Packers wanted preseason trial of NFL’s new kickoff rules

The Green Bay Packers were one of three teams to vote against the NFL’s new kickoff rules, which passed during the Annual Meeting by a 29-3 vote.

Why didn’t the Packers, who have All-Pro kickoff returner Keisean Nixon, vote for the change?

Team president Mark Murphy said the team was more interested in doing a trial period during the preseason instead of jumping right into the big change to start 2024.

“Our issue was it’s such a major change, our thought was it would make sense to have a trial or experiment in the preseason,” Murphy said Tuesday. “There are going to be some unintended consequences, I think. I just felt it made sense to have a trial. But, that said, it passed. Overwhelming, 29-3. We’ll be very supportive of it.”

The new rules — which feature a “setup zone” and a “landing zone” — will go into place in 2024 and will be given a one-year trial run.

Murphy said all teams wanted something “safe” that would get the kickoff return “back into the game.” He thinks something close to 80 percent of kickoffs will now be returned under the new rules.

It’s possible the change will be a good thing for the Packers, who should get more return opportunities for Nixon, the back-to-back All-Pro kickoff returner in the NFL.

“We have one of the better kickoff returners in the league, so we’ll put that to our advantage,” Murphy said.

Nixon led the NFL in kickoff returns and kickoff return yards in each of the last two seasons. He also had a 105-yard kickoff return touchdown in 2022.

His reaction after the rule change said it all:

Teammate A.J. Dillon agreed:

The new kickoff is expected to limit high-speed collisions, reducing concussions and other injuries, and increase return opportunities. Murphy said the setup will make kickoff returns more like punt returns.

Story originally appeared on Packers Wire