kickers can and do recover their own punts and occasionally the kicking team will put another player back of the kicker to increase the odds of recovery but I doubt that the play is often made with the plan to recover the ball, merely to try. It is assumed that the receiving team will get the ball.

The issue with an "onside" kick in punting is that you still need to get a first down. You already have the ball, after all. On a kickoff you don't really have the ball per se unless you kick it the ten yards and recover it.


re onside kick, if the wind is strong it is possible the ball could reverse direction making the recovery down field an effective strategy, low percentage yes but if it works :thup:
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Re: Strategy: Kicking Into A Strong Wind 3rd And More Than Short

by Paolo X » Sat Sep 25, 2010 8:58 pm

PhotoJim wrote:The issue with an "onside" kick in punting is that you still need to get a first down. You already have the ball, after all. On a kickoff you don't really have the ball per se unless you kick it the ten yards and recover it.


Everything sounded right until I read this part, as I remember something in the rule book that proves this false.

See Rule 5 Kicking Section 4 Article 8 on p.42 and Rule 4 Scrimmage Section 6 Article 3 p.35.

So long as a kick crosses the line of scrimmage AND is recovered by an onside player, the continuity of downs is disrupted irrespective of the point of recovery. It is first down to the offence should an onside player recover any such kick.

And understanding this is why I asked the question in the first place for sake of thinking outside the box for this strategy, as unlike on a kickoff the punt or other kick need not go 10 yards before it is touched by an onside player of the kicking team.
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Re: Strategy: Kicking Into A Strong Wind 3rd And More Than Short

by Massdestruction » Sun Sep 26, 2010 6:45 pm

Relating to the initial post,and following posts, lets not confuse American football philosophy with traditional Canadian football . as in on onside kicks, Somewhat forgotten in Canadian football is the use of onside players on a downfield punt.
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Re: Strategy: Kicking Into A Strong Wind 3rd And More Than Short

by Paolo X » Sun Sep 26, 2010 11:27 pm

Massdestruction wrote:Relating to the initial post,and following posts, lets not confuse American football philosophy with traditional Canadian football . as in on onside kicks, Somewhat forgotten in Canadian football is the use of onside players on a downfield punt.


There's nothing about American football in the initial post, and the core question does not even relate to American football in a following post, which answered an unrelated question you asked about American football, so I am not sure why you introduce what goes on in American football yet again? :?

Back to the original question and thanks to all for the input so far on such kicks from scrimmage or otherwise ...
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Re: Strategy: Kicking Into A Strong Wind 3rd And More Than Short

by CatsFaninOttawa » Mon Sep 27, 2010 11:14 am

Paolo X wrote:...unlike on a kickoff the punt or other kick need not go 10 yards before it is touched by an onside player of the kicking team.

If you think about where a punter stands before the snap, even after the step (or two) of his motion, he's still more than ten yards back from the line of scrimmage. So while it is true that a punt less than ten yards can be recovered by an onside player, since it hasn't crossed the line of scrimmage, it doesn't reset the downs. In this case, you might as well just fake the punt and throw a pass.
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Re: Strategy: Kicking Into A Strong Wind 3rd And More Than Short

by Paolo X » Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:34 pm

CatsFaninOttawa wrote:
Paolo X wrote:...unlike on a kickoff the punt or other kick need not go 10 yards before it is touched by an onside player of the kicking team.

If you think about where a punter stands before the snap, even after the step (or two) of his motion, he's still more than ten yards back from the line of scrimmage. So while it is true that a punt less than ten yards can be recovered by an onside player, since it hasn't crossed the line of scrimmage, it doesn't reset the downs. In this case, you might as well just fake the punt and throw a pass.


But if the punter were to run towards the line of scrimmage before kicking, with other players onside running behind him when kicked, and the punter were to kick the ball OVER the line of scrimmage with a "chip kick" and the ball would be recovered by any of these players, the ball could be recovered when it crossed the line of scrimmage irrespective of the distance kicked. And even then if only half a yard over the line of scrimmage, it would be FIRST DOWN mind you.

There is a similar known play in rugby though such a play has not carried over to gridiron in practise, and such rules are the apparent derivation of the rules on open field kicks in Canadian football.
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Re: Strategy: Kicking Into A Strong Wind 3rd And More Than Short

by CatsFaninOttawa » Mon Sep 27, 2010 5:37 pm

Paolo X wrote:
CatsFaninOttawa wrote:
Paolo X wrote:...unlike on a kickoff the punt or other kick need not go 10 yards before it is touched by an onside player of the kicking team.

If you think about where a punter stands before the snap, even after the step (or two) of his motion, he's still more than ten yards back from the line of scrimmage. So while it is true that a punt less than ten yards can be recovered by an onside player, since it hasn't crossed the line of scrimmage, it doesn't reset the downs. In this case, you might as well just fake the punt and throw a pass.


But if the punter were to run towards the line of scrimmage before kicking, with other players onside running behind him when kicked, and the punter were to kick the ball OVER the line of scrimmage with a "chip kick" and the ball would be recovered by any of these players, the ball could be recovered when it crossed the line of scrimmage irrespective of the distance kicked. And even then if only half a yard over the line of scrimmage, it would be FIRST DOWN mind you.

I suspect that once the punter started running, the defence would turn to stop him. So you wouldn't be able to have too many onside players, as you would need some blockers to keep the defenders off the punter. You'd also need enough players going downfield to sell the fake punt.

Actually I seem to remember Boreham trying something like this a couple of weeks back, but he got too much on the ball and couldn't get there in time.
Paolo X wrote:There is a similar known play in rugby though such a play has not carried over to gridiron in practise, and such rules are the apparent derivation of the rules on open field kicks in Canadian football.

Actually, it is there in the CFL; it's called a dribble kick, and any player can do it, same as in rugby. (My son played rugby the last three years in high school.)
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Re: Strategy: Kicking Into A Strong Wind 3rd And More Than Short

by Paolo X » Mon Sep 27, 2010 7:16 pm

Interesting Cats that they use the strategy in amateur football up there more often?

And no doubt the play would have to be done with deception on a fake punt and would be best on 3rd and very long or into a strong wind if attempted, for otherwise on short yardage a team ought go for it all the same or just run or pass the ball on a fake punt.

As you might hear from your son as well, in rugby I have heard such kicks called by other names. When the ball is kicked low and on the ground and usually over the "gain line" (line of scrimmage in gridiron football) the kick is called a "chip kick" or more commonly a "grubber," and when kicked high it is called an "up and under" or a "Gary Owen." And doing these kicks with or against the wind makes for even more fun if you are playing.

The onside rules for recovery in rugby as you might know are similar but not the same as in Canadian football, and all of the above kicks would work just fine in Canadian football but I have yet to see such a play attempted in the CFL.

I don't remember that play by Boreham. I do remember a play by Kuale of the Argos who kicked the ball for a single at the end of the half from a kickoff though.

And why not as did Kuale if you have the wind at your back near midfield at the end of the half, but that was a different strategy at work.
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Re: Strategy: Kicking Into A Strong Wind 3rd And More Than Short

by CatsFaninOttawa » Mon Sep 27, 2010 8:22 pm

Week 10, Toronto @ Hamilton, Labour Day Classic
4th quarter, 10:27 remaining, 3rd and long

Boreham lined up for the punt, and the snap was a bit off. He faked the punt, then took off upfield. A few seconds later, he kicked a short punt. I'm guessing that he tried what you call an up and under, but got too much of it and it went about twenty yards, righth into the hands of a charging Hamilton player for a 15-yard no-yards penalty.

http://watch.tsn.ca/cfl-games-on-demand/#clip344644, at 9:56 of video.
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