The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted eight players this year. Only five of them were healthy enough to play for them during the team’s preseason opener. But only four of them were actually talked about. Sure, a lot was made of T.J. Watt and Joshua Dobbs, both of whom played extensively. Brian Allen and JuJu Smith-Schuster were noticed as well.
Colin Holba? Nobody really seemed to realize he was playing. And, generally, that is a good thing when you are a long snapper, so he has that going at least.
But while I will be the first to admit that I am far from an expert on special teams performances—or at least the specialist positions—I do hesitate to wonder about a couple of his snaps that the sixth-round pick had against the Giants.
It is worth noting that the Steelers did use both long snappers on the roster, the other being Kameron Canaday, a first-year player who was on the Cardinals’ roster for the first few games a year ago before he was cut, making a couple of bad snaps in the process.
So the goal is obviously to make sure that Holba is a guy who is going to pan out, rather than hoping that somebody who has already been cut one is going to be the answer. That means that his snaps are going to receive greater scrutiny than normal, something that we never really thought about when it comes to Greg Warren.
That includes the amateur eyes of those like myself who quite honestly surely have a lot to learn about what makes a good snap, aside from the obvious. But two snaps did catch my eye in the second half, and perhaps it’s worth talking about them.
On Chris Boswell’s first field goal attempt of the game toward the end of the first half, it was my impression that Holba’s snap came a bit too far into the holder’s chest, which seemed to give him a slight struggle to get the ball down. But Boswell connected from 48 yards out.
The second snap came later toward the end of the game, about through the middle of the fourth quarter. The offense just sputtered, throwing two incomplete passes and then failing to execute a draw run on third down, resulting in a punt attempt from their own 35.
With Holba as the long snapper, he certainly didn’t appear to get all he could muster on the release backward. The ball hung up a little bit en route to the kicker, but Jordan Berry was still able to boot it 54 yards, and the coverage got there to secure a 51-yard net.
With no harm, no foul on either encounter, and with my admittedly rudimentary analysis, I don’t think we should be prepared to sound the alarm on the long snapper front. But I do think it’s something we should pay attention to.