Dragons Training Camp: Day 3
HOUSTON -- Tuesday the XFL rules were announced, and the Seattle Dragons went straight to work with them.
In their third day of training camp in Texas, the players were thrown into situations they've never experienced in their football careers, because these rules haven't existed until now.
The Dragons ended practice working on the play that comes after a touchdown is scored. As the league announced Tuesday, conversions will be a play from scrimmage, rather than a kick. Teams can go for one point, two points, or three points:
Head Coach Jim Zorn gave his team a taste of trying plays from the 2 yard line, from the 5 yard line, and from the 10 yard, to simulate XFL PATs.
Tuesday in the morning practice, the defense was ahead of the offense, and conversions were difficult to come by from all three distances, as the Dragons defense finished the session in celebration.
Regardless of play results, it was quickly apparent no conversion in the XFL will be an afterthought.
While PATs are one of the major rule innovations the league announced Tuesday, and kickers are left off the field for them, many of the new rules directly challenge the placekicker and the punter.
A special teams practice was called for Tuesday afternoon, to get the Dragons prepared for rules which create a return on nearly every kicking play.
That's always fun to see a dynamic returner, with the ball, running loose on the field. Well, not for ME, because I've got to defend it with my guys! But we get it when they punt it or kick it to us, too. I don't think it's gimmicky. I think it's fun.
Following a day of practice in pads Day 2, the Dragons took them off Tuesday and focused on pace.
Another XFL rule designed to speed up the game and to maximize the number of plays for fans to watch is the 25-second play clock after the ball is spotted.
Under the XFL rules, new Dragons kicker Cole Tracy will only flex his booming leg on field goal attempts. Now, he practices lofting the ball to targeted areas of the field to help return coverage, rather than trying for touchbacks.
Likewise, punter Brock Miller will favor hangtime over coffin-corner kicks.
Both specialists know more returns also means more chances for them to get in on tackles, a skill they're also putting additional attention on with the announced XFL rules.
The Dragons are back at Delmar Stadium for Day 4 of training camp Wednesday at 8:45am CST.