Dealing Cards: Aaron Brewer takes over at long snapper
TEMPE, Ariz. — Last season, Aaron Brewer was in the process of winning a Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos.
You probably never heard of him, though.
Brewer was the team’s long snapper, and as pretty much anyone who plays that position will tell you, the less you know about them the better. On Wednesday, the Cardinals signed Brewer to replace Kameron Canaday, a rookie who made enough mistakes over the first three weeks of the season to necessitate a change.
“It’s a blessing, man,” Brewer said Thursday. “I’m just happy to be here. Excited for the opportunity to do the best I can do.”
Cardinals guard Evan Mathis, who was a teammate of Brewer’s last season, is glad he’s here, too.
“Brewer is a very talented guy,” he said. “He’s a very reliable guy to have out there. I thought he was a really good signing.”
Brewer spent the last four seasons with the Broncos, and was in training camp this year with the Chicago Bears before being part of the team’s final roster cuts on Sept. 5. He has appeared in 64 regular season games along with eight playoff contests, and that experience is something head coach Bruce Arians on Wednesday said is important.
Brewer understands the sentiment, saying the more you do something the better you get. There is also the knowledge that comes from the different looks and situations he has seen and been through that a younger player may not have.
But it wasn’t long ago — actually, less than a week — where he was an unemployed, experienced long snapper. That all changed when the Cardinals had a need.
“It was awesome,” he said. “I came in for a workout and just tried to impress them, do the best I could do. And like I said, it’s a blessing.”
Brewer said while he was hoping for a call to come he did not watch much football other than San Diego State, which is where he went to college. He did spend time working out and snapping because he wanted to stay sharp while waiting for a chance.
“It’s the same thing as like, people like to relate it to golf — maybe not, but just the muscle memory,” he said.
Until he snaps — and snaps well — in a game, there will likely be some uneasiness among those who are watching the team. Long snapper is generally not a position people focus on, but there’s a spotlight on it now.
Brewer understands the sign of him doing a good job is no one noticing, and in time, the hope is people will forget he’s even here. He’s also hoping to win a second consecutive Super Bowl, and understands he joined a team that harbors championship aspirations.
“This is a great team, a great organization,” he said. “I’m super stoked to be here.”
The official report can be seen here, and the good news for the Cardinals is that receiver Michael Floyd and safety Tyrann Mathieu were upgraded to being full participants in Thursday’s practice. Guard Evan Mathis was again limited, as were cornerback Justin Bethel, safety Tyvon Branch and linebackers Markus Golden and Kareem Martin.
Speaking of Mathis
The Cardinals were without their veteran right guard last week in Buffalo, and given some of the struggles replacement Earl Watford had, they are most certainly hoping he will be ready to go for Sunday with the Rams’ explosive defensive front coming to town.
His return to practice would seem like a positive sign, but Mathis, who is recovering from turf toe, said Thursday he is no sure thing.
“I’ve progressed, I keep saying, a few percentages each day; I’m progressing in the right direction,” he said. “There’s been no major setbacks, so I’m heading the right way.”
In working his way back, Mathis said he is weighing pain tolerance, the risk for re-injury and the functionality of what’s injured.
That defensive front
The Rams are certainly not known for their offense, and that’s fair because it so far has been one of the worst in the league. Where they excel is on defense, and especially up front.
Aaron Donald, Robert Quinn, William Hayes and Michael Brockers are the key guys, and their linebackers, including Alec Ogletree — are a force to be reckoned with, especially when it comes to rushing the passer.
Stopping them, of course, starts up front with the offensive line.
“That comes down to guys getting their hands on people, making sure we soften them up in the run game, being able to run the ball to try to slow down the pass rush,” offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin said. “These guys, from Quinn to Donald and Hayes, all those guys, they’re pretty good — some of the best in the league.
“So we’ve got a hell of a challenge. For the most part, if we can run the ball we’ll be able to slow them down, and we’ve got to do a good job on that first.”