IRVING, Texas – John Phillips has never snapped in a game before, but the backup tight end will be called upon if anything happens to veteran long snapper L.P. Ladouceur.
The need for a capable backup became abundantly clear across the NFL on Monday, when the Raiders struggled to reach the punter after losing deep snapper Jon Condo to a concussion in a 22-14 loss.
"I think it got everybody's attention around the league," said head coach Jason Garrett. "We've worked a lot with John Phillips in that situation throughout training camp, but I think it calls everybody to attention to make sure you're squared away in that area. You only carry one long snapper on your team. If you're lucky, you have another position player who has experience doing it."
Special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis saw Phillips throwing a football as a rookie in 2009 and decided to try him out as a deep snapper. Phillips said snapping is the same motion as throwing, just between his legs and backward.
Despite his minimal practice reps and lack of game experience as a snapper, Phillips knows he has to be ready on the off chance he's called upon.
"We're just doing it to get by," Phillips said. "L.P. will be fine, or whatever, so you just have to get a couple snaps in and make sure you can do it."
Phillips jokingly referred to himself as a "jack of all trades" and "backup everything."
He's also an emergency quarterback, should anything happen to starter Tony Romo and backup Kyle Orton. He said he knows the plays well enough and could fill in behind center if necessary.
"I played quarterback when I was in the eighth grade," Phillips said. "We ran a triple option, and throw it deep, baby. Triple option, throw it deep. That's all we did."