The NFL is holding it’s annual meetings in New Orleans to discuss various topics regarding rule changes to help stream line the game and keep players safe.
Sean Payton is a member of the coaches’ subcommittee on the competition committee and has intimate knowledge of the proposed rule changes. To no one’s surprise he is for one of the more controversial proposals.
Kick off returns have long been a part of professional football and over recent years the trend has been for teams to draft a speedy return specialist who can provide an electric return.
This has resulted in an increase in kick-offs returned for a touchdown, a fan favorite, but has also led to an increase in player injury given the improvement in teams kick coverage.
Now the NFL is proposing the kick-off be moved from the thirty yard line to the thirty-five yard line and want to ban the formation of two-man wedges. Also on the docket is to move touch-backs out to the twenty-five yard line from their current placement of the twenty yard line.
Payton is for the change citing the need to protect the players, although he thinks that touch-backs will remain on the twenty yard line and not the twenty-five.
He also commented on the status of Reggie Bush, who is currently awaiting his fate barring a restructured contract, stating the he wants Bush back in 2011 and believed a deal will get done sometime to keep him with the Saints.
A long time contract extension could be in the works for Payton who hinted at his desires to get one done. He admitted however that a new deal for him was pretty low on the franchises to-do-list currently.
Locking up Payton long term is a subject near and dear to Saints fans hearts, especially after Payton moved his family to Westlake, Texas amidst rumors he has spoken with the Cowboys about becoming their general manager.
Payton insisted that his move had nothing to do with the Cowboys and maintained his loyalties lied with the New Orleans Saints and being the head coach for the foreseeable future. So fans take a breathe, he is after a new long term deal.
Lastly he is for automatic booth reviews of questionable touchdown calls favoring to take to the responsibilty off his shoulders. Payton is famously known to throw the challenge flag with little success so his backing of this proposed change surely suprised no one.
HBO’s hit series “Hard Knocks” is gearing up productions for it’s latest installment after featuring Rex Ryan and the Jets season, and apparently the Saints are one of the teams being considered among others.
The Saints seem like a pretty good fit now a season removed from their first ever Super Bowl win and last seasons devastating playoff loss to the underdog Seattle Seahawks.
New Orleans also has the NFL’s highest number of free agents and likely the team that hits the field in 2011 will be considerably different than their Super Bowl winning 2009 squad.
Brees is also a polarizing figure in the on-going labor dispute and has become the face of the players since he decided to headline a lawsuit against the NFL.
There are other teams being considered including the Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers among others. Reports say the Buccaneers are the current favorites coming off a 10-6 season as they attempt to stay afloat in the ultra-competitive NFC South with one of the youngest teams in football.