New England Patriots

Nov 9, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Nick Folk (6) high fives long snapper Joe Cardona (49) after kicking a a field goal against the New York Jets during the first half at MetLife Stadium. The Patriots beat the Jets 30-27. Mandatory Credit: Kevin R. Wexler/NorthJersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK

Patriots long snapper Joe Cardona had to leave Sunday’s practice early with an injury, and it sounds like the team could be without him for longer than that.

As reported by Jeff Howe of The Athletic on Monday, Cardona “could potentially miss a little time” with an injury that forced him to leave practice on Sunday in Foxborough. His absence forced tight end Jonnu Smith into an emergency long-snapping role on punts, with defensive end Deatrich Wise handling kicks.

Wise made three long snaps in a team field goal drill late in practice. His first snap was a little high, while the second one was on the money. His third snap had the highest chance of sailing into the backfield, but holder Jake Bailey handled all three well. Wise also long-snapped on what appeared to be a field goal blocking drill, with Bailey kicking and receiver Gunner Olszewski holding.

“I’ve been practicing [long snapper] for quite a while for some time,” Wise prophetically told reporters last week, after working on his snaps for a brief time. “Still a little rusty. Trying it out.

“I’ve been working on it after practice. It kind of got noticed my first two years, and they said keep working on it. They put me in one day to see how I’d do, and I did pretty solid.”

Wise described himself as the “next man up” if Cardona would have to miss time. But it wouldn’t be surprising if the Patriots brought in a more experienced long snapper, if necessary.

That could be Wes Farnsworth, whom the Patriots signed back in May before waiving him in June. Farnsworth played long snapper at Nevada from 2015-16.

Long snapper is certainly at or near the bottom of the list of most important positions on the team. But it’s always good to have continuity there, without having to worry about it in the first place. If Cardona has to miss extended time, it will create more work for the special teams units to get back on the same page.

MORE: Joe Cardona among three Patriots hurt at practice

Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at mdolloff@985thesportshub.com.