Raiders botch three punts as stand-in long-snapper Travis Goethel struggles
If ever there was an incredibly underrated position on the football field, it has to be long-snapper. Throughout the course of a game, we rarely find ourselves wondering something like, “What if the snap is bad?” Unlike quarterbacks, running backs, receivers and cornerbacks, we take the duties of a long-snapper for granted. If your quarterback goes down with an injury, at least you have a backup. The same is not always true at the long-snapper position.
Raiders long-snapper Jon Condo left Monday night’s loss to the Chargers with an injury, forcing linebacker Travis Goethel to take over his position. Goethel had to fill in for three punt attempts, two of which he literally rolled the ball to punter Shane Lechler and one of which was a good snap but the punt was blocked.
“He’s worked on snapping the ball, and actually he’s done a nice job in practice, but it’s obviously a lot different when you get in a game-like situation,” Oakland coach Dennis Allen said after the game, according to Around the League. “He was put into a tough situation, and it hurt us.”
According to Contra Costa Times writer Steve Corkran, Goethel had not long-snapped in a game since high school prior to Monday night — a seven-year break in the action. Corkran also pointed out that Lechler’s and Allen’s recollection of Oakland practices seems to be a bit different, as Lechler said Goethel gets “zero” reps at long-snapper during a typical practice week.
Between Monday night’s ugly turn of events and the Redskins lineman who played an entire half with a broken arm, perhaps this will be the year where we start to appreciate the importance of the long-snapper.