Highlights from Colts STC Brian Mason’s offseason program media availability

On Wednesday, Colts’ special teams coordinator Brian Mason met with reporters for his offseason program media availability. Mason discussed Anthony Gould and the impact of the new kick-return rules, among other topics.

In case you missed it, here are the highlights from what Mason had to say. To watch the full press conference, click here.

– On the new kick return rule: There was some input and voting from the 32 special teams coaches around the proposed changes and specifics of it, but the NFL largely stuck with the original model. The official rule has not been put in place, that will take place during the May owners’ meetings. Mason says that tweaks will be made during the preseason after seeing the new rule in play.

– Right now, they are using a combination of NFL and XFL clips to teach the new technique and spacing, etc. But it’s difficult to implement without contact, which teams can’t start doing until training camp.

– There are going to be some aspects of the new kick return rule that mimic what happens during a punt return. There is going to be less space for the kick returner to operate in.

– With less running on the kick return under the new rule, there could be the opportunity to use bigger personnel. Mason notes that at the XFL level, it’s about putting your best defensive tacklers on the field.

– “We’re really excited about Anthony (Gould).” Mason says the return position is one of the biggest areas that they were looking to improve this offseason–both in decision-making and getting more dynamic.

– Mason mentions the importance of getting Dallis Flowers and Ashton Dulin back healthy as well.

– Mason says that the NFL projects that around 80 percent of kickoffs will be returned under the new rules. League-wide last season, the return rate was around the 20 percent mark.

– Adjusting to this new rule will require a lot of learning on the fly. Any joint practices that the Colts have during training camp will be huge, along with experimenting during preseason games and seeing what other teams around the NFL are doing.

– One of the big conversations still being had around the new kickoff rule is when the play should start. Right now, it begins when the returner touches it or when the ball hits the ground in the landing zone. Mason points out that this could lead to more line-drive kickoffs, in order for the ball to hit in the landing zone sooner and away from the return man, potentially giving the coverage unit the advantage. In the XFL, the play doesn’t start until the return man touches it.

– With onside kicks, you have to declare that you’re doing an onside kick, along with having to be trailing in the fourth quarter.

Story originally appeared on Colts Wire