This week, the Eagles signed Donnie Jones away from the Texans to be their punter, and with good reason. Last season, Mat McBriar was tied for last in the NFL with a net punting average of 36.5 yards. If you were an opposing punter facing the Eagles last season, there was a good chance you were going to have a good return or two. Here is what opposing punt returners did against the Eagles last season:
Part of that was poor hangtime by McBriar, poor tackling, bad contain, or bad angles to the returner. However, part of it was also the fault of the long snapper, Jon Dorenbos.
Dorenbos has become a bit of a folk hero in Philly. He has the trophy wife, he was in the running for MVP in 2010, and he’s extremely entertaining to watch in training camp. For example, I once watched him spit his gum out of his mouth and try to kick it into a trash can 20 yards away. He almost made it. It was actually very impressive. Or there was the time he squirted punter Chas Henry in his pants with a water bottle to make it look like he peed himself.
However, it was a little surprising to see the Eagles re-sign Dorenbos to a 4-year deal this offseason, because from a long snapping persepctive, he did not have a good 2012 season. A few weeks ago, when I was timing the releases of Michael Vick and Nick Foles, I did so watching the condensed version on NFL.com’s Game Rewind feature. The condensed version allows you to watch a full game in about 20 minutes. (They cut out all the downtime). After Eagles possessions that would end in a punt, I would often see the punt snap before getting a chance to fast forward to the next Eagles possession. I happened to notice a lot of bad snaps, so I wanted to go back and take a more thorough look.
I watched every punt snap on the season, and found that a little more than 1 out of every 5 long snaps were not good. Here were the bad ones:
2) Low and to the side: