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Raiders game showed the value of a long snapper

Nov. 6, 2013
 
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The Packers haven’t had a major issue with snaps on punts or kicks in years thanks to long snapper Brett Goode, who is in his fifth season. But what would happen if Goode went down? It’s probably not something many people thought about until the Oakland Raiders’ snapping debacle in Monday night’s loss to the San Diego Chargers. The Raiders lost long snapper Jon Condo, a two-time Pro Bowler, to a concussion during the game. His replacement, backup linebacker Travis Goethel, was a disaster. His first snap skipped along the ground, and punter Shane Lechler, one of the best in the business, couldn’t get the kick off. Then Lechler had a punt blocked after it appeared he lined up a little closer to the line of scrimmage in order to help Goethel. Then Goethel rolled another snap on the ground, and Lechler couldn’t get that punt away, either. “No one talks about the snapper until he makes a mistake or you lose him,” Packers special teams coach Shawn Slocum said this week. “That’s just the nature of the position. But they’re critical as you see, and the way it turned out in that Oakland game.” If anything were to happen to Goode, backup center/guard Evan Dietrich-Smith would replace him. During one special teams period in training camp this summer, Dietrich-Smith snapped a couple of balls so high that punter Tim Masthay had to jump to catch them. That could result in a blocked kick in a game. “If we have to go to a backup, there’s a reason he’s the backup and not the starter,” Slocum said. “But I think we’re fully capable of operating normally with our backup snapper. We practice it and should be able to move forward.” Goode, the soft-spoken Arkansas native, said he didn’t see the Raiders’ game but heard about it. Still, he wouldn’t say a long snapper is tougher to replace than anyone else. “It’s hard to say that’s what validates our position because everybody’s position is hard at this level,” said Goode, who is in the final year of a two-year contract extension he signed in 2011.

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