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Defenders ready for 'less stall, more ball'

DC Defenders head coach Pep Hamilton at XFL training camp in Houston.

HOUSTON -- Less stall, more ball. 

When the DC Defenders host the 2020 XFL season-opener against the Seattle Dragons at Audi Field on Sat., Feb. 8 (2 p.m. ET, ESPN), a new era of football innovation will be ushered in.

How the new league goes about doing that, however, began long before the eight teams arrived for training camp.

Reimagining football began in the summer of 2018 when XFL Director of Football Operations Sam Schwartzstein and his team of football experts began researching and testing new modifications to make the game faster and safer. 

The Implementation of that work became official Tuesday, when the XFL announced the official reimagined rules for the 2020 season, which are designed to increase game movement and scoring.

“We want to always make your incentive to move forward, not backward,” Schwartzstein said Sunday, while visiting Defenders training camp. “Our touchback rule allows for that. Our touchback rule adds so much value to what we’re doing.”

Kickoffs that go out of the end zone for a touchback, will be spotted at the 40-yard line. Punts that go out of bounds inside the 35-yard line, will be spotted at the 35-yard line.

This will incentivize teams to keep the ball in play and gives the opposition more room to operate and a better average starting field position in the case of and out of bounds kick.

Special teams, extra points and game speed are three of the primary areas of the new rules, each change adding value to the gameplay and fan experience.

Defenders head coach Pep Hamilton, a longtime practitioner of advanced offensive principles, sees the new 25-second play clock as a major boost to the league.

"We want to be efficient and precise."

DC Defenders head coach Pep Hamilton on how to handle the XFL's rule innovations

“The play clock is gonna inherently make our game more up-tempo,” he said. “It’s something that I think ultimately will lead to a lot of points being scored in our league.”

More plays and more points are what fans want. The new settings will come with some challenges for the teams, but that’s where Hamilton, the longtime offensive guru, thrives. 

“It’s going to force all the offenses to be very efficient and limit the amount of verbiage that you have in your play calls which ultimately will affect the presnap mechanics.

“We want to be efficient and precise."

That too will please the fans. Innovation is coming soon, and the Defenders are ready to welcome it.