It hasn’t been talked about a lot because of the myriad of injuries the Cardinals have had throughout the roster, but the loss of long snapper Aaron Brewer is being felt.
Brewer suffered a broken forearm in the team’s Week 9 win over the 49ers. Two days later, three long snappers had tryouts and the Cardinals signed Kyle Nelson to the practice squad.
However, the team had to scramble when Nelson injured his knee in his first practice and Beau Brinkley was signed to the practice squad two days before the Week 10 loss to Carolina. Brewer was placed on reserve/injured, knocking him out for at least three games.
Brinkley wasn’t on point against the Panthers, which is understandable, considering he hadn’t snapped in a game since November of 2020 with the Titans. It wasn’t noticed amid the 34-10 loss, but it was Sunday against Seattle.
On the first field-goal attempt missed by kicker Matt Prater (from 39 yards), the snap was far to the right of holder Andy Lee and didn’t appear to be snapped with enough speed.
On Prater’s next field-goal miss (from 36 yards), the ball was placed down with the laces toward the kicker. Although Prater did hit from 53 yards, he also missed an extra point.
Top long snappers get the ball to the holder quickly, accurately and with only a slight spin necessary to get the laces where the kicker wants them.
Against a better team, those seven lost points could have been crucial.
Earlier this season after being named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week after the team’s win in Cleveland, Prater said, "It's cool to get some recognition, but if we're not winning, you don't get any acknowledgements, so winning goes hand in hand with those kind of things. It's not just recognition for me, it's the whole operation. Field-goal team, (Aaron) Brewer snapping the ball, Andy (Lee) holding (the ball), so kind of a team acknowledgement."
Brinkley was placed on waivers Monday, but could be re-signed if the Cardinals believe there are no better options until Brewer returns. He was re-signed for now to the practice squad after clearing waivers Tuesday.
The Buccaneers activated long snapper Zach Triner from reserve/injured Monday prior to their game against the Giants, but did not make a move involving Carson Tinker, who had been snapping since September 19. He could be an option after he was placed on waivers Tuesday.
Brewer has missed two games, so the earliest he can return is after the Dec. 5 game against the Bears.
Head coach Kliff Kingsbury said Monday, “We're hoping we'll get Aaron back somewhere around that time frame. But no doubt, when you have a group like Aaron and Andy and Matt who had worked so many reps together and then it changes, that's never easy. That's just part of this league and part of this game and we all got to find a way to get the job done regardless. But, yeah, it's not ideal when your snapper gets hurt.”