Eagles snapper Rick Lovato is now a Super Bowl champion. Lovato will be awarded a Super Bowl ring, as will former Eagle snapper Jon Dorenbos. The Eagles decided to give Dorenbos, who is now retired due to a heart condition, a ring due to his prior service with the team.
In other snapping news, just one snapper, Tanner Carew of Oregon, was invited to the NFL Combine this year.
Pro Football Focus has just released its annual ranking of special teams units, in which the Vikings finished at the top. The Ravens, Rams, Falcons and Cowboys round out the top five. The bottom five, starting at the bottom, were the Giants, Redskins, Chargers, Broncos and Cardinals.
The Super Bowl will feature snappers Rick Lovato for Philadelphia and Joe Cardona for New England. Lovato is making his Super Bowl debut, while Cardona is making his second consecutive appearance.
Leading up to the Super Bowl, two snappers recorded tackles in playoff games, as Zach Wood (Saints) had a solo tackle in the Wild Card game and Beau Brinkley (Titans) has an assisted tackle in the Divisional round.
Two additional snappers have signed contracts for next season, as Andrew East signed with the Raiders for a second consecutive season, while Drew Ferris signed with the Buccaneers. Ferris was signed after a strong showing at the Husted Kicking Pro Free Agent Specialists Camp held in Mobile, Alabama around the Senior Bowl. The camp featured 16 snappers that qualified for the event and a few more are expected to get NFL workouts in the coming weeks.
Finally, the NFL special teams annual coaching carousel continues to spin. As of right now, only the Colts have a vacancy. Below are the new special teams coaches and their respective teams.
Arizona: Jeff Rodgers
Carolina; Chase Blackburn
Chicago: Chris Tabor
Cleveland: Amos Jones
Dallas: Keith O’Quinn
Denver: Tom McMahon
Houston: Brad Seely
Giants: Thomas McGaughey
Oakland: Rich Bisaccia
Tennessee: Craig Auckerman
One of the highlights at the end of the NFL season is Rick Gosselin’s annual special teams rankings. Now in its 39th season, Gosselin ranks each team in 22 different categories. The lower the amount of point, the better.
Historically, no team has totaled less than 200 points. That was until this year, when the Los Angeles Rams finished with 196.5 points, 30 points lower than the next best special teams unit in Kansas City. New England, Baltimore and Dallas rounded out the top five.
The Giants were the lowest ranked unit, with Denver next lowest followed by Arizona, Los Angeles Chargers and Chicago and Cleveland, who tied for 27th place.
Oscar Shadley, a Virginia Tech commit, was recently selected as the top high school long snapper by the selection committee for the Chris Rubio Award. The committee includes current and former professional long snappers. I am also one of the committee members for the award, that was first given in 2011.
Shadely was selected over Karsten Battles, who will attend Oregon and Ross Reiter, who will attend Colorado State.
The upcoming NFL Pro Bowl will again feature a snapper from each conference. Clark Harris of the Bengals will play in his first Pro Bowl, while Jake McQuaide of the Rams will snap in his second consecutive game.
The Pro Bowl takes place Sunday, January 28th in Orlando, Florida.
With the NFC and AFC Championship matchups set for next weekend, it is a good time to take a look at some of the snapping developments in terms of signings and coaching changes since the end of the regular season.
To date, four snappers have signed reserve/future contracts for next season. The four are Bradley Northnagel (Raiders), Drew Williams (Cardinals), Zach Triner (Packers) and Anthony Kukwa (Chargers).
Another tradition after the end of the season is the coaching carousel, that always has a significant impact on special teams coaches. Among the changes are Tom McMahon, who moves from the Colts to the Broncos after Brock Olivo was terminated. Chris Tabor moves from Cleveland to Chicago and Rich Bisaccia goes from Dallas to Oakland. Jeff Rodgers (Chicago), Brad Seely (Oakland) and Larry Izzo (Houston) are also looking for new positions.
It is a new year and the 2017 NFL regular season is complete. The final week of the regular season marked the debut of Jeff Overbaugh. Overbaugh snapped well for the Vikings in place of Kevin McDermott, who was placed on injured reserve. Earlier in the week, Overbaugh was signed after a workout that also included veteran snapper Justin Drescher.
The Packers added Zach Triner to its practice squad a few days ago. Now that the team’s season is over, he will likely sign a contract for next season in Green Bay. Lost in the shuffle of last week’s snapping news was a workout the Bucs conducted with snappers Nolan Frese and Drew Williams.
In addition to any new snapper signings, Longsnap.com will be covering the various special teams coaching changes, veteran free agency and the top prospects for the NFL Draft during the coming weeks.
Zak DeOssie finished the season with six tackles, four of which were solo tackles, and is the champion again for snapper tackles in punt coverage. This is his sixth title in the last seven seasons. In 2015, when he did not finish first, DeOssie missed the last few weeks of the season. In Week Seventeen, Jon Condo (Raiders) and Rick Lovato (Eagles) added solo tackles, while Colin Holba (Jaguars) added an assist.
The final NFL Long Snappers Chart for the 2017 season is below.
2017 NFL Season