Denny Medley/USA Today Sports

New NFL kickoff rules could benefit Patriots

Ryan Hannable
May 22, 2018 - 9:54 pm

On Tuesday, NFL owners approved changes to the kickoff for one season, this coming season. The changes will make kickoffs feel more like punts to help eliminate big collisions.

Players on the kicking team cannot line up more than one yard behind where the ball is being kicked, which comes following the old rules when this was five yards. Players on the receiving team can no longer hit players until they cross the 45-yard line, so return players will now retreat back to the ball and then block. In addition, there will be no more wedge blocks.

So, why is this good news for the Patriots? It could allow for more big returns for players like Cordarrelle Patterson.

Patterson is one of the best returners in the game, but he just wasn't given the opportunity to do much of it last season. If Patterson does get the ball in his hands he could be even more dangerous with more space to work with and the play being more like a punt. More space to run is a good thing for returners like Patterson.

For his career, Patterson is averaging 30.2 yards per return with five touchdowns.

Here's a complete rundown of the changes.

 

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