Morgan Cox is one of the newest members of the Baltimore Ravens, and you will know how good he is by NOT hearing his name on Sundays.
That is just the way the business works when it comes to long snappers.
“A good long snapper is one where no one knows his name,” Cox told Drew Forrester of “The Morning Reaction” Tuesday.
In a way, Cox wouldn’t have it any other way. When he explains his job to others, he usually just associates it with the other specialists on the team.
“If I’m explaining long snapping to someone, I usually associate it with the punter or the field goal kicker. The first question I ask is ‘Do you know what they do?’. That’s when I say ‘I send the ball to him’.”
Cox replaces Matt Katula, who was the Ravens primary long snapper for five seasons, ranging from 2005 to last year.
Katula was released August 13 after his injury concerns mounted by the coaching staff, on top of Katula showing some consistency issues at the end of last year.
Cox, a rookie out of the University of Tennessee, has already seen action in the first two preseason games long snapping to kickers Shayne Graham and Billy Cundiff, as well as punter Sam Koch.
Cox told Forrester that he will always have the utmost amount of respect for Katula because he was such a friend, mentor, and professional during their time together.
“I have the utmost respect for Matt and the career he had here,” Cox said. “Certainly he helped me when I got here getting acclamated to the system. He was a great guy. He certainly had the opportunity to not be, but he was a good friend and hopefully we will remain friends after this.”
And if it was easy to get comfortable with Katula; now Cox has to be on the same page with the specialists on this team. So far, he has gotten a lot of feedback from a Pro-Bowl caliber punter in Koch.
“Sam has definitely told me, ‘I’ve had the same snap from Matt the past four years’, so it’s just one of the things I have to get used to.”
“He’s been great so far in adjusting the same way he’s been adjusting me to getting comfortable snapping to him and getting used to this whole new atmosphere.”
And Cox knows that he and the player he replaced in Matt Katula have different ways of approaching and doing their job.
“Matt’s and my snapping style are a lot different. He is more a gunslinger kind of guy and he throws it real hard especially on punts. He’s a little bit faster than I am, but just to a naked eye it’d be difficult to see. But on a stopwatch is when you would see it probably. But I try and make up for that as far as accurarcy goes and getting it right at the hip, that way Sam is walking right into it.”
Cox has also gotten close to the two competing kickers on the Ravens roster in former Bengal Shayne Graham and the incumbent kicker in Billy Cundiff. And while he will only be working with one of them in the next several weeks, he hopes that the Ravens would keep both of them as long as they can.
“They both have done a great job. Both guys are awesome guys. And I hope they can stick around.”
Sometimes, there is a lot of pressure on the long snapper to perform in a high=pressure kicking situation. But make no mistake-Cox should be able to handle the new pressure of the NFL; he played in a stadium in Neyland Stadium at “Rocky Top” that can hold over 100,000 people at one time.
“It was pretty cool being suurrounded by that much Orange. It is a sight to see. And playing for Coach [Phil] Fulmer and Coach [Lane] Kiffin was two different experiences that were both very fun and had a lot of energy.”
Cox said his last year with Kiffin, who recently jumped to USC to replace Pete Carroll and the ex-coach of the Oakland Raiders, really prepared him for the NFL.
“It was a fun year. I really enjoyed it. I got acclamated with a new punt system which actually helped me get into the pro-punt formation getting used to blocking in that system. That helped me a lot, and it was a new coaching staff with a different energy that had a lot of fun playing.”
But he made sure to not underestimate the NFL because if you do, you get run over-and you lose your job just like Katula did before him, and Joe Maese before Katula.
“There is a definite difference in speed, and concentration as far as special teams goes. The level of intensity has turned up as far as the NFL. When we get into the regular season, that’s the time when I’ll really feel the difference and the full gravity to where I am. But up till now, the preseason’s been great to get my experience, and understand where I am and where I want to go.”
Tune into WNST and continue reading WNST.net as we hope to never talk about Morgan Cox again! If we do, that means he is not doing his job! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!