One-on-one with the Cardinals’ Mike Leach

Aug 9, 2011, 3:20 PM | Updated: 11:12 pm

The poor long-snapper. Only noticed when things go wrong, his job is as thankless as it is obscure. But times, they are a changin’. Mike Leach, who starts off every punt and field goal for the Cardinals, answered some questions for us via text message. So go ahead, don’t be afraid, step into the mind of a long-snapper.

Penguin Air
Paul Calvisi:: Would it be easier to long snap for distance or accuracy? 

Mike Leach: I'd like to say I'd be better in an accuracy competition than one for distance. Lots of guys can snap it fast and far, but the ones who can do it accurately get paid to do it. What a great country! Paul Calvisi:: If I ask u to long snap for distance, how far? 

Mike Leach: Not quite sure how far I can snap a ball. Maybe 40 yards? Just a guess. I'll have to find out sometime this week.  Paul Calvisi:: Care to share a tale where u clutched up in the clutch?

Mike Leach: Not quite in the clutch moment of the game, but I once threw a perfect extra point snap to local legend Jake Plummer in Denver vs. Oakland. The problem was that he wasn't looking yet, and I hit him right in the throat. Fortunately, we won 20-0.  Paul Calvisi:: Which snap R U most proud of and why? 

Mike Leach: I can't say I'm more proud of one snap than any other. It's always great to be involved in a game-winning FG though. We had a great one in Buffalo when I played for Denver. We had 12 seconds to get on the field and get the kick off. Buffalo's fans were counting down the seconds, which actually helped us. I snapped the ball w/1 second on the clock and Jason Elam made the 40+ yarder in bad weather. That was a fun plane ride home.  Paul Calvisi: :Once u snap the ball, then what? What's your job then? 

Mike Leach: On punts, I block the defender for whom I'm responsible. That changes based on the defensive look. Then I wait for the punt, cover downfield and try to get in on the tackle. On FG's, all of my focus is on the holder. FG snaps have to be more precise. Plus the rotation of the ball has to be perfect to ensure that the laces are out when he catches it. Refer to "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective" for further explanation. Paul Calvisi: : If the Lockout would've blown out the season, what other job could u have done? Meaning does long snapping qualify u for any other occupation? 

Mike Leach: I'm qualified for nothing else. Zero. My skill set is very limited. I guess that means I can do sports radio!  Paul Calvisi: Not anyone can long snap, so what sort of skill set or measurables is required to make it in NFL? 

Mike Leach: As far as skill sets, if you can throw it overhand, you can snap it. Scouts are concerned with measurables at all positions, but those "measurables" don't always mean a guy can play. I don't put much stock in them.  Paul Calvisi: In Flagstaff, does the altitude impact the flight or trajectory of your snap? 

Mike Leach: No. We use different types of gasses inside the ball to counterbalance the effects of altitude.  Paul Calvisi: Are long snappers like pitchers? Do u have a repertoire of snaps (fastball, curve, change) or is it "one snap fits all" situations? 

Mike Leach: One snap fits all. Consistency is the key. You don't want your punter or holder wondering what's coming next.

Paul Calvisi

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One-on-one with the Cardinals’ Mike Leach