There are some weeks in the long snapping world in which there is very little to report beyond a compilation of tackles in punt coverage. The last few weeks, however, have provided substantial material for the weekly update.
This week, new snappers debuted for Cleveland (rookie Christian Yount) and Minnesota (veteran Matt Katula). Yount replaced veteran Ryan Pontbriand, who could not overcome his snapping issues this season. Yount worked out for the Bengals, along with fellow rookie Jake Laptad, just prior to signing with the Browns. Katula won a snapping competition in Minnesota that included Kevin Houser, Jake Ingram and John Stokes.
Pontbriand’s release included substantial media attention, including a story by Tony Grossi of The Plain Dealer, who described the difficult emotions involved in Pontrbiand’s departure. The article also mentions this blog and included comments from me. The Plan Dealer also did a short piece explaining “the loney job” of an NFL snapper. The story included a nice graphic entitled “The science behind the long snap.”
Pontbriand’s troubles also brought sympathy from special teams coach Darrin Simmons of the Bengals, who went through similar issues in 2009 with Brad St. Louis, who had six bad snaps in five games. Simmons noted such snapper issues are “not physical, it’s all mental” and that losing a job for a few errors is “part of the inherent risk in the position.”
With respect to Cullen Loeffler of the Vikings, who had his season ended last week due to a back injury following a blindside block by Kerry Meier of the Falcons, Meier was fined $20,000 for the hit.
Patrick Mannelly of the Bears will have surgery on his ruptured left ACL shortly and plans to return next year. Prior to this injury, Mannelly missed just three games in his career due to knee and ankle issues.
In game action this week, Jeremy Cain of the Jaguars had a poor field goal snap last night in the loss to the Chargers. Eight different snappers recorded tackles, with Jon Dorenbos (Eagles), Thomas Gafford (Chiefs), Clark Harris (Bengals), Garrison Sanborn (Bills), Jon Condo (Raiders) and Jake McQuaide (Rams) tallying solo tackles, while Justin Snow (Colts) and Zak DeOssie (Giants) had assisted tackles in punt coverage.
The NFL Long Snapper Chart through Week Thirteen is below.