Dave Toub: Chiefs might use Justin Reid as kickoff specialist

The Chiefs, like all teams, are trying to figure out how to handle the new kickoff rules. Unlike most teams, the Chiefs have a non-kicker who can kick.

Chiefs special-teams coordinator Dave Toub told reporters on Thursday that the Chiefs might use safety Justin Reid as the kickoff specialist, given the likelihood that the kicker will be involved in making a tackle.

Toub said that, in the XFL, kickers made the tackle 25 to 40 percent of the time. He doesn't want that for Harrison Butker.

"Butker's able to make a tackle, but I really don't want him making tackles all year long," Toub said.

In contrast, Reid will be someone that the return team will have to "worry about."

Toub said they're working on kickoff and kickoff return every day. On the kicking side, the goal is to get the ball on the ground in the landing zone before it's touched, because the players can begin to pursue the ball.

Butker will still be used at times, especially if/when the Chiefs decide to deliberately kick the ball out of the end zone, conceding the 30-yard line to start the drive. That could happen if/when (as Toub said) a team hopes to "get out of a game" with the lead and not risk giving up a touchdown on a return.

Toub added that former rugby player Louis Rees-Zammit also could be used as the kickoff specialist, and that he could be used as the return specialist in the new kickoff.

Toub's words underscore the significance of the kickoff and kickoff return. He said that he believes there will be 1,600 more football players this year because of it.

"The team that figures it out, kickoff-wise and kickoff return-wise, is gonna really excel early," Toub said. "We wanna be that team."

To that end, the Chiefs are using trial and error to get there, with the reality that — for now — they can't actually tackle.

However it goes, a play here or a play there on kickoff returns could make the difference between a win and a loss. And that can be the difference, when the dust settles on Week 18, between a playoff berth and staying home.