With the NFL moving back its extra points this season, making them 33-yard attempts instead of the old 19-yarders, Bucs coach Lovie Smith said it's "definitely tempting" to go for two points, even when the scoreboard doesn't mandate such a move.
"It's not a gimme now," Smith said Sunday of the longer PATs. "In the preseason, we try to keep all of our options open and try to put the guys in a position -- anything we might do in the regular season, we try to put them in that position in the preseason. We did plan going into this game to do both. We'll probably keep that throughout and then just kind of see the situation at the time during the games during the year. But it is definitely tempting to go for two."
Bucs kicker Pat Murray didn't miss an extra point in 31 attempts last year, but the longer distance brings not only the risk for a missed kick, but a blocked kick as well -- defenses can now return a blocked kick or takeaway for their own conversion. Murray went 5-for-7 on field goals from the 33-yard line and shorter last year, with two kicks blocked, so that will be a factor in the Bucs' calculations.
Across the league, NFL teams have opted for extra points after 56 of 69 touchdowns in preseason games -- kickers are 54-for-56 on extra points, so those generate an average of 0.96 points, while teams have gone 6-for-13 on two-point conversions, so that's generated an average of 0.92 points per attempt.
Smith conceded that in the past, NFL teams generally only went for two when the scoreboard dictated it -- down by two after a touchdown late in a game, or up by one after a touchdown late in a game. Now, it's more of a conversation, he says.
"In the past, you pretty much went for two when you had to," he said. "Now that's not necessarily (true). It's more because you want to right now. We would all rather have two points than one. You just have to see how it goes a little bit. Again, I would definitely rather have two points than one. I can definitely say that right now."