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.
Nick Moore (Baltimore)
Dan Godsil (Cincinnati)
Steven Wirtel (Detroit)
Anthony Kukwa (Houston)
Jon Weeks (Houston)
Matt Orzech (Jacksonville)
Carson Tinker (Giants)
Liam McCullough (Steelers)
Harrison Elliott and Shane Griffin (Vegas)
Christian Kuntz (Pittsburgh)
Although only 15 of the 127 FCS football teams will be playing in the Fall, Stats Perform did issue its Preseason All-America Team. As usual, the list included a long snapper for each of its three teams.
The First Team snapper was Matthew O’Donoghue of Montana. Ethan Ray of Charleston Southern was Second Team, while Bradey Sorensen of South Dakota State was Third Team. All three snappers are seniors.
NFL rosters must be cut to 53 on Saturday and there has been some movement at the snapping position in advance of that date. It looks like rookie Jacob Bobenmoyer will win the Broncos snapping job, as Wes Farnsworth was waived. Teams that still have two snappers on the roster as of this morning are the Ravens, Bengals, Lions, Texans, Jaguars and Steelers.
Multiple snappers had recent tryouts with teams in case of emergency. Four teams hosted snappers, including the Falcons (Harrison Elliott), Cardinals (Colin Holba and Taybor Pepper), Patriots (Scott Daly and Pepper) and the Giants (Christian Kuntz, Drew Scott and Carson Tinker).
NFL teams must trim their rosters on Saturday, September 5th but, in advance of that date, a few teams continue to look at and, in some cases, sign an additional snapper.
The Texans brought back Anthony Kukwa, who was cut in July, while the Steelers have just signed rookie client Liam McCulllough.
Kukwa was part of a tryout that also featured Andrew DePaola, Christian Kuntz and Carson Tinker, while rookie Rex Sunahara was also at the Steelers workout. The Colts had Taybor Pepper and Kuntz in for a tryout as well, but neither was signed.
Luke Rhodes of the Colts has been dealing with an injury, as has Kameron Canaday of the Steelers.
Most NFL teams start padded practices today and each will have no more than 80 players on the roster.
To date, three snappers have been impacted by COVID, as Blake Ferguson (Miami), Hunter Bradley (Green Bay) and Zach Wood (New Orleans) were all inactive for at least some time due to the virus. All but Bradley have returned to practice, but he is expected to return soon. Rookie Rex Sunahara, who was added to the Dolphins roster after Ferguson’s absence, has since been waived. Just five clubs (Baltimore, Cincinnati, Denver, Detroit and Jacksonville) have two snappers on the roster.
Finally, Zak DeOssie officially retired recently after spending all 13 seasons of his NFL career with the Giants. DeOssie won two Super Bowls, made two Pro Bowls and, perhaps more importantly, was the leading tackler among snappers in punt coverage for 6 seasons according to Longsnap.com’s compilation from official NFL Game Books. Congrats to Zak on an incredible career.
The COVID pandemic has impacted football’s return and the long snapping position has been altered as well. Two snappers, rookie Blake Ferguson (Dolphins) and Hunter Bradley (Packers), were placed on the COVID reserve list, although Ferguson is now cleared to return. The Dolphins added rookie Wes Sunahara from West Virginia as a precaution.
While Sunahara was fortunate to get an opportunity, the second snapper for a few teams has been cut, with rosters limited to 80 and due to the absence of any pre-season games. Rookie and client Liam McCullough (Raiders) was the first rookie to be waived, but first year snappers Anthony Kukwa (Texans), Joe Fortunato (Cowboys) and Christian Kuntz (Steelers) have also been cut.
There is speculation that some teams may look to add a long snapper to their practice squads this year, which have now expanded to 16 players, to have a reliable snapping option available in case of emergency.
Following these latest moves, the Ravens, Bengals, Broncos, Lions, Jaguars and Dolphins are the remaining teams with two snappers on the roster.
The second annual Patrick Mannelly Award will be given this December to the top FBS senior long snapper.
Today, 20 seniors were announced as part of the initial Pre-Season Watch List and a few others under strong consideration will be added once the season starts.
All NFL teams have now started training camps in the time of COVID. This year will be unlike any other and some recent adjustments, such as the mandate of 80 player rosters, has already cost one snapper his shot. Anthony Kukwa, who was recently signed by the Texans, was waived. So far, he is the only snapper to have been impacted by the roster reduction.
The Texans also confirmed that Tracy Smith will replace the retired Brad Seely as Special Teams Coach and the Patriots confirmed that Cam Achord will lead their units. Both moves were anticipated.
While it is unclear what the college football season will look like at the FBS level this year, one encouraging sign is the release last week of Phil Steele’s excellent annual College Football Preview. As usual, Steele’s publication is the only one to even acknowledge long snappers.
Steele has once again named four All-American teams and placed a senior long snapper on each. Damon Johnson (USC) is First Team, Ryan Langan (Georgia State) is Second Team, Thomas Fletcher (Alabama) is Third Team and Adam Higuera (Tulsa) is Fourth Team.
All four are also likely candidates for the Watch List for the Patrick Mannelly Award that will be announced on Monday, August 3, 2020. The Award, which debuted last year, is given annually to the top FBS senior long snapper.
Since the Draft, there has not been much snapping news to report, largely due to the pandemic. In what may the last snapping move for some time, the Cowboys recently added Joe Fortunato. Fortunato has been persistent in trying to reach his goal of snapping in the NFL, as he last spent time with Colts briefly in 2017.
There was also a notable coaching move, as Brad Seely of the Texans just decided to retire. Seely has over 30 years of NFL coaching experience. Although not official, the Texans are expected to promote Assistant Special Teams Coach Tracy Smith to Seely’s position.