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Morning Tailgate: McDermott Does More than Snap

Posted Nov 1, 2013

The 49ers long snapper uses his size to help the special teams unit in another way: blocking at the line of scrimmage and downfield.

You're not alone if you've ever thought to yourself, Man, I could be an NFL long snapper.

The job looks easy. As 49ers specialist Kevin McDermott and Brian Jennings before him could explain, it's not.

It's also not only about snapping the football between your legs to a punter on punts and the holder on field goal and extra-point tries.

So even if you're an ace at these tasks, consider that size matters. McDermott uses his 6-foot-4, 234-pound frame in two significant ways.

First of all: While snappers are protected by rule from charging defensive lineman on field goal attempts, they remain vulnerable on punt plays. And San Francisco special teams coach Brad Seely isn't alone in lining up his bigger players across the opposing team's snapper, trying to take advantage of their weakness in blocking.

Secondly, and more interestingly: When McDermott snaps the ball, he has it so far out in front of him that he makes the neutral zone – where the opposing rushers are coming from – that much further away from his fellow blockers.

There's also the specialist's task of running downfield on punts in the unlikely event they're in the position to make a tackle. McDermott, an athletic ex-college tight end, still seeks his first NFL takedown, while Jennings recorded four assists in his 13 seasons with the 49ers.

Read all about McDermott's rise in this 49ers.com feature.

For more storylines surrounding the team, check out this edition of Morning Tailgate links, presented by State Farm.

Bill Williamson of ESPN.com reviewed the 49ers draft class at the season’s midpoint.

Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle wondered aloud when Aldon Smith will play in a game.

Scott Kegley of 49ers.com wrote about the Greg Roman’s near-complete arsenal on offense.