In what’s become the talking point among Ravens fans since Sunday, Matt Katula has gone from relative no-name long snapper to special teams scapegoat. Although in the end, it didn’t affect the game’s outcome, Katula cost Billy Cundiff two field goals on Sunday at Oakland with bad snaps. This is nothing new. In my opinion, two of Katula’s snaps cost Steve Hauschka field goals, including missing the game winner against Minnesota. He snapped one over Sam Koch’s head on a punt, and has become a well-known commodity on the Ravens roster. Other than Katula, how many long snappers in the NFL can you think of? Maybe one who you heard about in a game? You’re not supposed to know who the long snapper is.
Sunday’s game, if the Ravens show up to play, will be competitive and fierce, and will likely be close. In a close game, field goals are the key. If one team hits a late-game field goal, they have a huge advantage. Field goals can’t go through the uprights if the snap is bad, and it throws off the timing. The routine is practiced so much that one little slip-up can turn a seamless operation into a disaster. Katula’s snaps to Sam Koch on field goals and extra points have been low and inside, if we’re talking in baseball terms, and that may be solely due to the nagging tendinitis in his right elbow, but it needs to stop, and fast. He’s been solid as a Raven, replacing the very able Joe Maese, and Sunday is a massive game for him if he wants to keep his job. The team is putting a lot of faith in Matt Katula, and hopefully it pays off.