Tanner Purdum spends a good portion of his professional life looking upside down through his legs. But he likes that view, not to mention the scene he's seeing of our locker room when he's rightside up.
"Since everybody got back for the offseason program, you had that continuance from the end of last season," the Jets long-snapper said at the end of the recent full-squad minicamp. "And for someone who was there in 2010, this team feels as close as that team did back in that offseason, more than it did the other years."
Purdum keeps on doing his part for the enthusiasm and optimism of this 2014 team, now on its break but heading to Cortland and training camp in three weeks. His snaps are some of the surest bets in the special teams operation.
Consider that since he replaced James Dearth as our snapper for that 2010 season, he's made 639 regular-season and playoff snaps for placements and punts, and he hasn't been debited with a single fumble or errant snap.
Want a teammate testimonial? Kicker Nick Folk said that of last season's 63 snaps for his field goal and extra point tries, "I think we had one snap where the laces weren't where they should've been."
Purdum tips his hat to Folk and punter/holder Ryan Quigley for the year's strong kicking game.
"Everything's going really well. T-Mac and Louie [special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey and assistant coach Louie Aguiar] do a great job, and it's nice to have some continuity with Quigley and Nick," he said. "Their success is helping drive my success."
Tanner's another special-teamer who has valued the contributions of McGaughey, who is our first coach to come in from the outside and coordinate the Green & White specialists since Mike Westhoff in 2001.
"I like him. He thinks a lot like me," Purdum said. "He long-snapped, which is awesome for me. And he's very understanding. He's a production-type guy, so whatever he needs to do to help us produce and get the end result that is wanted, that's what he'll do."
Special Teams in Action: New York Jets Specialists
As I occasionally like to remind fans, I believe Tanner is the only current Jets player who's already been a college coach. He was a graduate assistant at Avila and Baker, two Kansas universities, and he even got his master's from Baker in '09 before his pro career took off.
It's that coaching and education part of his personality that he'll put into play at his camp, the third RSR Football Clinic, a three-day event from July 11-13 open to "kids from 8 years old to eighth grade" that's being held at Drew University in Madison, NJ, several long snaps (really long ones) from the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center in Florham Park.
"I've been a coach and run many camps, so it's a normal thing. I've helped with some other pro camps, seen things I've liked and things I'd like to change," he said. "From the feedback I get from the parents, they love that I'm so honest with their children. I don't know if their other coaches are. I tell them what I see and they can do with it what they want. I haven't got a whole lot of complaints so I've had good luck with that so far."
As with his long-snapping, we think there's a little more than luck that has gone into Tanner Purdum's teaching ability. Both sets of skills, the coaching and the snapping, will be on display in the next several weeks.