Buccaneers vs. Patriots Snap Counts: Roster Bubble Comes Into Focus

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The snap counts from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game against the New England Patriots tells us quite a bit about the team's roster battles.

Starters Barely Play

Once again, we can't say anything meaningful on the starters. Most of them barely got into the game, with 8 snaps for the starting offense. They got 13 snaps last week. It's even sillier on defense, where Gerald McCoy has a combined 18 preseason snaps and Lavonte David has 16. No wonder the starters are getting outplayed -- they're just not having a big impact on the game, and the quality players are being subbed out after just a handful of plays, presumably to avoid injury.

Two interesting notes on the starting lineup, though: Daniel Te'o-Nesheim got the start over Da'Quan Bowers, although Bowers was rotated in early on and both received a similar number of snaps (29 vs 28). Mike Remmers was the other name that stood out: the offensive lineman got the start at left guard, and received 50 snaps throughout the game

Backups Making An Impact

With Chris Owusu out, a few receivers got some more snaps -- but none more so than David Douglas, who took 49 snaps, more than any other skill player. Sadly, his production lagged behind his snap count, with just 16 receiving yards. That was still more than most of his competition, though, who did very little to make an impact. The Bucs gave the bottom of their receiving corps a lot of opportunities in this game, but they just couldn't get it going.

At running back, of course, Mike James had a very good game. With 15 carries for 81 yards and another 3 receptions for 23 yards he outplayed Peyton Hillis. But what really stood out to me was not really his running, though that was good, but the work he got in pass protection with Brian Leonard -- and the quality job he did there. The Bucs are likely to keep just three running backs, and James' versatility on offense and on special teams (8 snaps) are likely to guarantee him a roster spot.

Tiquan Underwood seems to be rapidly falling behind Kevin Ogletree, but both received an equal number of snaps. Tom Crabtree got significantly more work than Luke Stocker with 21 snaps versus 11 for Stocker, but that may just be due to Stocker's recovery from an injury, who barely featured on special teams either. Danny Noble got some extensive playing time with 29 snaps, though.

On defensive the Bucs are clearly looking to see who stands out among the backups. Steven Means' 34 snaps topped the defensive line list, with William Gholston's 33 not far behind. Rashaan Melvin got an extended look with 30 snaps and the additional 15 special teams snaps tell me he's nearly certain to make the roster.

Roster Bubble

Backups with little playing time are likely to get cut. Backups with little playing time and few special teams plays are guaranteed to get cut. On defense, defensive tackle Andre Neblett, defensive end Markus White, free safety Troy Nolan and linebacker Joe Holland are not getting enough playing time to show they can stick in the NFL. They seem to be thoroughly out of any position battles they may have been in at some point.

On offense,  WR Terrian Crump, WR Chris Denton and G Adam Smith are getting the short end of the stick. None as much as Michael Smith, though. Remember that explosive kick return? That was one of two total plays he was in on during the game. No one who took at least one snap had fewer snaps. At this point, he's almost certain to get cut.

The flip side is that there are a few players who got more snaps than one would expect. Tight end/wide receiver Tim Wright is one of those players, as he received a whopping 25 snaps on offense and another 9 on special teams. He seems to be doing well in a roster battle, although he has some decent competition for his roster spot. Like WR Carlton Mitchell who got 25 snaps to prove himself, but is a non-factor on special teams, which is likely to hurt him come cut day.

A few other core special teams players include Steven Means, Najee Goode and Michael Adams. Those three appear to be locks for a roster spot, and Rashaan Melvin's rapidly joining that group with 30 snaps on defense and 15 on special teams. Keith Tandy isn't far behind.

Two players may make it as special teamers only: linebackers Jacob Cutrera and Dom Decicco both got a lot of special teams snaps but few defensive snaps to go along with it. Core special teamers usually make up the final few roster spots, and they could fill that role if necessary.

Name Pos. Snaps(O) % Snaps(ST) %
J Meredith T 60 85% 2 7%
M Glennon QB 53 75%
G Carimi T 52 73% 2 7%
M Remmers T 50 70% 1 3%
D Douglas WR 49 69% 1 3%
C Wallace C 44 62% 2 7%
J Daniels T 44 62% 1 3%
M James RB 38 54% 8 27%
R Allen G 32 45% 1 3%
D Noble TE 29 41% 9 30%
P Hillis RB 29 41%
D Hagan WR 27 38% 6 20%
T Larsen G 27 38% 2 7%
T Wright WR 25 35% 9 30%
C Mitchell WR 25 35%
T Underwood WR 22 31% 4 13%
K Ogletree WR 22 31% 2 7%
T Crabtree TE 21 30% 10 33%
A Smith G 19 27% 3 10%
N Byham TE 14 20% 8 27%
T Crump WR 12 17% 2 7%
L Stocker TE 11 15% 2 7%
C Denton WR 11 15%
D Dotson T 11 15%
D Orlovsky QB 10 14%
V Jackson WR 8 11%
D Penn T 8 11%
J Freeman QB 8 11%
J Zuttah C 8 11%
M Williams WR 8 11%
D Martin RB 4 6%

Name Pos. Snaps(D) % Snaps(ST) %
A Black FS 38 56% 7 23%
S Means DE 34 50% 12 40%
C Grimm SS 33 49% 18 60%
N Goode LB 33 49% 17 57%
M Adams CB 33 49% 13 43%
W Gholston DE 33 49% 3 10%
R Melvin DB 30 44% 15 50%
K Tandy FS 29 43% 11 37%
D Te'o-Nesheim DE 29 43% 4 13%
M Masifilo DE 29 43% 3 10%
D Bowers DE 28 41% 3 10%
A Spence DT 27 40% 7 23%
J Banks DB 27 40% 2 7%
L Johnson CB 26 38% 2 7%
A Hayward LB 25 37% 10 33%
J Casillas LB 24 35% 8 27%
L Levingston DE 23 34% 9 30%
A Gaitor CB 20 29% 1 3%
D Carr DB 19 28% 7 23%
J Cutrera LB 17 25% 14 47%
M Robinson DB 17 25% 7 23%
M Barron SS 17 25% 2 7%
G Gibson DT 17 25%
B Smith DB 16 24% 7 23%
A Clayborn DE 15 22% 1 3%
M Foster LB 14 21% 1 3%
D Goldson FS 14 21% 1 3%
T Nolan FS 13 19% 2 7%
M White DE 13 19%
J Holland LB 10 15% 4 13%
G McCoy DT 10 15%
A Neblett NT 9 13%
D Watson LB 8 12% 14 47%
L David LB 8 12%
E Owusu DE 5 7%
D DeCicco LB 4 6% 13 43%
K Glaud LB 1 1% 4 13%
D Dimke K 8 27%
M Koenen P 6 20%
A Economos LS 5 17%
E Page WR 4 13%
C Henry P 4 13%
A DePaola LS 4 13%
M Smith RB 2 7%

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