NFL Special Teams Unit Rankings

The end of the NFL regular season means that the annual rankings of each special teams unit in the NFL are finalized.  Rick Gosselin, who is famous for his compilation of 22 different kicking game categories, just published his ranking of all 32 special teams units.  New Orleans, under special teams Darren Rizzi, had the top unit, while Tampa Bay was ranked last.

Football Outsiders has its own ranking of special teams units and had Cincinnati, coached by Darrin Simmons, as the top team based on its unique criteria.  The Chargers were ranked last.

The top five and bottom five for each are below:

RICK GOSSELIN

TOP 5 (1-5): New Orleans, Cincinnati, New England, Washington and Jacksonville

BOTTOM 5 (28-32): Carolina, Indianapolis, Atlanta, Dallas and Tampa Bay

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS

TOP 5 (1-5): Cincinnati, Kansas City, New Orleans, Jets and Houston

BOTTOM 5 (28-32): Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Dallas, Carolina and Chargers

Posted in Coaching, NFL, Snapping in the Media

Post-Season Update for Top College Snappers

With college football season nearly complete, it is a good time to review some news regarding the top college snappers participating in post-season games and earning post-season honors.

In the All-Star games, Steven Wirtel (Iowa State) and Blake Ferguson (LSU) will be the Senior Bowl snappers, while Rex Sunahara (West Virginia) and Michael Pifer (Navy) will snap in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.  The Shrine Game will not be using dedicated snappers.

The FCS Bowl featured snappers Josh Brady (Jacksonville State) and Austin Underwood (Northern Alabama) while the National Bowl had Ryan Detert (Western Colorado) and Jake Shaffner (Colgate).  Finally, the Tropical Bowl will include Drake Sutton (Eastern Michigan) and Evan Crabtree (Miami of Ohio).

With respect to post-season teams, HERO Sports recently announced its All-American Team that includes a snapper on all three teams.  Josh Brady was First Team, Bradey Sorenson (South Dakota State) was Second Team and Colton Menges (Alcorn State) was Third Team.

STATS FCS did its own FCS All-America Team that featured Matthew O’Donoghue (Montana), Chandler Collins (Missouri State) and Ethan Ray (Charleston Southern). Collins is the only senior of those three.

Posted in College, NFL Draft

Week Seventeen in Review

Week Seventeen and the NFL regular season of 256 games is now complete.  Thomas Hennessy (Jets) and Rick Lovato (Eagles) each had four tackles in punt coverage this season, including three solo, to lead all snappers.

The 2019 season was one of stability at the snapping position, as just two teams had changes.  The Giants put veteran Zak DeOssie on IR after Week 12 and Colin Holba snapped the rest of the season.  The Niners used Holba, Jon Condo and Garrison Sanborn until Kyle Nelson returned from suspension.

With the regular season complete, future contracts, free agency, special teams coaching changes and all-star games and the NFL Combine for senior draft prospects will be the biggest developments for snappers.

Three snappers have already signed reserve/future contracts for next season.  So far, James Fisher (Lions), Wes Farnsworth (Broncos) and Drew Scott (Giants) have signed deals for next year.

With respect to free agency, a number of snappers will become free agents in March if not re-signed.  Unrestricted free agents that can sign with any club are client Patrick Scales (Bears), LP Ladouceur (Cowboys), client Casey Kreiter (Broncos), Don Muhlbach (Lions), Jon Weeks (Texans) and Zak DeOssie (Giants).  Two restricted free agents, in which another team can match any offer if the player is tendered a contract by their current team, are Kameron Canaday (Steelers) and Zach Wood (Saints).

Stay tuned for all of the special teams coaching changes over the next few weeks and the snappers that will be participating in all-star games and the NFL Combine.

In the meantime, the final edition of the NFL Long Snappers Chart is below.

2019 Final

Posted in Coaching, NFL, NFL Draft, Tackles, Transactions

Week Sixteen in Review

The biggest snapping news during Week Sixteen occurred outside the lines, as Morgan Cox (Ravens) and Rick Lovato (Eagles) were voted the Pro Bowl long snappers.  While the selection of a Pro Bowl snapper is not unique since they have been part of the game since 1996, what was special this year was that each were voted on by other snappers and coaches.

Cox and Patriots snapper Joe Cardona are credited with coming up with the idea last month to have each NFL snapper vote for the Pro Bowl snappers.  In the prior selection process, the coaching staffs for each team picked the snapper.  Through a group text, Cox got all NFL snappers on board and the process was approved by the NFL’s competition committee.  This will be the third time Cox has been in the Pro Bowl, while it will be Lovato’s first trip.

Just one team worked out snappers this week, as the Jets had Kevin McDermott and John Wirtel in for tryouts.

On the tackle front, two snappers recorded tackles this week, as Beau Brinkley (Titans) had two assisted tackles while Matt Orzech (Jaguars) had a single assisted tackle.  The NFL Long Snappers Chart after Week Sixteen is below.  With one week left, Lovato and Thomas Hennessy each hold the lead in tackles among snappers with four total.

2019 Week Sixteen

Posted in NFL, Tackles, Transactions

Week Fifteen in Review

Week Fifteen of the NFL season is done and was generally a quiet one for snappers.  The Broncos worked out three snappers earlier in the week, including rookies Jacob Bobenmoyer and Wes Farnsworth, along with Christian Kuntz.

Two snappers, Hunter Bradley (Packers) and Rick Lovato (Eagles), tallied assisted tackles  in punt coverage.  The NFL Long Snappers Chart after Week Fifteen is below.

2019 Week Fifteen

Posted in NFL, Tackles, Transactions

Notre Dame Snapper John Shannon Wins Inaugural Patrick Mannelly Award

Notre Dame senior long snapper John Shannon was announced as the winner of the inaugural Patrick Mannelly Award on Saturday.  Liam McCullough (Ohio State) and Steven Wirtel (Iowa State) were the other finalists.

As one of the founders of the Award, along with Mannelly and Chris Rubio, this was an incredible night to finally honor and recognize this critical but unsung position.  We anticipate that this Award and the ceremony will continue to grow each year.

Posted in College, Patrick Mannelly Award

A Big Week for Long Snappers

This week is a very notable one for the long snapping position.

On Saturday, the winner will be announced for the first annual Patrick Mannelly Award to be given to the top senior long snapper at the FBS level.  The selection committee for the Award will be choosing the winner from the three finalists, Liam McCullough (Ohio State), John Shannon (Notre Dame) and Steven Wirtel (Iowa State).

In addition, it became public today that NFL players will help select the Pro Bowl long snappers.  While long snappers have been included in the Pro Bowl for a number of years, they have historically been selected by the coaching staff of the NFL teams involved in coaching the game.  This years is the first in which active players can vote to choose the long snappers.

Posted in NFL, Patrick Mannelly Award, Snapping in the Media