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How Zak DeOssie’s struggles are impacting Giants’ placekicker Aldrick Rosas

There’s something to blame for Rosas’s recent skid

New York Giants v New York Jets Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

0-for-2 is not exactly a stellar performance from a Pro Bowl kicker. Giants placekicker Aldrick Rosas had a rough day on Sunday against the Chicago Bears, and he was visibly frustrated. Missing both field goals that would have granted the Giants the lead in a 19-14 loss takes a toll on the psyche of a young kicker.

On his first miss from 42 yards we all saw clearly what happened on the operation thanks to Fox’s angle on the play.

Long-snapper Zak DeOssie made an egregious error, literally rolling to ball to holder Riley Dixon. It doesn’t take much to know that a snap that skids on the ground is not up to the standard of the NFL.

But why did Rosas miss this kick even though Riley Dixon was able to recover on the hold? Field goals, like all special teams plays, are based on execution. In this specific scenario they require a perfect operation from everyone making contact with the football.

The 7- to 8-yard snap must be placed at the hand of the holder with the laces out as he catches it. The holder must securely catch the ball and place it down in a precise spot with a slight tilt to his body. The kicker must take rhythmic steps with a sense of urgency as he swings across with his foot.

Last week, Ed spoke with former Giants placekicker Lawrence Tynes. He noted that “the operation has been a little bit off” for the Giants on placekicks. Against the Bears, obviously, it was more than a little off.

DeOssie’s error is not an uncommon one. One re-occurring technique issue for snappers is not properly following through. On this snap, DeOssie releases the ball around his heels, which is just a split second too early. Whenever I’ve dealt with an issue like this in my own snapping it was almost always because I was too focused on blocking oncoming defenders.

If anything is at all slightly disrupted, it can lead to a missed field goal or extra point. On this play, Rosas can see the ball was rolled to his holder, leading to hesitation and worry. Instead of focusing on his approach to the ball, Rosas’ focus is now on if Dixon can get the ball down in time. When anything bad happens with the snap, even the most confident kicker will worry if he will make this kick.

Really good specialists are not just technically sound. The largest driving force for any specialist is their mental state and confidence. If negative thoughts creep up, they can lead to subconsciously making a mistake. This is what leads even the best kickers to go on cold streaks.

For that reason, it’s not shocking that Rosas would go on to miss his next field goal. He was questioning not only his own ability but that of his snapper. Throughout the whole season DeOssie has had a number of mediocre snaps, and it culminated Sunday with the worst one of his 13-year career.

Kicking coaches tell specialists they need to have a short memory. You have to move on to the next play, and not let the last mistake snowball. However, for Rosas he cannot just move on. With his veteran snapper hanging him out to dry, how can he focus on himself when he is clearly worrying about the rest of the operation?

EDITOR’S NOTE: Joe DeLeone has been the long-snapper for the University of Rhode Island the past four seasons.