Updated, 7:20 p.m. ET
The Jets have made one “snap decision” and one other “big little” transaction today with the re-signing of long-snapper Tanner Purdum and the signing of unrestricted free agent linebacker Antwan Barnes.
Barnes first. The 6’1″, 251-pound outside ‘backer from the Chargers has been reunited with his old D-coordinator, Rex Ryan, and DBs coach, Dennis Thurman, of course. He played the first two of his first three NFL seasons on Rex’s Baltimore defenses in ’07 and ’08. After ’09, he was traded to Philadelphia, released, then signed by San Diego, which used him at OLB behind Shaun Phillips from ’10 through most of last season.
Barnes has a nice 23.5-sack total for only 78 games and five starts, and that was pumped up by his big 11 sacks in ’11, nine of which he hung up in the Chargers’ last 10 games after they game to North Jersey and lost to the Jets in October.
Barnes tweeted on his verified Twitter account several hours ago, “Green and white it is…just want to thank coach rex coach DT and mr idzik for the opportunity…and to the fans I won’t let down.” A short while later, though, he corrected himself: “Wait a minute…not official yet…in talks now…”
But just a minute ago AB returned to fait accompli mode: “Now its official#jetnation.”
Regarding Purdum, we say small in the paradoxical sense. The deal is not small to Tanner and his family, nor to recently re-signed K Nick Folk and incumbent punter/holder Robert Malone, nor by extension to the point production and field position desires of Ben Kotwica’s special teams, Marty Mornhinweg’s offense, Dennis Thurman’s defense, and HC Rex Ryan’s team.
That’s because Purdum for the past three seasons has been pur-fect, at least as far as looking upside down through his legs and putting the ball fast and true through a small window snap after snap.
He’s played in 55 games as a Jet, including three playoff games in 2010, and has made 488 snaps, 275 on punts and 213 on placements. We won’t say there hasn’t been a snap slightly high, low or wide, but not one of the 488 has skipped to his holder or sailed over his punter’s head.
Even though the NFL’s snapping quality seems about as high as its placekicking quality, snaps do go awry and thus get charged as fumbles to the snapper and rushes for no yards to the player who ends up with the peripatetic pigskin. Purdum’s been charged with no fumbles in his three seasons, and the only times a punter or holder took off with the ball, it was on purpose instead of out of self-preservation.
The last mishandled Jets mis-snap, whether due to snapper or holder, that we can recall was when James Dearth fired a field goal snap to holder Steve Weatherford back in Week 6 of the 2009 season against the Bills.
All of this in no way should imply that Purdum is the lone exception to GM John Idzik’s dictum of “Competition through and through.” At the moment his competition on the roster for the long-snapper’s job is Travis Tripucka, signed as a reserve/future free agent in January.
Tripucka played his high school ball in Mountain Lakes, N.J., 15 minutes up the road from the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center, then was the long-time long-snapper for UMass and a top defenseman for the Minutemen’s lacrosse team. He was signed by the St. Louis Rams to long-snap last year and made it to a late-August cut.
Two things about Tripucka: He’s from the athletic Tripucka family — dad Kelly played hoops for Notre Dame, the Pistons, Jazz and Hornets and was a Knicks color analyst for four seasons. And grandfather Frank was an original AFL quarterback who threw eight touchdown passes in six games for the Broncos against the New York Titans from 1960-62.
The other: Tripucka, like Purdum three years earlier, comes to the Jets after a summer look from one of the NFL’s Missouri teams. Purdum was a cut of the Chiefs back in ’09.
Tags: Antwan Barnes, Baltimore Ravens, Frank Tripucka, James Dearth, Kelly Tripucka, Nick Folk, Rex Ryan, Robert Malone, San Diego Chargers, Steve Weatherford, Tanner Purdum, Travis Tripucka
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