Allen Park — The reason the Lions drafted long snapper Jimmy Landes in the sixth round is obvious. The team thinks he could be a better option than Don Muhlbach.
“I was coming up here expecting, all right, maybe a little hostility from Don, and I’ve had nothing,” Landes said Thursday. “It’s been awesome.”
Landes admits his relationship with Muhlbach could change once the team practices with pads and the competition heats up in the preseason, but for now, a commonality beyond their position has kept the snappers close.
“We understand it’s a business. It is one job,” Landes said. “The good thing about him is he’s from Texas, as well as me, so I feel like he’s my brother.”
Landes is a native of Tyler, Texas, and went to Baylor in Waco. Muhlbach is from Lurkin and went to Texas A&M in College Station.
For now, Landes said he’s working to improve his accuracy on snaps and trying to learn the defensive special teams schemes so he knows who to block after his snaps.
While the selection of a specialist is typically a bad sign for a veteran, Muhlbach will work to convince the Lions to keep him around for his 13th year. And according to Landes, Muhlbach still has his fastball.
“Yeah, he throws a bullet,” Landes said. “I found that out quick because he was warming up with me, and I caught his first snap and my hands were already sore. I could hardly snap back to him.”
However the competition turns out, Landes is pleased now with his decision to pursue a career in the NFL. He went to Baylor on a baseball scholarship before walking onto the football team, proving to be an effective snapper after performing the job for a couple years in high school. Had he tried to become a professional baseball player, Landes would just be starting a long road through the minor leagues.
“No, but it’s awesome,” Landes said when asked if he envisioned an NFL career. “League minimum, just throwing a ball through my legs.”
And while the snapper competition surely will heat up this summer, Landes is glad to have Muhlbach as an “awesome mentor” for now.
“It’s nice to have Muhl next to my side, and he’s just right there; I can ask him a question, and he knows the answer to everything,” Landes said.