The NFL regular season finally arrived and Week One is complete. Just one snapper, Andrew DePaola, made his regular season debut for Tampa Bay and even added an assisted tackle in punt coverage. Special teams usually play a key role in early season games and this year was no different, as the Dolphins blocked a Patriots punt and the Texans blocked a punt and an extra point against the Redskins.
Carson Tinker (Jaguars) recorded two solo tackles, while JJ Jansen (Panthers), Matt Overton (Colts), Cullen Loeffler (Vikings) and Jon Dorenbos (Eagles) added solo stops.
The NFL Long Snappers Chart for Week One is below.
Week One NFL Long Snappers Chart
Just like a long snapper needs consistency, the long snapping position in the NFL has a steady and reliable one. This year, the position has been anything but stable for at least a few clubs.
Chicago has now settled on Jeremy Cain, San Francisco has decided to go with Kyle Nelson and Tampa Bay will start the season with Jeremy DePaola, who made the team on his third attempt.
However, the snapping situations in Denver and New England remain in flux. New England has just re-signed Danny Aiken after releasing him at final cuts and signing Charlie Hughlett to the practice squad. Hughlett has now been let go.
In Denver, where Aaron Brewer has been steady, the team recently worked out Kevin McDermott, Luke Ingram and Aiken, before signing McDermott to the practice squad.
The day after final cuts produced some additional snapping moves. The Bears waived Brandon Hartson and brought back Jeremy Cain, who snapped in two games for the Bears last season. The Patriots added Charley Hughlett to their practice squad and also worked out former Niners snapper Kevin McDermott today.
Today was the final cut down day in the NFL and there were some notable snapping moves. Veteran Danny Aiken has been let go by the Patriots, while Kevin McDermott was waived by the Niners.
The Pats do not have a long snapper on the roster right now, although defensive end Rob Ninkovich has snapped during his career and even handled some snaps in the preseason. McDermott did well as a rookie last season, but the Niners elected to keep Kyle Nelson, who has some more versatility as a tight end. In fact, Nelson had two touchdown catches in the final preseason game.
It also appears that veteran Greg Warren will be ready to snap in Week One for the Steelers, who let Bryce Davis go during their final cuts. One snapper that appears very safe is Garrison Sanborn, who just signed a new three-year deal in Buffalo. Sanborn now remains under contract with the Bills until the 2017 season.
Each NFL club was required to reduce its roster to 75 players today and that limit led to some long snappers losing their spot. Charley Hughlett (Jaguars), Jeremy Cain (Buccaneers), Jorgen Hus (Rams), Casey Kreiter (Cowboys) and Luke Ingram (Steelers) have all been let go.
Only the Steelers and Niners have two snappers remaining on the roster, with Bryce Davis and Greg Warren in Pittsburgh and Kyle Nelson and Kevin McDermott in San Francisco.
August is the time that NFL long snappers tend to get some rare publicity. The story of the anonymous athletes who play perhaps the least glamorous position always makes for interesting reading and viewing. The story of Jon Dornebos of the Eagles is no different.
The veteran snapper has appeared in the Pro Bowl and been a reliable and consistent long snapper. In addition, he is also known as the “Magic Man”, due to his other professional career as a magician. This week, HBO Real Sports profiled his snapping, his magic and his tragic childhood. Specifically, Dorenbos has overcome the loss of his mother after his father killed her when he was just 12.
Most snappers have an interesting story about how they became a snapper. In Dorenbos’ case, his story is even more compelling and remarkable given what he has overcome to reach the top of his profession.
With the first roster cut down to 75 players approaching next week, two teams have made snapping moves in advance of that deadline. The Patriots waived rookie Travis Ott, while the Bears dropped CFL veteran, but NFL rookie, Chad Rempel.
With these moves, Danny Aiken will remain as the Patriots snapper and it looks like Brandon Hartson may have won the job to replace retired veteran Pat Mannelly in Chicago.