After beating out Andrew East for the Chiefs’ starting long-snapping job, first-year pro James Winchester is excited about his first regular-season action in Sunday’s season-opener at Houston.
After seeing how close the competition was — Chiefs coach Andy Reid said it came down to Winchester’s slightly better velocity on snaps — Winchester couldn’t be more grateful.
“He’s a good snapper, he really is — it was a heck of a competition,” Winchester said of East. “You want to go up against the best. It breeds competition. So he’s a heck of a snapper. He’ll be snapping in this league, as well. so I was just thankful to be here and be able to compete alongside him. That’s all you can ask for in this league is an opportunity.”
Long snappers might be under more pressure this year, since extra points have been moved back from the 2 to the 15-yard line. But when asked if he feels extra pressure to be perfect, Winchester shook his head.
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“It’s essentially the same thing as a field goal, it’s just less points,” said Winchester, a 26-year-old out of Oklahoma. “We have the mindset of just do our jobs, be flawless. So that’s what we’re going to do, whether we’re up close or backed up.”