For the most part, the NFL is often a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” business. But the keyword there is “business”. As such, there are times when teams make a change even though something is working quite well.
Case in point: The Las Vegas Raiders signing Jacob Bobenmoyer as a free agent and then releasing Trent Sieg.
Bobenmoyer is the new cog in a kicking battery with place kicker Daniel Carlson and punter AJ Cole III. The southpaw long snapper — who is familiar with Raiders special teams boss Tom McMahon from their time with the Denver Broncos together, respectively — assumes the mantle left by Sieg. The trio of Sieg, Carlson, and Cole was a productive one as the long snapper played a pivotal role in Carlson earning first- and second-team NFL All-Pro honors in 2022 and 201, respectively, and Cole getting first-team and Pro Bowl nod in 2021, and another Pro Bowl appearance in 2022.
Sieg, who joined the Raiders in 2018 as a 23-year-old undrafted free agent out of Colorado State signed with the Dallas Cowboys after he was released on March 19, just a day after Las Vegas inked Bobenmoyer.
”Well, it’s one of those things where from a business side and from an operation side, we decided to go with a different player,” McMahon said when asked about the swap at long snapper.
Change is eventual in the NFL at some point and with a new long snapper in tow, the new trio of Bobenmoyer, Carlson and Cole are getting as many snaps together as they can. The repetition and rapport building is crucial for Cole who not only receives the snaps from Bobenmoyer as a punter, but as the holder to Carlson’s field goal attempts.
“I mean yeah, it’s still coming from an upside-down human being, so that part’s the same,” Cole said on the adjustment to Bobenmoyer delivering the long snaps. “There’s just a lot of reps we’ve got to get in, time to catch up, but that’s what this time of year is for. I mean, the quarterbacks, the receivers, the O-line, D-line, everybody’s going through the same thing right now. So, this time of year sort of just a race to get better.
“So, it’s just between now and September — whenever our first game is - is how many reps can we get together and how much trust can we have in each other by the time we hit that first field, the time it counts.”
The synergy Cole and Carlson are building with the 26-year-old Bobenmoyer may seem insignificant. And in the long run, if the Raiders new special teams battery continues to hum along, no will bat an eye. Usually, no one cares about a long snapper until something goes awry — remember the ill-fated time when linebacker Travis Goethel had to snap for an injured Jon Condo in the Raiders 2012 season-opener against the then-San Diego Chargers?
Because of that, Bobenmoyer, Carlson and Cole are spending as much time together on the field as they are off to build that all-important relationship.
“Yeah, I mean we spend a lot of time together, right. Like, everybody else is doing their own Chemistry is something the Raiders special teams room had with Sieg. So much so, Cole spoke about how losing the long snapper affected him.
“So, when you get the news, it’s something that you realize like, ‘Oh, I’m not going to sit next to him on the plane anymore. I’m not going to have coffee with him every morning,’” Cole said. “So there’s the on-field part of it, which is he’s a great long snapper, he’s a great player. And then there’s the human part of it too which in a lot of ways hurts worse.”
But it’s full-steam ahead with Bobenmoyer now hurling the snaps.
“I think it’s probably about the same. I mean, he’s left-handed, so it’s spinning the opposite way, but besides that, it’s still a long snap, it’s still the same deal,” Cole said.