Braden Mann, NY Jets, punter, holder
(Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

NY Jets punter Braden Mann’s tackling ability is not his only unique trait. He is also a freakishly talented holder.

Yeah, you know we’re smack in the middle of the NFL’s dead period if we’re doing a film breakdown on a holder.

Wait a minute … did I just make a disparaging remark about holders? Shame on me! The holder position deserves more attention, and I’m here to give it just that.

If you don’t think holders are important, tell that to Tony Romo and the 2006 Dallas Cowboys, and let me know what you hear back.

Rookie punter Braden Mann handled the holding duties for the Jets throughout his rookie season, catching snaps from stud long snapper Thomas Hennessy.

Hennessy has proven himself to be a high-quality long snapper for the Jets. He is durable, his punt coverage impact is far more substantial than what most other long snappers provide, and he has never launched a truly awful snap that completely missed the mark.

While Hennessy’s general accuracy was perfect in 2020 (no blatant misses), he did launch a handful of less-than-perfect snaps throughout the 2020 season. That’s no slight on him – every long snapper throws a pitch that lands just outside of the strike zone every now and then. His overall accuracy was still great.

In those situations where the long snapper is just a bit off, it’s up to the holder to save the day. He needs to make a great catch from his knees and still get the ball down on time and in the correct position so that the kicker can fluidly work through his normal routine with no issues. It’s also important to get the laces out (no holder wants to be the subject of a Ray Finkle situation).

Mann did an excellent job of this in 2020. Whenever Hennessy’s accuracy was off the mark, Mann bailed him out and kept the kick on schedule.

Hennessy is a little high-and-inside on this extra point snap. Mann contorts his body outside, snatches the ball by the tip (using the classic “diamond” technique with his hands, which coaches teach in elementary school), and quickly gets it down in the perfect position for Sam Ficken to knock it through the uprights.

Hennessy fires low on this 29-yard field goal, as the ball is just barely above the ground when it reaches Mann.

Quickly noticing the low trajectory of the ball, Mann lowers his body to the ground so he can catch the ball and immediately set it up simply by rotating it towards the turf. Mann does just that, and upon placing the ball, he gives it a good spin with his right hand to get the laces pointed out just before Sergio Castillo wallops it.

A perfect snap from Hennessy here – just wanted to point out the laces awareness from Mann. He puts the ball down with the laces in but averts trouble as he strokes it with his right hand to get the laces out.

I watched every one of Mann’s 52 holds in 2020 (28 field goals and 24 extra points) and did not see a single kick in which he failed to get the laces out. Take note, Dan Marino.

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The crown jewel of Mann’s 2020 holder tape. This is Hennessy’s worst snap of the season and jeopardizes the extra point operation, but Mann is able to rise up on his toes to grab the awry snap and then slam it down with the laces already out.

Clearly, the MVP voters did not watch that play.

The voters obviously did not watch the next one, either. Mann is known for the three potential touchdowns he saved as a tackler in the punting game, but he also saved one as a holder.

The snap and hold are perfect, but Castillo’s 47-yard attempt is blocked as Ryan Griffin botches the protection by completely ignoring the defender across from him. Mecole Hardman – one of the fastest players in the league – picks up the ball. He should be off to the races for six points.

Not in Mann’s house.

Being the international symbol of grit, toughness, and perseverance that he is, Mann instantly gets into hustle mode once he sees the loose ball. He grabs Hardman and slows him down enough for Ryan Griffin to catch up and make the tackle.

Who said watching film of a holder can’t be fun?

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Michael Nania is the best analytical New York Jets mind in the world, combining his statistical expertise with game film to add proper context to the data. Nania scrapes every corner, ensuring you know all there is to know about everyone from the QB to the long snapper. Nania's Numbers, Nania's QB Grades and Nania's All-22 give fans a deeper and more well-rounded dive into the Jets than anyone else can offer. Email: [email protected] - Twitter: @Michael_Nania

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