Chicago Sun-Times

Dave Toub says Bears cleared kicking off from 30 with NFL

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Bears special teams coach Dave Toub has no issues with the new rule that pushes the kickoff spot up to the 35-yard line, even though it will impact his unit more than most.

But, as he tries to identify his players on special teams, Toub said the Bears received permission from the NFL before Saturday's preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills to kickoff from the 30.

"That's why we did it," Toub said.

Asked when he realized they weren't allowed to do that, Toub said, "I guess it came down from New York.

"They got word that we can't kick from the 30, and we just went back to the 35 after that."

Toub said he doesn't need any clarification now.

"We thought we could do it. We thought we were clear with it. Talked to the officials before, and they were fine with it," Toub said. "We're trying to evaluate our kickoff team. You don't get any evaluation when you have touch backs.

"That's what preseason is for: evaluation, find out who can cover kicks. That's all we were trying to do."

If preseason is any indicator, one of the most exciting plays in football won't be as prevalent this NFL season, because of the rule change.

Meanwhile, Toub said receiver Johnny Knox will definitely replace Danieal Manning, who signed with the Houston Texans during the offseason.

"Certainly. That's why we don't have Danieal anymore," Toub said. "Johnny can certainly fill that role. He's a very good kick returner, as you saw."

Knox had a 70-yard kickoff return but the offense stalled and didn't even line up for a field goal attempt.

"He got everything he could get out of that return," Toub said.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on August 15, 2011 1:27 PM.

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