Thanks to the wonders of the NFL and their increasingly open-minded stance on sharing statistics, we now have official snap count data on every game. This can be especially valuable, where the players who stand out on special teams can be hard to discern -- but those roles are very important for who does and doesn't make the roster. And which players got the most playing time, another important indicator? Let's check it out.
Starters Get Extra Time
Most of the starters only played two series and a handful of snaps, but there were a few exceptions to this rule. Da'Quan Bowers was the most obvious one: he played 37 defensive snaps, which amounts to 50% of all defensive snaps. Greg Schiano gave him extended playing time, probably as part of a continued ploy to motivate him and get him ready for the every-down role.
Unfortunately, Bowers did not look ready for that every-down role. He didn't make an impact in the passing game, although he didn't look bad at defensive end either. Just a little underwhelming. For some reason the Buccaneers gave him extended playing time at defensive tackle on passing downs, and that looked to be a pretty awful decisions. He couldn't make a dent in the Ravens' pass protection from that position. I'd scrap that idea really quickly if I were the Bucs.
Another starter with a lot of playing time was Akeem Spence, who got 27 snaps, mostly as a run defender. He looked exactly as advertised: a Roy Miller clone with a little more wiggle as a pass rusher, but not much. He looks to be a fine starter next to McCoy, which is pretty good for a fourth-round pick.
On offense, the starter with the most playing was Demar Dotson, who got twenty snaps. Most of those came at right tackle, but he got one series at left tackle. Dotson looked fine in both roles, and didn't get beat once.
Second Team Leads
The second teamers got most of the snaps on both sides of the ball. Keith Tandy led on defense with 53 snaps, while on offense Cody Wallace received 55 snaps. Unfortunately, neither player played particularly well. A few other surprising names toward the top of the list were Gabe Carimi, who looked okay but didn't seem to be a threat to Dotson, and Cody Grimm, who seems to be back in the team's good graces. He at least played better than Tandy.
Tiquan Underwood, Chris Owusu and Kevin Ogletree all got between 29 and 36 snaps, but Ogletree was the only one to walk away with a decent amount of production. Owusu looked awful despite (or because of) numerous targets, and he'll have to improve on this outing to live up to his training camp promise.
Another interesting name is Najee Goode, last year's fifth-round pick who received 42 snaps in this game. He looked okay doing so, mostly in pass defense. He and Jonathan Casillas appeared to be the motors of the second and third-team defense at linebacker. One interesting contrast: Watson received 13 snaps mostly as a starter, while Casillas got 22 mostly as a backup.
Special teams will be the road to a roster spot for several players, and a few got a lot of snaps, there. Keith Tandy, Cody Grimm, Najee Goode, Michael Adams, Adam Hayward, Dom DeCicco, Spencer Larsen and Deveron Carr all got 14 or more snaps on special teams yesterday. Whether they played well remains to be seen, as we can't evaluate the All-22 tape, but that's a good indication that they at least could play a big role on special teams.
Keep in mind, though, that special teams was a bit of a disaster yesterday. We're likely to see a revision on special teams next week, based on the performance of players this week.
Players who might be in trouble because they didn't take any special teams snaps are WRs Carlton Mitchell and Terriun Crump, while nose tackle Andre Neblett, DEs Ernest Owusu and Markus White and tight end Danny Noble took fewer than five snaps. That could be significant come cut day.
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