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Inside the Numbers: Jets Long-Snappers

Tomlinson's 7 Punt Snaps at Denver for Injured Hennessy 'Weren't Perfect' Yet Got the Job Done


With Thomas Hennessy clearing the NFL's concussion protocol and being listed as ready for New Orleans, the Jets have dodged a special bullet. In the meantime, they found out they have an acceptable LS depth chart with Eric Tomlinson filling in if needed.

"Seven punts with a backup long-snapper — I don't know how often that's been done," said ST coordinator Brant Boyer. "He did a hell of a job."

"Give a lot of credit to the punt team and Lach [Edwards] for handling them because the snaps weren't perfect," Tomlinson said. "But it went better than I thought. I never really had reps in practice at it, so it was good to see us get the punts off."

Tomlinson said in fact he had never long-snapped in his football career. But he told Boyer one day, "I think I can do it," and he said from there his reps all came after practice alongside the coach.

After Hennessy was injured while covering the Jets' first punt at Denver, Boyer said the sideline exchange between him and Tomlinson went like this:

BB: "Hey, man, you're up."

ET, giving Coach "knuckles": "I got you, Boyer."

Since this is Inside the Numbers, we'll leave our snap discussion with this amazing fact about the capricious nature of football.

For 16 seasons, 268 games and 2,366 snaps, from 2001-16, the Jets had two long-snappers, James Dearth and Tanner Purdum — as many as they've had in 13 games and 123 snaps this season.

Three Plays and a PuntThe Jets defense hasn't turned the opponents over for three consecutive games, but a saving grace for the unit is that opponents have been forced into dancing the 1-2-3-punt conga.

The defense has posted 3-and-out stops 44 times in 155 drives this season. That's a 28.4% drive rate that is third-best in the NFL behind Denver's 31.3% and Arizona's 30.2%. The rest of the top ten — Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Tennessee, New Orleans, Jacksonville and Carolina — suggests that while 3-and-out defense doesn't lead automatically to a super season, it's often part of a winning package.

That's perhaps underscored by considering the three best 3-and-out defensive rates in franchise history. The 2009 Jets had a 34.2% rate, in 1968 it was 34.0% and 2010 it was 31.3%. Three playoff teams.

"Yeah, we take pride in 3-and-outs," LB Demario Davis said. "When we get into our rhythm in a game and we get them back-to-back, that's where we want to be. ... It gives our offense the ball in good field position, holds the other team right where they are. It changes the magnitude of the game."

But can it change the magnitude of Sunday's game? Drew Brees and the Saints are the league's No. 2 team in offensive 3-and-out rate at 16.3%.

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