Unsung. Unheard-of. Under-appreciated.
Long-Snapper. It’s rarely discussed, except when the snap goes sailing over the head of the punter. Other than the place kicker, no one has a greater effect, on a per play basis, on the game than this guy.
His snap must be perfect every time. 6 inches too high, too low… 6 inches left or right… and a game can be lost. A snap over the head of the punter can result in a 7 point turn-around in the blink of an eye.
No player is in a more precarious position than the long snapper. Most often, the career of the long snapper is measured in games.
Except for Ethan Albright.
Albright has participated in 16 games a season for 16 years. That is unheard of, for a long snapper. With one possible exception (we’ll review that later), his career has been unmarred by error. His excellence was recognized two years ago, when he was honored by place on the NFC Pro Bowl roster… high praise, indeed, for so humble a player in so humble a position.
The “exception” was a snap on a failed field goal attempt against New Orleans… and the only person who feels that this was the fault of long snapper Albright is… long snapper Albright! Virtually every other member of the Redskins (including Swisham) felt that the error was on Shawn Swisham… who was released following that game. Swisham, for those living under a rock, is now the kicker for the Dallas Cowboys…
On Friday, January 29, the Redskins signed a new long snapper, Nick Sundberg, to a contract. Sundberg was a rookie this past year, who was signed late in the season by the Ravens. So, it appears that Albright will have some competition during training camp this year. How odd would it be to see someone other than Albright on the field for field goals and punts?
For 9 years, one thing the Redskins have not had to worry about is reliable long snaps. What a luxury that has been. Could this be the end of an era?
I’ll be pulling for Red.