In a potentially significant development for Saturday night’s playoff game, the Denver Broncos are without their long snapper.
Lonnie Paxton has been ruled out for the game at New England, the team confirmed today. Paxton has missed practice this week for what the team has described as personal, family reasons.
The team hasn’t said what those personal, family issues are, but Broncos coach John Fox sounded concerned about Paxton personally, more than he was concerned about the status of his special teams.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family,” Fox said Thursday.
Anyone who remembers the playoff game between the Giants and 49ers nine years ago knows how important a long snapper can be in a playoff game. In that game, the Giants’ recently signed long snapper, Trey Junkin, botched a snap on what could have been a game-winning field goal, and the Giants lost.
It’s not immediately clear who will handle the long snapping for the Broncos. Adam Caplan of Sirius/XM reports that they worked out two long snappers yesterday. With the old adage that you only notice long snappers when they do something wrong in mind, Broncos fans will hope that they don’t notice Paxton’s replacement on Saturday.