Tuesday, December 26, 2023

For Giants' Casey Kreiter, football is a snap and he's got it down to a science


New York Giants long snapper Casey Kreiter (58) adjusting his jersey before the start of an NFL football game against Washington Football Team, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020, in Landover, Md. Credit: Al Drago


By Kimberly Jones


Updated December 23, 2023 5:41 pm

Casey Kreiter is a student of the game.

The Giants' long snapper takes his job seriously. He also takes it home with him.

“It’s truly like art,” Kreiter said in a conversation with Newsday. “My family thinks I’m nuts because I can talk pass protection for hours.”

If there were such a thing as eating, sleeping and breathing a job, Kreiter probably would sign up. He loves what he does.

And Giants special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey counts on him, to say the least.

“Casey’s the glue,” McGaughey said. “He’s the glue to our special teams unit. He is the quarterback of our punt team. He’s a great leader, he’s insightful, he thinks like a coach on the field.

"He gets the guys together every week. He does his own scouting report, writes it on the board, they come in, they watch it, they talk about it, each unit as a whole, and I couldn’t begin to explain to you how much he means to us as a special teams group.”

Those words meant a lot to Kreiter. Long snappers aren’t often singled out.

“It’s a thankless job,” McGaughey said.

To Kreiter, doing his job in relative anonymity is ideal. Nobody notices a great long snap. But everyone can recognize one that gets away.

Kreiter is a perfectionist because he has to be.

“I was a guy who learned to snap by doing it,” he said. “When I’m snapping now — and I don’t watch my snap because I have to protect — but I can tell you within six inches where the snap ends up on the punter’s catch just based on how it feels leaving my hand. But that’s because I’ve snapped millions of football in my life.”


“Easily in the millions,” he said. “I was a guy who learned how to snap by just doing it. I had to feel my way into perfecting it. Hundreds of snaps a day, any target. I wasn’t in camps, was kind of self-taught, and I take a lot of pride in that.”

Between six-tenths and seven-tenths of a second isn’t a lot of time, but that's the range of time long snappers have to deliver the ball. Kreiter said there’s some wiggle room there, but not a lot. And there also are potential pitfalls.

“If you snap the ball as a long snapper really, really fast but you’re not consistent, you may be adding time on the back end for the punter to adjust,” Kreiter said. “If he’s not comfortable catching the ball, it just adds time.

"If you’re not on the fast end of snapping but the punter is super-comfortable and you’re consistent, he knows where the ball’s going to be and he can be faster on his end. It’s a little like jazz. There’s a marriage between the punter and the snapper.”

Just ask former Giants long snapper Zak DeOssie, who played 13 seasons, made two Pro Bowls and was a two-time Super Bowl champion.

He told Newsday that when he was playing, he spent more time with his teammates on special teams than he did with his wife.

Buffalo long snapper Reid Ferguson summarized the job in this way: “I would say the hardest part of the position is being able to diagnose what the defense is trying to do pre-snap, delivering a perfect snap to your punter, then getting your head back up to block the defender.”

Kreiter knows he can control only what he can control.

“If you’re in your snap longer and you snap [the ball] faster but you don’t block the guy in front of you and the punt gets blocked, you don’t have anything to cover,'' he said. "It’s about trying to find the right marriage with everything.”

A year ago, the Giants' upback/punt protector was Julian Love. When he left in free agency, safety Dane Belton took over that role.

For Belton, the job is about “calling what I see. Making sure everyone’s on the same page. It’s really talking a lot to Casey [and sometimes the guards] on the punt teams. We have a lot of calls, so it’s about making sure everyone is on the same page, is set and we’re ready to go.

"Casey is the one guy who can coach every spot to perfection, top to bottom. He’s seen so many looks. He’s really a coach on the field. He’s the guy.”

Belton estimates there is “probably 1.2 seconds” to ultimately get a kick off.

“If you mess up,” he said, “they’re back there blocking the punt.”

Not on Kreiter’s watch.

“He’s a professional’s professional,” Belton said. “He takes pride in everything he does. He leads us in the right direction. Just being able to rely on Casey to answer questions, he always knows the answer and he’s going to make sure we’re on the right page.”

By Kimberly Jones


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