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49ers Value Long-Snapping Depth

Posted by Alex Espinoza on September 11, 2012 – 5:43 PM

The NFL received a wake-up call on Monday night during the Raiders-Chargers matchup in Oakland. Long snapper is often regarded as an under-the-radar position in the NFL, but when Oakland Pro Bowler Jon Condo went out with an injury, the art of long snapping was put on center stage.

Travis Goethel was pressed into emergency long-snapping duty and had trouble finding punter Shane Lechler with consistency, showing how crucial the position can be. On Tuesday, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh told KNBR that second-year lineman Daniel Kilgore is the team’s second-string long snapper behind veteran Brian Jennings.

“You’ve always got to be ready at any position if you’re a backup,” Kilgore said. “You go in through the week and you practice and you get your reps in, so you just have to be ready for whenever the situation comes.”

In its no-stone-left-unturned approach, the 49ers coaching staff has Kilgore practice his long snapping on a daily basis. But as Kilgore pointed out, getting a punt off in time is a team-wide job.

“Everybody wants to blame the guy for the bad snaps that hit the ground and everything,” Kilgore said. “But what about the tackle that missed the block? It’s not just the bad snaps, there’s 11 guys on the field that have a job.”

Kilgore and linebacker Larry Grant split duties as emergency long snapper last year, but were never pressed into duty. Jennings, who at 13 years of service is the longest-tenured player on the 49ers, has established himself as one of the game’s most effective long snappers throughout his career.

“It’s extremely difficult,” Jennings said. “Our job is to make it look easy.”

There are several nuances that go along with Jennings’ specialized position. For one, the kicker balls used in the game are much slicker than the footballs players practice with throughout the week.

“The K-ball rules make it a completely different animal than what you snap in practice,” Jennings said. “For a rookie snapper or a young snapper or a backup to go in and snap the ball effectively, it’s a really tough challenge.”

Not only that, but long snappers must be sharp with their stance, their hand placement and their release point. As football fans found out on Monday night, long snappers have no room for error.

“There’s a lot of different things that can happen,” Jennings said.

Game Pass: San Francisco 49ers

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Posted in Announcements | 9 Comments »

9 Responses to “49ers Value Long-Snapping Depth”

  1. By ace on Sep 11, 2012 | Reply

    oh the raiders looked soo bad last nite against a bad san diego team poor raiders fans,,hahahahahahahaha GOOOOOO NINERS !!!

  2. By Mike on Sep 11, 2012 | Reply

    I was watching the Raider-Chargers game last night and couldnt stomach any more. I hope the Raiders learn from this. Being from the Bay I support both ‘9ers and Raiders; no need for bashing your neighbors across the bridge

  3. By DMT on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    Same ole sorry @$$ Jokeland Faders!

  4. By alex_fn_smith on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply


  5. By alex_fn_smith on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    …aaaaaanyway, back to the 49ERS!!!…i think its great all of this role switching,and players getting on both sides of the ball is a great strategy,and it really hypes up the players too i can see. its good to see players offering to work harder,and do whatever it takes to fill gaps and voids,and whatever they need to to make some plays work better. go 9ers

  6. By alex_fn_smith on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    plus its a really great strategy because it makes it so there is no player on the team that cant be replaced due to injury…its a very secure feeling knowing that if any of our players get hurt (god forbid) someone else could step up and take over without missing a beat. and thats what it takes to get to a superbowl these days….depth. theres not a single player on this team thats going to warm the bench,nobodys going to waste. i love it!!!!

  7. By Vortex on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    I did snapping duties in high school, but I was also in a Run’N’Shoot offense, so I snapped a ton. The shotgun snap is so different and easy compared to the precision of a field goal snap or the power of the snap to the punter. At the same time you have people all over you and you are in a pretty vulnerable position.

    My hat’s off to you Mr. Jennings. You do make it look easy.

    Only once, maybe twice, did I ever snap a shotgun snap over my QB’s head. But I also once played with the Flu. Totally puked all over the football, but I didn’t care, I was going to snap it. They other team didn’t feel the same.

    Maybe that’s the trick a little puke on the ball??

  8. By ace on Sep 12, 2012 | Reply

    yes give coach credit for reinventing this team and the game of football really,and the kicking ball is diff ball than regular during the game its way more slippery for some reason

  9. By rjdniner on Sep 14, 2012 | Reply

    Vortex .High school rules say that the snapper can not be hit during a 3 point or a P.A.T. Because he can not protect himself. If I caught you puking on the ball, you would have been sent to the side lines and a fresh clean ball would have been used, that is the job of the umpire. I posted a long time how important a good snapper is; just think without Jennings, Ackers does not get that record tying field goal. Go 49er,s

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