Cardinals kicker Chandler Catanzaro kicks an extra point against the Panthers in last season's playoff game. Extra points will be kicked 14 yards further back this season.
Chandler Catanzaro isn't into doing any deep analysis normally, and the Cardinals' kicker sees the NFL's extra-point shift through the same kind of prism.
After the league changed its point-after rule this week, forcing the ball to be snapped from the 15-yard line instead of the 2, Catanzaro gave it a verbal shrug.
"What it comes down to is that kicking is kicking," Catanzaro said. "It's me, the ball and my target. That doesn't change
much. Nothing changes technique-wise. Rules are rules, and I am ready for the challenge."
The numbers back up a view of confidence. Last season, Catanzaro went 7-for-7 on field goals between 30 and 33 yards – at the 15, it will likely be a 33-yard attempt for extra points – and in the past 10 seasons, Cardinals kickers have made 45 of 46 field goals from that distance.
Two-point conversion attempts will still be snapped at the 2-yard line, although the move would seem to quash the idea of fake kicks.
The latter point figures to increase the rush pressure from kick-block teams, after years of frequently token pressure on extra points. With little fear of a fake, edge rushers can now come off harder. Again, it is a thought that doesn't concern Catanzaro.
"With the way I am hitting the ball, it shouldn't be a factor," he said. "The guys up front did a great job for me last year.
My mindset doesn't change at all."
It does change things for the Cardinals' kick blockers, however. Not only have the kickers been pushed back but now, the defense can return a block (or an interception or fumble on a two-point try) for two points if they can reach the opposite end zone.
Pro Bowl special teamer Justin Bethel, who already has three blocked field goals in his career coming off the edge (and returned an Adrian Wilson block of a field goal for a touchdown) said it's the two-point potential that will perk up the block teams.
One of Bethel's blocks was a 35-yard attempt from Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey last season – right in that extra-point area.
"Every game can come down to one, two, three points, so if there is a chance to make a play, you take it," Bethel said. "Before, even if you did block it you couldn't really do anything with it. Now it's a harder kick and gives us a little more leverage to make a play happen."
Kickers had been converting 99 percent of their extra points. There is a hope from the league that percentage decreases around four percent, although the accuracy of kickers may not let that happen. Catanzaro, however, wouldn't allow that kickers may have become too good – leading the league to change such rules.
"You have to earn every kick," Catanzaro said. "I don't think any kick is a given. We make it look easy I guess, but you have to earn every kick."
More images from OTA work of the Cardinals