By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com Staff Reporter Follow @dannypicard
FOXBORO --With news that the Patriots signed veteran long snapper JamesDearth on Tuesday, Patriots coach Bill Belichick talked in-depth about what he called a key position, and went out of his way to proclaim Steve DeOssie as the manwho single-handedly changed the position.
I think the risk that you run, when you have a regularplayer doing something like that, if something were to happen to them, thenyoud need a replacement in such a key position, said Belichick.
The guy that really changed the game was DeOssie, addedBelichick. When Dallas had him, they went to the spread front formation. Hewas able to snap and block. Prior to that, most teams kept their ends tight."
Belichick said that DeOssie changed the punting game from a9-on-10 at the line of scrimmage, to an 8-on-8, thanks to his special abilityto both snap and block. Before DeOssie did that, the center wasnt responsiblefor a man, and therefore, the kicking team was outnumbered.
DeOssies talents allowed punting teams to spread the ends,and clear things up, changing the game and the position. For that reason, the Patriots went out of their way to sign another long snapper Tuesday.
In a lot of respects, Steve really changed, in my opinion,he changed the punting game in the National Football League, and in college aswell, said Belichick. He was the first one to really allow teams to do that.And then people copied it, and other snappers came along.
Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.