One invaluable feature of Pro Football Focus‘ service is their snap count data (you have to pay for it), which I plan on utilizing throughout the season. The snap count distribution is always of particular interest in Week 1 of the NFL season, as you get your first glimpse of what the coaching staffs think of their players for the upcoming season.
They haven’t yet updated the Redskins’ snap counts yet, so for now, let’s just cover the Cowboys and Eagles, and we’ll get to the Redskins and Giants when PFF gets off their lazy asses and gives me my data!
On offense the Cowboys ran 70 plays.
– The “every down” guys were the 5 offensive linemen, and Tony Romo. Jason Witten missed just one snap. Miles Austin only missed 2.
– The Cowboys don’t have good WR depth, and the Cowboys know it. It appears they didn’t run a single 4WR set all night, and only a few 3WR sets, with Kevin Ogletree getting 29 snaps as the #3 receiver. The Cowboys also ran quite a few 1WR sets, as Dez Bryant had a surprisingly low 51 snaps. I should also note that he was hampered by cramps and what some are calling poor conditioning.
– So where’d those extra snaps go? John Phillips. Phillips had 52 snaps (although some were as a FB), one more than Dez Bryant. Martin Rucker even got 10 snaps as a 3rd TE. He has since been cut.
– Nothing too surprising about the RB snap counts. Felix Jones had 52, Tashard Choice 13, and DeMarco Murray 5. That’s about what I expected.
On defense the Cowboys were on the field for 65 plays, and there was a lot to sort through.
– The only guy to play all 65 was Abram Elam. The other “every down” guys were Gerald Sensabaugh (63), DeMarcus Ware (62), and Anthony Spencer (61).
– Rob Ryan defenses are difficult to chart, because he uses his players in so many different positions. Plus, the Cowboys suffered a number of injuries during the game, so it’s hard to draw many conclusions from this data, but here were the snap counts for each player. Note how many different players Ryan uses:
– LE – Kenyon Coleman (22), Sean Lissemore (8)
– NT – Jay Ratliff (52), Josh Price-Brent (9)
– RE – Jason Hatcher (42), Marcus Spears (14)
– LOLB – Anthony Spencer got all the LOLB snaps.
– ILB – Sean Lee (55), Keith Brooking (29), Bradie James (24), Alex Albright (2). It’s clear that Lee is the top middle linebacker (as he should be), with Brooking and James spitting time next to him.
– CB – Alan Ball actually had the most snaps at CB due to injuries with 57, followed by Mike Jenkins (48), Bryan McCann (35), and Orlando Scandrick (16).
– S – As noted above, Elam and Sensi played almost the entire game, but the Cowboys had to play Barry Church for 34 snaps, and Danny McCray for 5 because of the depleted secondary.
(Eagles snap counts after the jump)…
On offense, the Eagles ran 71 plays.
– The “every down” guys were the 5 offensive linemen, and Michael Vick. Brent Celek got on the field for 70.
– Surprisingly, Jeremy Maclin was on the field more than any of the Eagles receivers, with 63 total snaps. DeSean Jackson had 60, Jason Avant had 46, and Steve Smith got on the field for 5. I don’t remember any of these, but Riley Cooper actually got on the field for 8.
– The Eagles went 2TE on 26% of the snaps, with Clay Harbor on the field for 18.
– The RB playing time was about what you’d expect, with LeSean McCoy getting 57 snaps, Ronnie Brown 10, and Dion Lewis 4. The Eagles only used a FB on 20% of the plays, with Owen Schmitt getting 14 snaps.
On defense the Eagles were on the field for 73 plays.
– Jamar Chaney was the only Eagle to play all 73. The other “every downers” were Jarrad Page (72), Kurt Coleman (71), Nnamdi Asomugha (71), and Asante Samuel (69).
– At RDE, it appears as if Juan Castillo is looking to give Trent Cole more rest this season, Cole played “only” 51 snaps. In previous seasons, Cole rarely ever left the field. Darryl Tapp stole 18 of those snaps from Cole, and was excellent in his limited time at RDE.
– At LDE, Juqua Parker actually got more snaps than newbie FA Jason Babin. Parker had 40 snaps, Babin had 37. Babin had 2 sacks, a and few hits on the QB. Parker was able to get pressure for much of the day, and received a gift scoop and score fumble return TD. This is quite a DE rotation the Eagles have, and I like the way Juan is using them.
– At DT, there was an interesting distribution of snaps, that probably deserves a little more digging. The two “run stuffers,” Mike Patterson and Antonio Dixon, got 47 and 29 snaps, respectively. The inside pass rushers, Cullen Jenkins and Trevor Laws, got 49 and 25, respectively. Hmmm. Don’t know what to make of those numbers, but they worked.
– Nothing too surprising with the LBs. Casey Matthews got 59 snaps, Moise Fokou 46, Brian Rolle 17, and Keenan Clayton 2. I’d like to see a little more Brian Rolle next week.
– One surprise was that Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie had only 25 snaps, and it looked like he was struggling in the slot. “Who plays where and when” is an area that’s not quite worked out yet with the Philly corners, in my opinion.
– Nate Allen only had 1 snap. With Jarrad Page playing well on Sunday, the dinged up Allen might not see the field for a while.
– When the Eagles cut Joselio Hanson on 53 man cutdown day, I whined on twitter like a 6 year old for a few hours. He had 1 snap. Granted, it was against the Rams, who barely even have 2 or 3 NFL legit WRs, but still… 1 snap. His value will come against the likes of the Saints and Packers, or if one of the big 3 corners goes down.