I was honored to be profiled in an Albany Times-Union story this week written by Jason Franchuk. Jason attended a recent presentation I gave to undergrad students at the University at Albany about my career path. I graduated from UAlbany in 1989.
Not surprisingly, this blog and my practice of representing long snappers was a key component of the story. The story of how I got to where I am today involves a lot of rejection, overcoming obstacles and hard work. It occurred to me that these are also the things that any long snapper that aspires to play at the highest levels often experiences on their journey.
After many weeks of stability at the snapping position, there will be another change this Sunday with the Ravens. Kevin McDermott, who replaced Morgan Cox in October, was placed on injured reserve today with an elbow injury and the Ravens have signed client Patrick Scales.
Scales will finally make his NFL debut this weekend against Houston. He had been in camp with the Ravens in 2011 and 2012 and recently worked out for them after Cox’s injury. Scales has been with four teams and snapped in 10 preseason games.
Earlier this week, the Chiefs added snapper Charley Hughlett to its practice squad after some kicking games issues in last Sunday’s game. Hughlett, like Scales, is another example of perseverance. Hughlett was in the 2012 NFL Draft class and has spent time with Dallas, New England, Jacksonville and Cleveland.
Week Fifteen of the NFL season is complete and just two weeks remain in the regular season. Mike Leach of the Cardinals received some national attention for his athletic play downing a punt deep in the Thursday Night Football game against the Rams. Leach is the longest tenured snapper in the NFL and the game was the 217th of his career.
Jay Glazer of Fox Sports revealed on Sunday that the Pro Bowl will experiment with narrowed goal posts for kicks by reducing the posts from 18.6 feet to 14 feet. During the preseason, the NFL experimented with the kicking game by moving extra points from the 2 yard line to the 18 yard line.
Four different snappers recorded tackles in punt coverage this week, with Andrew DePaola (Buccaneers), John Denney (Dolphins), Beau Brinkley (Titans) and Jeremy Cain (Bears) tallied solo tackles and Jon Condo (Raiders) adding an assisted tackle.
The NFL Long Snappers Chart after Week Fifteen is below.
Week Fifteen NFL Long Snappers Chart
Vikings long snapper Cullen Loeffler has been chosen to the USA Football All-Fundamental team this season. Loeffler joins 25 other players on the team selected by a panel of NFL experts. The team recognizes players that use proper technique, especially for blocking and tackling. Jon Dorenbos of the Eagles was last year’s snapper selection to the team.
A long snapper’s job is to snap accurately and consistently to punters in punt situations and to holders for field goals and extra points. As such, the people they snap to are just as critical as the snaps.
In Week Fourteen, there were 10 missed field goals, including two each by the Rams, Vikings and Cardinals, and three missed extra points, that are typically automatic. Week Fourteen also saw the Chargers lose a critical piece of their kicking puzzle when punter Mike Scifres broke his clavicle against the Patriots.
His loss caused the writers at The Wall Street Journal’s The Count to study whether losing a kicker or punter is worse. The conclusion from examining statistics comparing the loss of a kicker to a punter since 2000 showed that the loss of a punter is more damaging to a team than a kicker. On average, a replacement punter cost their team 1.19 points.
Week Fourteen is complete and Danny Aiken was able to return from a concussion to snap for the Patriots. Aiken missed last week’s game and was replaced by Rob Ninkovich. This week also featured an unusual amount of missed field goals and extra points.
Five different snappers recorded tackles in punt coverage this week. Christian Yount (Browns), Tanner Purdum (Jets), Zak DeOssie (Giants) and Josh Harris (Falcons) had solo tackles, while Greg Warren (Steelers) recorded an assisted tackle.
The NFL Long Snappers Chart after Week Fourteen is below.
Week Fourteen NFL Long Snappers Chart
Week Thirteen brought an interesting change to the snapping position. With Danny Aiken of the Patriots unable to snap due to a concussion suffered in last week’s game, the Patriots used starting defensive end, Rob Ninkovich, to snap against the Packers.
Ninkovich, who came into the league in 2009 with the Saints as a snapper, performed well under difficult circumstances. Earlier in the week, the Patriots added Charley Hughlett to the practice squad, but waived him a few days later. Most assumed from that transaction that Aiken would be able to snap, but he was inactive for the game.
Four snappers had tackles in punt coverage this week, with LP Ladouceur (Cowboys), Kyle Nelson (Niners), Zak DeOssie (Giants) and Carson Tinker (Jaguars) each recording tackles, with Ladouceur’s tackle an assisted stop.
The NFL Long Snappers Chart after Week Thirteen is below.
Week Thirteen NFL Long Snappers Chart