See the best moments from Saints' Taysom Hill and special teams in the Week 13 match up against the Carolina Panthers.
During the NFL owners meeting in May, owners approved changes designed to make kickoffs safer. The members of the kicking team will now line up a yard off the 35-yard line and must wait for the ball to be kicked before they can move. The rule also bans wedge blocking and overloading coverage on one side of the field. The New Orleans Saints will be working on how they plan to cover and return kicks during Saints Training Camp presented by Verizon. The open practices will give fans a first look at how the Saints will handle this change to the rules.
Special teams guru Mike Westhoff, who worked with the Saints last season, weighed in on the new rule on the Dan Patrick Show:
"I think you're going to see more returns than we have in the past. I think you're going to see more, we'll find out.
"The idea is to slow down the collision, the proximity. They've done two things. No. 1, you're going to kickoff from the 35, the same. The coverage team has to be evenly distributed, spaced out. You can't overload, things like that. But they have to be lined up a yard from the ball, so they're lined up at the 34-yard line, and they can't move until the ball is kicked. So they're not going to have a full head of steam going down the field.
"Now, the return team within the next 10 yards, had to line up eight players. So the idea of it is that they would take their blocks on in a closer proximity. There is no more wedge. You cannot double team with a front-line guy and a back-line guy like we used to do. So they're going to slow that down some."
Saints Coach Sean Payton said there will be a period of adjustment.
"It's going to change a little bit of the body types who might be on that unit with eight guys deployed in the first 15 yards," Payton said during organized team activities. "So, we're discussing it and spending time on it now, and yet there's no point of reference. I think you'll see it especially early in the season, you're going to see some exciting plays."