The first week of the 2017 NFL season is now complete and a number of snappers made their NFL debuts. Zach Wood won a snapping tryout for the Saints to replace Jon Dorenbos (more about that below) and had a strong debut on Monday Night Football. Reid Ferguson (Bills), Luke Rhodes (Colts) and Thomas Hennessy (Jets) also snapped in their first regular season games.
Dorenbos, who likely had his life saved by his physical with the Saints, is scheduled for heart surgery this morning. We wish him the best for a speedy recovery.
Wood became the sixth snapper the Saints have signed since last season. For those who want insight into what NFL long snapper workouts are like and how teams choose, below is the Q and A with Sean Payton, the Saints head coach.
What did you like about Zach Wood, the long snapper that you signed?
“We had four or five guys in. (We) Treated it like the Voice (laughter), Mickey (Loomis) and I were in a chair, the pro (personnel) department, special teams (coaches) and we just hit the buzzer and turned around. Those guys all worked out, we have seen all of their film. We’ve graded their tape. There are enough game snaps in the preseason that we saw and of course we had a good grade on him prior and know the folks in Dallas pretty well. A lot of the group was younger and there was one experienced player and I felt like it was a similar decision we made in ’07 or ’08 when we brought in (Justin) Drescher and some older players. He has played defense and had a good workout.”
With respect to tackles in punt coverage, Josh Harris (Falcons) and Joe Cardona (Patriots), each recorded assisted tackles.
The Week One Long Snappers Chart is below.
2017 Week One
There was some very sad news today in the long snapping world, as it was revealed that Jon Dorenbos has an aortic aneurysm. Dorenbos, who was recently traded from the Eagles to the Saints, may have had this condition since birth but it was just discovered during his physical after the trade. He will require open heart surgery and we wish him the very best and a speedy recovery.
It has already been a turbulent time for snappers in New Orleans. With Dorenbos out, the Saints worked out Tanner Purdum, John DePalma, Zach Wood, Colin Holba and Jeff Overbaugh today. Although it is unclear at this time which snapper will be signed, it will be the sixth snapper for the Saints before the season even starts.
Although the NFL gets most of the attention when it comes to snapping, there are always great stories from the college ranks. This weekend was no different.
Jake Olson of USC, who has been profiled on Longsnap.com in the past since he is legally blind, had his first game action Saturday night. Olson snapped a successful short snap for an extra point late in the victory over Western Michigan. Earlier that day, freshman snapper Adam Higuera of Tulsa recovered a fumbled punt in the end zone for a touchdown. Not bad for his first collegiate game.
One day after final cuts, it appears that the snapping position for all 32 NFL teams is finally settled. Today, the Bears claimed Andrew DePaola off waivers and, in turn, waived Jeff Overbaugh, while the Bucs brought back Garrison Sanborn.
After Week One of the NFL season is complete, Longsnap.com will publish its exclusive compilation of NFL snappers, along with data such as height, weight, experience, contract status, special teams coach and any tackles recorded in punt coverage.
Today was the final cut down day in the NFL, although it appears that at least one team will be making another move. The Bucs released Garrison Sanborn today, leaving them without a snapper. Most likely, he will return to the roster in the next few days.
Veteran Tanner Purdum, who spent seven seasons with the Jets, was also released today. Other cuts were Andrew East (Raiders), Winston Chapman (Dolphins), Colin Holba (Steelers) and Zach Wood (Cowboys). Holba may have been the most surprising move since he was a 6th Round pick.
After Monday’s crazy day and crazy night, things calmed a bit for NFL long snappers. However, the calm was short-lived, as teams must make final roster cuts by tomorrow.
In advance of that, some of the latest transactions have already occurred. Earlier this week, the Saints released Justin Drescher with an injury after the acquisition of Jon Dorenbos. Today, the Ravens waived Taybor Pepper and the Titans did the same with Ryan DiSalvo, who was injured last night. The Bucs cut Andrew DePaola, who was just recently brought back after recovering from an ACL injury.
With these moves, just the Cowboys, Dolphins, Jets, Raiders and Steelers have two snappers on the roster. Stay tuned for more updates tomorrow.
Today was an incredibly eventful day for snappers, which led to my Crazy Day for Snappers post this afternoon. I debated waiting before posting it, assuming that there could not possibly be any more snapping news.
I was wrong. Tonight, the SECOND snapping trade of the day occurred when the Eagles sent veteran Jon Dorenbos to the Saints. The deal gives Rick Lovato the job in Philadelphia and Dorenbos will likely solve the Saints snapping issues.
Prior to today, the only snapper trade I am aware of is when the Packers sent JJ Jansen to the Panthers back in 2009.