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New York Giants’ Zak DeOssie on Special Teams War Cry: I’m Letting You Know That I’m Coming for You

August 15th, 2013 at 2:30 PM
By Douglas Rush

When special teams gets looked at in the National Football League, the more glory positions tend to be the kicker, punter, kick and punt returners. But as New York Giants fans can attest to, the long-snapper may be one of the most important positions of the entire unit.

Most fans will remember the mess of the 2002 NFC Wild Card game between the Giants and San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park, a game fans cringe when hearing, which some refer to as "the Trey Junkin game," as Junkin was the then-long snapper who botched the snap on a potentially-game winning field goal by Matt Bryant and the 49ers won a heartbreaker over the Giants, 39-38.

It's that kind of game that makes Giants fans grateful for Zak DeOssie, a linebacker by trade, but is primarily used as the long-snapper on the team on the punt and field goal team. The two-time Pro Bowler is a second generation Giants, as his father Steve DeOssie was a starting linebacker for the Giants in the late 80's and early 90's and understands how important it is to be a Giant, especially since he is one of the team captain's as well.

What also makes him very important to the team is a special technique he uses on the punt team, a "war cry" as he calls it, something that sounds like a loud shriek to throw off the opposing player trying to field a punt, as DeOssie told Jonathan Clegg of the Wall Street Journal.

"That's my battle cry, my war cry," said DeOssie. "It's just a loud shrill or shriek. If you're trying to catch the ball, I'm going to let you know I'm there. "I just figured that if you're trying to call a fair catch or you're not sure what to do, add another variable to the situation that's going to make you think a little bit more," DeOssie said. "How would you react if you had a 255-pound guy bearing down on you and screaming as loud as he can?"

In the NFL, you can't run into the punt returner if he has called for a fair catch, but there is no set rule that says you can't make a loud noise to cause a distraction and make the returner get flustered  enough to botch it and drop it. This war cry worked on Saturday when Steve Weatherford punted the ball to Pittsburgh Steelers punt returner David Gilreath to get so thrown off by DeOssie's shrieking sound, the ball bounced off his shoulder pad and allowed Tyler Sash to recover a fumble in the third quarter. Sash noted that even though he got the fumble recovery, it was DeOssie's tactic that really made the impact on allowing the fumble to happen.

 "You know that it's in the back of their mind," Sash said. "DeOssie running down full speed like a madman, that gets in a returner's head."

What also makes DeOssie so valuable as a special teams player is his ability to make tackles, which is where his time as a linebacker comes into play; as he has 18 special teams tackles since the 2011 season and is always one of the first guys down the field hustling to make a play, which is why he's earned two trips as an NFC representative to the Pro Bowl.

One play that almost never gets mentioned is after Eli Manning threw the game-winning touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress in Super Bowl XLII, the Giants kick-off to New England Patriots' Laurence Maroney, who could have given the Patriots decent field position with a solid return, but DeOssie was the first one there to greet Maroney and bring him down at the 17-yard line with 29 seconds to go. By DeOssie stopping Maroney deep in the Patriots territory, it forced Tom Brady to throw a bunch of deep passes, and the Giants were able to stop every single one of them.

One thing that DeOssie said that he will not do is actually shot particular things at opposing punt returners, as he sees that as a sign of disrespect. But now that his war cry has actually helped the Giants in causing a key turnover early in the preseason, it will be something that he will continue to do when he's on the field for special teams.

"If there is even a 0.001% factor in me running downfield and screaming as loud as I can and hoping that they might even think about me in the back of their mind, that's a win," he said. "So why not run down there and do it?"

During the week at training camp, the Giants experimented with middle linebacker Mark Herzlich as a long-snapper; an experiment that was seen as one that did not go well, so Giants fans should continue to see DeOssie as the team's long-snapper and continuing to create havoc on the field.

photo credit: StephenLukeEdD via photopin cc


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Tags: Football, Mark Herzlich, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Tyler Sash, Zak DeOssie

27 Responses to “New York Giants’ Zak DeOssie on Special Teams War Cry: I’m Letting You Know That I’m Coming for You”

  1.  JimStoll says:

    guys in his 7th NFL season
    hat’s off

  2.  GOAT56 says:

    It will be interesting to see how we cover the Colts Sunday. Ty Hilton, though he’s their #2 WR is the exact type of WR I don’t want Webster covering because of his pure speed. I think Webster matches up better with Wayne though he’s their #1. This is the case that I think we should use Prince against Hilton and give Webster some help versus Wayne.

  3.  kujo says:

    Let’s hear another round of “not worth the roster spot” bullsh*t as it relates to DeOssie. Come on…you know who you are. Don’t make me start calling you out by name!

    •  GOAT56 says:

      I questioned if he could get beat out. But no one has come close to beating him out yet. I did wonder if someone else could replace his long snapping that played a position. I probably have underrated his proficiency at long snapping not the need for it. I have underrated his special teams play. The combination is what makes his value. If he had just one of those skilsl he’s not a roster lock but the combo makes him one.

      That’s why when looking at the bottom of the roster spots will I think it comes down to special teams in many cases. This is why a player like Barden is in deep trouble and a player like Scott has a better chance than some think.

      •  Krow says:

        I was hoping we could find someone who was not a pure specialist too. But now I’ve warmed to DeOssie. In fact I think that anyone who screams very loudly should get a roster spot. Loud noises are very important in football.

  4.  fanfor55years says:

    Zak’s worth a roster spot but given the state of our linebackers and his size it sure would be nice if he were as good as his father!!!

  5.  Krow says:

    Wasn’t it his Dad who made him a long snapper ? Told him it was his ticket to the NFL ? How right he was huh.

    •  Andiamo P says:

      Yes it was. I remember him fondly as a player too….I know he wasn’t the best LB on the squad but when I was younger I thought the black visor was pretty awesome

    •  kujo says:

      My son will learn it as well. Hopefully he’s taller than his mom and dad, though…

      •  Sintexo says:

        Ha, my friend’s plan to retirement is training his children to be longsnappers and placekickers.

  6.  Sintexo says:

    If the eagles keep up with the type of offense their running tonight, we’re not going to have much of an opportunity to sub players on defense.

    •  fanfor55years says:

      I had expressed concern about that months ago but thought the NFL announced it would allow the referee to determine game pace and the Eagles could go no faster than a hurry-up pace a la last year’s Patriots. Not true?

      •  Sintexo says:

        I stopped watching after the first two possessions, but from what I saw they were repeatedly snapping with 17-23 seconds on the play clock. It basically was the hurry-up, but it will still be difficult to sub at the pace they were going.

      •  GOAT56 says:

        I don’t know that the Pats pushed the envelope. They can go as fast as the refs allow. They with them will be stopping the initial first down. The offense is a rhythm offense and it poses trouble once they get into their rhythm. But those same things hurt their defense.

        •  Sintexo says:

          I definitely agree that it will hurt their defense over time, but early in this game their defense looked a lot better than they did last week. Given it was against Carolina and not NE.

          •  jfunk says:

            They can go no faster than a standard NFL hurry up offense.

            It’s going to get old real fast with people pretending this is some fancy new thing he’s “bringing to the NFL”.

            All NFL teams run hurry up offenses. There is a reason they don’t run them full time.

            Peyton Manning already ran an offense the majority of the time that was “too fast” for the new referee positioning rules and had to slow it down. Chip cannot legally run an offense any faster than what all NFL teams have already seen. This is a non-story.

  7.  Dirt says:

    Brown missed a 38-yard field goal in the game, a distance that Tynes had always been able to hit with regularity.



    •  Dirt says:

      Tynes is 58 of 72 (80.6%) for his career from 30-39

      Brown is 65 of 74 (87.8%) for his career from 30-39

    •  jfunk says:

      Career wise, Brown is more accurate than Tynes 30-39 (81% – 87%).

      The funny thing is, Tynes is more accurate from 40-49 only slightly (71% – 70%), but significantly during his 6 years with the Giants (81%).

      All said and done, Tynes is the 24th most accurate kicker in NFL history (81.5%). Brown is the 26th (81.3%).

      Sad or Funny?: Matt Bryant is 9th (84.4%). Jay Feeley is 16th (82.6%).

      All that being said, Brown has a 158.3 career passer rating vs Tynes’ nul.

      •  Dirt says:

        Word – this is kinda where I was going a few days ago – if they’re similar accuracy but one has a stronger leg, then I’m good with the swap

  8.  JBeast2 says:

    is it me or does the eagles look pretty good in the first half? Barkley looked very good i must say much better than Nassib?

  9.  Sintexo says:

    Bostic certainly looked like he could be a starting MLB in tonights game.

  10.  Krow says:

    No matter what we saw last night … or in any other games … when we play the Eagles it will come as a complete surprise to Perry Fewell. Our defense will be baffled.

    •  James Stoll says:

      The Eagles will be a 2-14 team this season but 2-0 v. The Giants
      Or at least that seems likely
      Gilbride pees when he sees the eagles green.

      •  Krow says:

        Yeah, it sucks … but it’s true. The Division has concentrated on our style because we’ve been so successful. Only Dallas hasn’t been able to figure us out, and they’re getting close.

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