Emphasizing ‘A Natural Style of Kicking and Punting’®, Coach Zauner’s teaching philosophy facilitates an environment where kicking specialists develop the skills, technique, and confidence to achieve their maximum physical and mental potential. At an amateur and professional level, Coach Zauner, LLC programs and events provide a kicker, punter or snapper ‘A Specialist’s Path to PRO Football'®...Coach Zauner, LLC Mission Statement

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Real Facts about Snappers

Too often kickers, punters and snappers get no respect!

Since the draft I've read numerous newspaper articles and listened to several talk radio shows referring to the 2008 NFL draft.

I must set the facts straight.

During the draft, the Washington Redskins selected a punter in the 6th round, the NFL broadcast announcers were strongly opinionated. They just couldn't believe the pick. In my opinion, some ridiculous comments were made.

Later, in the 6th round the Seattle Seahawks selected Tyler Schmitt, (photo above) the long snapper from San Diego State. Several of the T.V. analyst's laughed, joked and again made ridiculous comments.

I really felt for the two players. Just think about it. What if you were the parents or a family member of Durant Brooks or Tyler Schmitt and witnessed the media coverage mocking a teams selection of your son or brother who is a kicking specialist. How would you of felt?

Also, some of the T.V. analysts and draft experts, who are extremely knowledgeable, with an incredible amount of facts regarding every player in the draft, made inaccurate statements pertaining to the drafting of snappers.

They made comments about the number of snappers that have been drafted in past years and which rounds. Lets set the record straight.

In the past drafts, snappers have been selected by teams like the Seattle Seahawks, who had experienced snapping problems during the previous season and tried to solve their problem by selecting a snapper in the draft.

History shows, snappers are generally taken by teams with needs, in the 6th or 7th round.

Also, history shows, most teams that use a draft pick on a snapper, usually correct their snapping problems. Matter of fact, most of the snappers that I have listed below were selected in the draft and most have remained with the team that drafted them.

Below, just a few examples of the teams who have selected snappers in the draft and the number of years the drafted snapper has played in the league:

Jason Kyle, drafted by Seattle Seahawks in the 4th Round, currently with the Carolina Panthers, has been in the league for 14 years. Jason also played linebacker. His combination of snapping and playing a position probably played a big factor in him being drafted in the 4th round. He has been an excellent snapper and cover man!

Patrick Mannelly, drafted by the Chicago Bears in the 7th round, has played his entire 11 years with Chicago. Outstanding snapper!

Kevin Houser, drafted in the 7th round by the New Orleans Saints, has snapped with the Saints for his entire 9 years. Excellent snapper!

Brad St. Louis, drafted by the Cincinnatti Bengals in the 7th round, has snapped for 9 years with the Bengals and also, is an excellent cover man! He also played tight end position in college but was drafted to snap!

Brian Jennings, drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the 7th round and has snapped 7 years for the 49er's team. He also played tight end position in college but was drafted to snap. Brian is an excellent snapper and cover man!

Ryan Pontbriand, who was drafted in the 5th round by the Cleveland Browns is one of the best snappers in the league. Cleveland has an excellent group of kicking specialists and it all starts with the snap! Phil Dawson and Dave Zastudil are both very fortunate to have the best snapper in the league and he was well worth a 5th round pick! He has now played 6 years with the Browns.

Most fans and talk show host's don't know the real value of the snapper. Matter of fact, the NFL must not know his true value either, because a long snapper is not on the Pro Bowl ballot.

When I was a Special Teams Coach in the NFL, I coached in the Pro Bowl twice. I couldn't believe that you as a coach or player are in a game that features the best of the best and you as a coach don't have a snapper to snap to the Pro Bowl kicker and punter!

I thought that was a real joke! We actually had to ask everyone on the team, who can snap! Raise your hand! In 1998, together, the special teams coach's made a deal not to rush, knowing both teams did not have a snapper on our squads to snap!

The following year I worked to get the committee to submit long snappers on the ballot, but it appeared nobody really cared, except the long snappers, punters and kickers.

At least now, the Pro Bowl teams, bring a snapper over to the Pro Bowl with a special roster spot. We as NFL coaches realize their importance and have tried to give the snappers their due rewards!

There are 32 teams and every team has a roster spot for a snapper.

I believe the NFL should place snappers on the ballot and vote for Pro Bowl snappers, just like every other position on the team.

Stay tuned to Coach Zauner's Blog!