Saints coach Sean Payton talks kickoff rule, Hard Knocks, Drew Brees on The Dan Patrick Show _lowres


The New Orleans Saints might benefit from the NFL’s new rule bringing touchbacks out to the 25-yard line, Sean Payton told The Dan Patrick Show on Thursday.

Payton likes the intent of the rule, to limit return opportunities on a play with a lot of risk for injury.

But he thinks this rule could have unintended consequences.

“Our team will be one of them,” Payton said. “You’re going to see a lot more ‘mortar kicks’ that have a little bit more hang time. I think covering a kick and keeping someone from getting to the 25 is very possible.”

New Orleans, a team that finished 24th in the NFL last year in kick return average at 21.6 yards per return, would be more likely to take a knee and accept the extra five yards for Drew Brees.

“Selfishly, it helps us,” Payton said. “We’re one of those clubs that would be an average to below-average kick return team, but an above average offense, so starting at the 25 as opposed to the 20. I think there’s going to be more returns, not less.”

Dan Patrick put Payton through an entertaining conversation that included the following highlights.

  • Payton believes teams have less of a say in being selected for HBO’s “Hard Knocks.” “I don’t think they ask anymore,” Payton said. “I think the rule’s changed. I’m sure there’s a phone call made.” The Saints coach still has strong reservations about the show.
  • Payton reflects on the relationship between him and Brees, and whether or not they might decide to retire together.
  • Payton also thinks Carolina’s Ron Rivera might have a chance in a free-for-all among the league’s 32 teams.
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