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Sean Payton won't be comfortable using position player for new kickoff

At a time when the Chiefs are thinking about letting safety Justin Reid handle kickoffs in order to keep kicker Harrison Butker out of the hot kitchen of making tackles, a division rival is thinking about the downside to such an approach.

"I don’t want one out of every four going to the 40-[yard line] though because he kicked out of bounds, but he’s there to make the tackle," Broncos coach Sean Payton told reporters on Thursday. "I think you will see a lot of change in every one of us. I’m just as anxious as you are to see it. We’re trying to go through it."

The most jarring aspect of the rule will continue to be 19 or 20 players standing still after the kick and until it's caught or touches the ground.

"[Special teams coordinator] Ben [Kotwica], our special teams coaches, we’re practicing it," Payton said. "We had the officials in yesterday. They kind of went through all the rule changes, but specifically we spent probably half an hour on this. I would say the one thing for you — the kick is made, no one moves and when it’s caught, we all move. I would liken that to being on second base and I’m tagging up. I’m watching, I’m watching, and when the ball is caught, I can go to third. So you’re going to see if you leave early, it’s a foul. It would be very similar. Now there was a time when most of these guys played baseball. Now maybe a third of these guys have played baseball. I would say, ‘You’ve never tagged up on a fly ball?’, but I think that’s what it would be like timing wise as you wait to move.”

Whatever happens, Payton is among those who believe the approach will change as the year unfolds.

“In Year 1 of this, what you see in Week 1 and what you see in Week 8 could be dramatically different," Payton said. "Now, it’ll be the first year where—follow me—there are three kick scenarios that may not be returned where the ball could go to the 20-[yard line], the 30 or the 40. Now there’s always been in the history of our game only two scenarios. We always knew 40 if it went out of bounds. Then we went through 20 and then 25 [on touchbacks]. Now there are three, so that will take everyone a while to figure out. So I think a lot of it is going to be dependent on what our goal is structurally as to putting it in the landing zone, and then who is that player that we’re talking about. If you have that player, then yes, that’s a good idea.”

That's going to be the key. Who is kicking the ball, and then who is fielding it?

"Who’s catching it can change," Payton said. "The decision makers as these balls are coming—let’s say line drives—making the decision, ‘Is it going to go into the end zone?’"

It all adds up to a lot more time being spent in training camp and during the practice week on the play. Because it suddenly has become both consequential and brand-spanking-new.