Week Six in Review

Week Six of the NFL season is complete and, while COVID has impacted team practice schedules and the precise order of the weekly game schedule, all games were played this week without any issues.

Heading into this week’s action, I tweeted a Wall Street Journal story about snappers at the college and NFL level being the “most essential” workers during the pandemic. The article mentioned how college teams, like USF and Austin Peay, have been decimated by injuries and COVID issues at the snapping position.

Also of note in the story were some interesting statistics that I had never seen before, For example, in the NFL, over the past 10 season heading into Week Six, there were 42,417 snaps. Of those, according to Stats LLC, just 40 of those were bad enough to prevent a kick, or 0.09%. Even in college, since 2012, just 259, or .20% of the 132,998 snaps, were bad enough to prevent a punt or kick attempt.

Teams continue to prepare for the potential loss of a snapper this season by working out snappers. The Bengals brought in Dan Godsil, who has prior camp experience with the team, and the Saints hosted veteran snappers Andrew DePaola and John Denney.

Four snappers recorded tackles in punt coverage this week, led by Rick Lovato of the Eagles, who has two assisted tackles for the second consecutive week. Luke Rhodes (Colts), Charley Hughlett (Browns) and Thomas Hennessy (Jets) each had solo tackles.

The NFL Long Snappers Chart after Week Six is below.

Posted in NFL, Snapping in the Media, Tackles, Transactions

Week Five in Review

Week Five, except for one game, is now complete. Tonight will be a rare Tuesday game between the Bills and Titans that was delayed by a COVID outbreak with the Titans.

The Titans should have Beau Brinkley back to snap tonight, as he has been reinstated to the roster after being placed on the COVID list. As a precaution, the Titans worked out veteran snappers Matt Overton and Colin Holba and just added Overton to the practice squad.

The only other snapper to have a tryout this week was Andrew DePaola who worked out for the Bears.

The San Francisco Chronicle did a nice story on new Niners snapper Taybor Pepper and how he is a model of perseverance. Like many NFL snappers, Pepper has bounced around for a few seasons, from team to team and tryout to tryout. He has signed five contracts and had eight tryouts, but is now set to snap for the Niners this season and perhaps beyond

Heading into Week Five, punts were at an all-time low, averaging about 3.46 punts per game. Through four weeks, there had been a total of 436 punts, well behind the pace of 2019 (559 punts) and 2018 (584 punts).

The Falcons are the first team to change special teams coaches this year after also firing their head coach and general manager after Sunday’s loss to the Panthers. Bernie Parmalee has replaced Ben Kotwica.

On the tackle front, Rick Lovato (Eagles) has two assisted tackles, Zach Triner (Buccaneers) added a solo tackle and Morgan Cox (Ravens) had an assisted tackle.

The NFL Long Snappers Chart after (most) of Week Five is below and any tackles in tonight’s game by a snapper will be included in next week’s News and Notes.

Posted in NFL, Tackles, Transactions

Veterans Snappers Have an Advantage This Season

This is an NFL season unlike any other due to the global pandemic. COVID impacted the NFL Draft immediately and, for snappers, limited the opportunities for rookies and younger players. One snapper was drafted and just a few others signed as undrafted free agents. The absence of mini-camp tryouts also hurt snappers looking to gain critical exposure and experience.

Because COVID has impacted the snapping position, four teams have kept a snapper on the practice squad, including Carson Tinker who is on the Giants practice squad after last snapping in an NFL game in October, 2018. New tryout rules will require six days of testing before a player workout, making it even harder to replace an injured or sick snapper.

All of this means that veteran unemployed snappers are benefitting from these unique circumstances. Among the snappers who have gotten multiple workouts since the season started are Andrew DePaola (last NFL game Week 1, 2018), Colin Holba (last NFL game Week 17 2019), Garrison Sanborn (last NFL game Week 7, 2019) and Matt Overton (last NFL game Week 17, 2018).

While NFL teams like to develop younger snappers when they can, this year may not be the best year to do that. Thus, it is likely that any future openings will find NFL teams giving the more experienced snappers the first chance to fill it.

Posted in NFL, NFL Draft, Transactions

Week Four in Review

Week Four of the NFL season saw the first snapping change, as the Niners released Kyle Nelson following a rough Week Three performance. Taylor Pepper, who snapped for the Dolphins last season, won a tryout battle for the job that also included Andrew DePaola, Garrison Sanborn and Drew Scott.  Peppers snapped well in his Niners debut on Sunday Night Football.

The Titans may need to add a snapper this week, as Beau Brinkley was one of the original COVID cases that impacted multiple teammates. The Titans game with the Steelers this week was postponed and, at this time, it is unclear if Brinkley can play this coming Sunday against the Bills.

Just one snapper, Thomas Hennessy (Jets), had a tackle in punt coverage this week. Hennessy’s solo tackle makes him the first snapper with multiple tackles this season.

The NFL Long Snappers Chart after Week Four is below.

Posted in NFL, Tackles, Transactions

Week Three in Review

Week Three of the NFL season saw more special teams issues, including those impacting the normally reliable snapper Kyle Nelson of the 49ers.  Nelson had multiple poor field goal and extra point snaps and was benched at the end of the game.  Offensive lineman Justin Skule handled a late short snap.  The team is expected to bring in some snappers for a tryout this week and it appears that Nelson’s issues were more mental than physical.

On a positive note, JJ Jansen of the Panthers made an athletic play to down a late game punt at the one-yard line, helping the team defeat the Chargers.

Snappers Andrew DePaola (Cardinals) and Garrison Sanborn (Jaguars) each had tryouts recently, but neither has been signed at this time.

Three snappers, Jacob Bobenmoyer (Broncos), Jon Weeks (Texans) and Morgan Cox (Ravens), each recorded solo tackles in punt coverage.  The NFL Long Snappers Chart after Week Three is below.

2020 Week Three

Posted in NFL, Tackles, Transactions

All FBS Conferences to Resume Play

The craziness of 2020 continues.  While some FBS teams are entering the fourth week of games today, a number of other conferences that planned to sit out the Fall have since changed course.  Now, all 10 FBS conferences will play, with some conferences resuming in either late October or early November.  As a result, Longsnap.com’s exclusive compilation of each FBS long snapper will be delayed until November.

For those teams that have started play, the impact of COVID has been dramatic, especially for special teams units.  For example, USF was down to their 5th snapper against Notre Dame and kickers were converting just over 60% of field goals during the second week of games.

Posted in College

Week Two in Review

Week Two included more crazy special teams play.  After a historic Week One, in which kickers missed a total of 19 kicks, kickers were a bit better this week and the Chiefs and Cowboys both won games with long field goals.  The Cowboys were only in a position to win after recovering a crazy, spinning on-side kick that the Falcons did not touch in an apparent misunderstanding of the recovery rules that allows them to recover the kick immediately.  The opposing team, however, cannot touch the ball until it goes at least 10 yards.

This week was the “Ferguson Bowl”, in which the two Ferguson brothers were the opposing snappers in the Bills game at the Dolphins.  Older brother Reid prevailed over rookie Blake, but this was the first time brothers have snapped against each other in an NFL game.

A few more teams had snappers in for tryouts this past week, including Taybor Pepper and Matt Overton (Colts), Colin Holba (Cardinals) and Andrew DePaola (Ravens), although none have been signed at this point.

Four teams still have a snapper on the practice squad and two of them, the Ravens and Dolphins, have been protecting the extra snapper as one of the four players that cannot be claimed by another team.  Both head coaches explained that the position is hard to fill quickly, so they have been protecting the extra snapper.

In game action, Aaron Brewer of the Cardinals recovered a fumble and Austin Cutting of the Vikings had a solo tackle in punt coverage.  It will not show up in any stat sheet, but Luke Rhodes of the Colts made an athletic play to keep a punt from going into the end zone and the Colts ended up getting a safety after that play.

Apologies to Kameron Canaday of the Steelers, who had a solo tackle last week that was not credited to him.  It has been fixed and included in the NFL Long Snappers Chart after Week Two below.

2020 Week Two

Posted in NFL, Snapping in the Media, Tackles, Transactions

Week One in Review

For a large part of 2020, I was not sure  there would be a Week One in Review for the NFL season.  However, the NFL and its players have done well to limit the impact of COVID and the season is now underway.

There were no major snapping issues in Week One, although early season games tend to bring special teams issues and that was manifested in multiple missed field goal and extra point attempts.

Three snappers made NFL debuts, as Jacob Bobenmoyer (Broncos), Ross Matiscik (Jaguars) and Blake Ferguson (Dolphins) each played their first NFL regular season games.

Broncos special teams coach Tom McMahon liked Bobenmoyer for his accuracy, consistency, protection and especially his coverage ability.  For those college snappers that want to snap in the NFL, McMahon made key point that is mentioned often on this blog about the importance of protection in making that leap to the NFL.

McMahon, in discussing the various positions in the kicking operation, observed the following:

“If you look at the snappers in college football, college football rules are 1,000 percent different in the punt game than the NFL. Everybody can release when the ball is snapped, so 95 percent of all the snappers in college football have never ever one time in their life protected. They’ve never had to protect the gap. That’s the biggest adjustment for those guys from a snapper’s perspective.”

Four other snappers, Nick Moore (Ravens), Steven Wirtel (Lions), Matt Orzech (Dolphins) and Carson Tinker (Giants) are also on practice squads, that have been expanded to 16 players this season.

Some recent tryouts including Orzech prior to signing with the Dolphins, Andrew DePaola and Dan Godsil with the Patriots, Taylor Pepper with the Niners and client Liam McCullough with the Raiders.

Finally, two snappers recorded tackles in punt coverage, as Kyle Nelson (Niners) had a solo tackle and Thomas Hennessy (Jets) added an assisted tackle.

The NFL Long Snappers Chart after Week One is below.

2020 Week One

Posted in NFL, Tackles, Transactions

A Note about FBS College Long Snappers (and Kickers)

As of today, it appears just 76 FBS football teams will play in this Fall.  Longsnap.com’s exclusive compilation of the long snappers for each FBS squad will be published in early October, after each team has played at least one game.

Many of the top NFL prospects at the snapping position have been sidelined by the cancellation of many conference schedules, leaving Thomas Fletcher of Alabama as the premier prospect among seniors.

Like the snapping position, which benefits from better coaching, training and technology during the past decade, kickers have also thrived. A recent story by Peter Baugh in The Athletic noted that FBS kickers made 74.86% of field goals last season, including 45 kicks 50 yards or longer.  By contrast, in 2000, kickers converted just 67.42% of field goals.

Posted in College, NFL Draft

NFL Snapping Landscape After Final Roster Cuts

A crazy preseason without any preseason games is done and rosters are set at 53, at least for now.  While there may be more moves, especially if some teams add a snapper to the practice squad, as of tonight, there will be three rookie snappers.

Jacob Bobenmoyer (Denver),  Ross Matiscik (Jacksonville) and Blake Ferguson (Miami) are the three snappers that will debut this season.  While Bobenmoyer was from last year’s Draft class, he is technically a rookie since he never signed an NFL contract.

Below are the recent transactions and tryouts.  Note that while the Texans have cut Jon Weeks, he is expected to be brought back soon as this was a procedural move for roster space and the Giants recently signed veteran Carson Tinker before cutting him today.

CUT/WAIVED

Nick Moore (Baltimore)

Dan Godsil (Cincinnati)

Steven Wirtel (Detroit)

Anthony Kukwa (Houston)

Jon Weeks (Houston)

Matt Orzech (Jacksonville)

Carson Tinker (Giants)

Liam McCullough (Steelers)

TRYOUTS

Harrison Elliott and Shane Griffin (Vegas)

Christian Kuntz (Pittsburgh)

Posted in NFL, NFL Draft, Transactions