<
>

Long snapper Jon Condo has a plan for leaping defenders

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Yes, Jon Condo saw the highlights of the Denver Broncos' improbable victory this past weekend, when Justin Simmons leaped over New Orleans Saints long-snapper Justin Drescher to block a potential game-winning PAT.

And sure, Condo saw Jared Crick push Drescher down and hold him on the turf to clear a path for Simmons.

But no, Condo, who is in his 10th season as the Oakland Raiders' long-snapper, has never had anyone attempt to either A) knock him down after a snap on a PAT or field-goal attempt, B) hold him down or C) jump over him.

Not that he would not have a plan in the event of option C, mind you. A college coach at Maryland gave him some sage advice long ago.

“I remember my coach said, ‘If a guy jumps, just punch him in the [groin],’” Condo recalled with a laugh.

“Fortunately, I’ve never had to do it. No one’s ever tried to leap over me.”

Leapers beware.

Because while Simmons’ block of Wil Lutz's kick was converted into a game-winning score for Denver with Will Parks picking up the ball and rumbling 84 yards down the left sideline (some saw him actually step on the sideline) with 1:22 to play, Condo is now aware should the Broncos try something similar on New Year’s Day in the season finale against the Raiders in Denver.

He did not sense the Broncos try to do anything similar, though, a week earlier in Oakland in the Raiders’ 30-20 defeat of the defending Super Bowl champs.

Rather, Condo, a Pro Bowler in 2009, sees teams trying to time the snap as they peel their ears back and go for the block.

“As a field-goal team, I think you’ve got to mix up your snap count a little bit to throw them off,” said Condo, who considers himself to have a higher center of gravity after the snap than other long-snappers.

And of course, Condo has issues with it being “legal” for a defense to knock and hold a snapper down after he snaps the ball to the holder.

“Obviously, I’m biased as a snapper,” he said. “I think that should be a penalty. He’s holding me; he’s preventing me from doing my job, which is blocking my gap or someone on the top of me.

“On punts and field goals, guys try to rush that C gap, and if a long-snapper grabs a (defender) by the shoulder and is turning them? They’ll call that every time. To me, it’s no different than what they’re trying to do to snappers.”

Moral of the story? If you’re going to attempt to leap over a long-snapper, wear a cup.