FOXBORO, Mass. — There was little to complain about Sunday after the New England Patriots beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 33-3 in their 2019 season opener. So, nitpicks tend to get a little overblown.
One of those critiques from Sunday’s performance was the shotgun snapping of starting center Ted Karras. Karras is filling in for regular starter David Andrews, who is on season-ending injured reserve after he was hospitalized with a blood clot in his lungs. Some of Karras’ shotgun snaps were on the slower side Sunday night.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was asked about the snaps Monday morning in a conference call.
“The timing when the quarterback is in the shotgun is different than when he’s under center because he has the ball in his hands through the entire drop where it’s different when he’s five yards behind the center and has to catch the ball and then go through his footwork and so forth,” Belichick said. “If there’s a variance in the snap, either speed or accuracy, then runs over into the footwork and timing of the play then that’s just another added degree of difficulty. I’d say that’s one of the many things that we can do better.”
Karras didn’t know the shotgun snaps were an issue until he saw fans commenting about them on social media after the game, according to Evan Lazar of CLNS.
“There were a couple floaters there but just something to be mindful of and work on,” Karras said Monday.
Brady went 24-of-36 for 341 yards with three touchdowns and only was sacked once. So, in the grand scheme of things, the snaps didn’t seem to affect the Patriots’ offensive performance much. Still, anything can help.
“If it’s anything that’s not up to standard, then you gotta work on it,” Karras said. “Of all the things that we could be highlighting, that’s one that isn’t that horrible, but it’s important, though. Be mindful of it, work on it and just fix it.”
The Patriots likely will need another reserve to step up after right tackle Marcus Cannon went down with a shoulder injury in the fourth quarter Sunday night. The Patriots’ options are inserting Korey Cunningham in at right tackle or moving Joe Thuney from left guard to right tackle. If Thuney moves, then the Patriots could either play Jermaine Elumunor at left guard or move Karras to guard and have James Ferentz play center. The Patriots also could re-sign Russell Bodine to play center. They have plenty of options if Cannon has to miss time.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images