Allen Park — The Lions have the utmost confidence in Matt Prater to make 33-yard extra points this year, but coach Jim Caldwell said the team still could need to attempt more two-point conversions in 2015.
The NFL moved the kick attempt back to the 15-yard line this offseason, making it about a 33-yard point-after try, but with the two-pointer still at the 2-yard line, teams could be more aggressive this year.
Planning ahead to the possibility of odd scores with teams making or missing extra points, Caldwell said the Lions could use the preseason to work on the two-point tries.
“When you go on the road with the wind and all those conditions, it may make you think about going for 2 a little bit more often,” Caldwell said Monday. “But even more so, I’m sure there are going to be some teams that we play against — (and) we may be one of them — that decide to go for 2 every single time. So with the point differential, you’re going to have to be good at that particular execution of the 2-point play.”
In 2014, the Lions went 1-for-3 on two-point conversions, and their opponents were 2-for-2.
In addition to the longer kick, penalties could play a role in whether teams go for 1 or 2. If the defense or field-goal block unit jumps offsides, for example, the penalty will be marked off from both spots, moving it five yards to the 10 for the kick or half the distance to the goal for the 2-point try, moving it to the 1-yard line.
Of course, when a team misses a kick or makes a two-point conversion, it could lead its opponent to respond with a try they hadn’t intended.
“We want to look at a number of different things and try to make a determination of how we’re going to manage that situation,” Caldwell said.
Playing indoors at Ford Field should lead to mostly one-point tries during Lions home games, but at other stadiums, the wind or other weather conditions could force teams to go for 2.
And even though the kick is harder now, Caldwell said the scoring chart he uses to determine when to go for 1 or 2 hasn’t changed much, but the Lions might need to go for 2 sooner than usual depending on the situation.
“You might look at it a little bit differently now, particularly once you get a feel for if a team is going to do it every single time they get an opportunity to score,” he said. “The big thing is keep them out of the end zone, and you don’t have to worry about that.”