Every day matters in long snapper competition

Sir Purr

Well-known member
Mar 16, 2019

Blackburn said there was a bit of a dip in Fletcher's performance when they started adding more protection work in practice, but that has since been ironed out.

"The first couple weeks, he was kind of going, and his velocity was good, his accuracy was good, and we started introducing a little bit of protection stuff. And you saw a little bit of dip just with the nerves. And then, after he's been settled in for four or five days, I think he's really picked back up. It'll be a good battle as we go through it."

There's a lot that goes into making a decision on the guy who delivers the ball to the punter and kicker. Blackburn rattled off a list of things of things he grades every day including: "Everything: Velocity, accuracy, laces, protection, cover ability, you name it. It all goes into it."

And Blackburn knows that the call will ultimately made above him, as the team considers whether to go with an aging known commodity, or a younger and unproven (and only slightly cheaper) model.

Late-round picks are often like lottery tickets, and if you get something out of them, it's a bonus. But Blackburn mentioned the possibility of finding value in specialists, since good ones can have long careers (like Jansen's 13 and counting). It's also worth noting that there's likely value in whichever one the Panthers don't keep. Jansen was undrafted in 2008, but the Panthers acquired him from the Packers for a future seventh-rounder, so trades for long snappers do happen.

Deciding which one to go with will be a decision for the front office later this summer. For Jansen and Fletcher, that means every snap during minicamp and training camp matters.