- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 3, 2016

RICHMOND — Like many around the NFL, Washington Redskins kicker Dustin Hopkins is unsure how one of the league’s newest rule changes will play out come September.

Earlier this year, team owners approved a change to move the touchback line after kickoffs to the 25-yard line, designed to reduce the number of kickoff returns in an attempt to prevent injuries on the play. The rule will be implemented during the 2016 season on a one-year trial basis.

Hopkins said he thinks the impact on kickoffs remains unclear this early in the preseason.

“We’ll see what teams do,” Hopkins said Wednesday. “I really don’t know what we plan on doing as far as employing what strategy when or how often but I have heard other teams planning on doing mostly pooches and I’ve heard others that are just planning on kicking it off.”

The 25-year-old was good for 52 touchbacks on 80 total kickoff attempts during the 2015 regular season—his first year with Washington—which was seventh-most in the NFL.

“I’ll see what coach [Jay] Gruden wants to do or coach [Ben] Kotwica wants to do [during preseason games] and then I guess we’ll do it,” Hopkins said. “We’ll see what they like best and I think that will be useful going into the season, seeing how we react to each situation.”

Gruden said that the team is continuing to experiment with different options off the tee and seeing what tweaks they can make.

At Wednesday’s practice, Hopkins looked solid in both his power and control—landing kicks between the end zone and the 10-yard line several times.

“We don’t want to just succumb to the 25-yard line,” Gruden said. “[Hopkins] has got a powerful leg and one of the reasons he’s here is because of his leg strength and kicking the ball off through the end zone. But he can get the height and pin people back to the one if we get them tackled inside the 20…So, we’re going to explore all different options.”

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