March 13, 2013

Saints Lock Up Long Snapper

The Saints have agreed to a new contract with long snapper Justin Drescher, pulling him back off the free agent market.  Various online reports indicate the contract is four years.

The Saints' long snapper since midway through the 2010 season, Drescher curiously was allowed to hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent.  A restricted free agent, the Saints did not give him a qualifying tender, allowing him to hit the market yesterday at 3pm.  Perhaps to test his market value, perhaps to help the team squeeze under the cap, Drescher became an unrestricted free agent.

Often taken for granted but surely noticed when field goal and punt snaps go awry, the long snapper is a good long-term investment for a team.  Four years out of Colorado, Drescher has snapped in 38 games for the Saints.  Drescher, 6'0.5", 245, snapped for Colorado all four years of his collegiate career.

The Saints held a competitive tryout in November 2010 after losing long snapper Jason Kyle to a season-ending injury.  Drescher lost out to Jake Ingram, who snapped for the Saints in a November 21 game against Seattle. The Saints botched an extra point attempt and a missed field goal in that game with Ingram snapping. While the field goal was blamed on PK Garrett Hartley, Ingram was blamed for the bad extra point snap, during which then placeholder Chase Daniel got up, scrambled and was inches away from an impromptu two -point conversion.  Daniel raced to the corner pylon but was tackled just short of the goal line.

Drescher was signed the next day and has held the job ever since, and formed a unique trio for special teams as he, holder Chase Daniel and placekicker Garrett Hartley all went to Westlake Carroll high school in Southlake, Texas.  Daniel signed with the Chiefs yesterday.

After using the services of just two men, Kendall Gammon and Kevin Houser, for 13 seasons between 1996 and 2008, the Saints used three long snappers in 2010: Kyle, Ingram and Drescher.  Veteran Kyle had been signed to replace Houser, cut by the Saints in the summer of 2009 after an investment deal he led went bad.  Houser would be sued by a number of Saints and head coach Sean Payton.

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