The post I wrote a few years ago to help identify some key ways that snappers can get attention from NFL teams remains a popular one. It may need a slight amendment this year thanks to the creativity of snapping prospect Charlie Coggins from East Carolina.
I was in Indianapolis yesterday during the Combine and met Coggins in the morning. He mentioned that he was there to get some exposure, as Joe Cardona of Navy was the only snapper invited to the Combine. While meeting Coggins, he mentioned that he brought some drink koozies to promote himself at various bars in Indy.
Today, I woke up to find that his unique promotional tool, shown below, had received significant attention on Twitter and in stories by various national football writers. Although it is unclear if this marketing move will help his cause to get a shot in the NFL, Coggins has at least gotten people talking about him.
Every season, a number of teams switch special teams coaches in the NFL. In many cases, the coaches simply change locations in a game of musical chairs. This year is the same, as there will be at least eight new special teams coaches.
Scott O’Brien of the Patriots retired after the Super Bowl and John Bonamego of the Lions took a college head coaching job. Although not official, Ron Zook is leading candidate to replace Shawn Slocum in Green Bay.
Below are the teams with new coaches for 2105 and a note about where they were in 2014.
CHICAGO: Jeff Rodgers (Denver)
DENVER: Joe DeCamillas (Chicago)
DETROIT: Joe Marciano (Minnesota for Two Games)
GREEN BAY: Ron Zook (Green Bay Assistant)
JETS: Bobby April (Oakland)
NEW ENGLAND: Joe Judge (New England Assistant)
OAKLAND: Brad Seely (San Francisco)
SAN FRANCISCO: Thomas McGaughey (Jets)
The NFL season ended yesterday as the Patriots and long snapper Danny Aiken won the Super Bowl. For those who want some insight into what Super Bowl week is like from a snapper’s perspective, client Clint Gresham wrote a daily diary that is available on his web site clintgresham.com/blog/.
During the playoffs, Clark Harris of the Bengals had three tackles in the wild card game, two of which were assisted tackles. No other long snapper recorded a tackle during the playoffs.
The long snapping position is a unique one in the NFL. The path to success is often a winding one, with many ups and downs. Last month, I wrote about the journey client Patrick Scales made to earn a late season roster spot with the Ravens after four years.
Andrew DePaola of the Buccaneers had a similar path. This season, DePaola snapped in every game for Tampa Bay, becoming a rookie at age 27. Joe Kania of Buccaneers.com wrote a detailed story today about DePaola’s fascinating journey.
DePaola was a quarterback in high school with a single Division One offer from Rutgers. DePaola eventually became a backup snapper at Rutgers before snapping part of his junior season and all of his senior season. After his senior season, he earned a tryout with the Saints and another with the Patriots. However, two years removed from college, his big break finally came when his college coach, Greg Schiano called. Schiano was coaching in Tampa Bay and wanted to bring DePaola in for a workout.
DePaola eventually earned a spot in training camp with Tampa for the 2012 and 2013 seasons, each time falling short of making the final roster. This year, his big break finally came when the Bucs brought him back in April (ironically after an injury to Scales) and he made the final roster.
Some snappers are very fortunate and earn an NFL roster spot immediately as a rookie. However, in many cases, snappers must show incredible determination to achieve their dreams. As the stories this year involving Scales and DePaola show, hard work and perseverance can eventually pay dividends.
For over 30 years, Rick Gosselin of The Dallas Morning-News has published his annual NFL special teams rankings. Gosselin ranks each team in 22 special teams categories and assigns points from one for the best to 32 for the worst.
It should be no surprise that the Philadelphia Eagles were the top team this year. After finishing 18th last season, the Eagles finished with 201.5 points, 26.5 points better than Buffalo. Among other things, the Eagles had seven touchdowns on special teams and blocked six kicks.
The other top teams after Philadelphia and Buffalo were New England, Atlanta and Baltimore. At the bottom were Tennessee, San Diego, Washington, Carolina and, in last place, Green Bay.
Last night in Las Vegas, Blake Ferguson became the first two-time winner of the Chris Rubio Award given annually to the top high school long snapper. Ferguson, who will attend LSU next year, also took home the award last year.
The long snappers for this year’s Pro Bowl were selected today. With the new Pro Bowl draft format in place, the two coaching staffs have traditionally selected the other team’s snapper.
This year, the coaches are from the Ravens and Cowboys. With Morgan Cox of the Ravens injured, the Cowboys selected Jon Dorenbos of the Eagles, while the Ravens picked L.P. Ladouceur from the Cowboys. This will be the second Pro Bowl appearance for Dorenbos, while it will be the first for Ladouceur.