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Each week I’ll be taking a closer look at the snap count distribution for the Bucs offense and defense, assessing what we can learn from who played the most and who played the least on game day.

Here’s a look at which Bucs played the most and the least in the team’s 31-29 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1.

Bucs Offensive Snap Counts

Bucs Week 1 Offensive Snap Count

You can look through every game in 2020, and Mike Evans never played 94 percent of the team’s offensive snaps in a single contest. In fact, there were only four games all of last season where Evans eclipsed a 90 percent snap load, and none in the playoffs. On Thursday night, Evans missed just four snaps. Fellow receiver Chris Godwin missed just one, playing 98 percent of the Bucs offensive workload. That would have been his second-highest percentage in any game last season.

It appears the Bucs will rely on Evans and Godwin for more snaps than last year, when both receivers were banged up. They aren’t the only ones, as Antonio Brown played 65 percent of the team’s snaps, dominating their 11 personnel packages as the third receiver. Scotty Miller earned just eight reps, and Tyler Johnson three.

In the running back room, we can quickly surmise that Ronald Jones fumble has put him in the doghouse. It’s frustrating, as he was running the ball better than Leonard Fournette early on, but his mistakes continue to hurt the Bucs. So do Fournette’s, but he still earned 42 snaps to Giovani Bernard’s 17. The running back usage in Tampa Bay remains hard to understand.

The other shocking takeaway from Week 1 was Cam Brate out-snapping O.J. Howard 18-t0-6 against the Cowboys. Howard’s limited workload is a bad sign that he seems to be relegated to No. 3 on the depth chart, at least for now. Rob Gronkowski dominated the tight end workload with 57 snaps on Thursday night, 88 percent of the offensive reps.

Bucs Defensive Snap Counts

Bucs Week 1 Defensive Snap Counts

As usual, Devin White and Lavonte David did not come off the field on Thursday night, so there were no defensive snaps for other linebackers. Those two will likely go the distance every game if they can stay healthy.

On the defensive line, Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul did not lose snaps to get Joe Tryon-Shoyinka on the field. Instead the three edge rushers played a healthy portion of Tryon-Shoyinka’s 21 snaps together. Anthony Nelson managed seven reps on the night, which was seven more than I thought he would play. Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles is clearly experimenting with aggressive pass rush packages early on this season.

The interior defensive line saw a steady rotation reminiscent of last season. Vita Vea and Ndamukong Suh led the way with over 60% snap share, while Will Gholston, Rakeem Nunez-Roches and Steve McLendon saw plenty of work as well. The Bucs seem committed to keeping Vea and Suh fresh, which looked like an effective strategy late in the game.

No defensive snaps for cornerback Dee Delaney, despite the injury to Sean Murphy-Bunting. Ross Cockrell went the distance as the team’s No. 3 cornerback after Murphy-Bunting exited the game.

Huge shout-out to Andrew Adams for his Thursday night performance in 11 snaps. Adams was cut by the Eagles a handful of days ago and immediately signed back with the Bucs on the practice squad. The veteran safety was elevated to the active roster on Thursday, and was pushed into defensive action with Jordan Whitehead out and Mike Edwards cramping. Adams did get called for a weak defensive pass interference and gave up a tightly contested catch over the middle of the field, but he made two huge stops in the run game, including one on third-and-goal. Stellar performance by the reliable Buccaneer.

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About the Author: Jon Ledyard

Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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1bucfanjeff
8 days ago

RJ fumbles and in the dog house. Fournette responsible for the interception and continues to play. It’s obvious BA loves Fournette, but Jones is the better back.

Naplesfan
Reply to  1bucfanjeff
8 days ago

No – Fournette was NOT responsible for the interception. The ball was thrown high, hard, and flat, very few receivers could haul in that ball.

And of course you are ignoring that Fournette completely bailed out Brady on his worst pass of the night, one that never should have been thrown and certainly should have been intercepted, but Fournetted snatched it away for a big completion that if not made would have killed the drive at best, or would have been intercepted at worse.

drdneast
Reply to  Naplesfan
8 days ago

Yup, bounced right off his hands. A nice perfect gentle pass my daughter could have caught. That was a gitty catch Lenny made to keep Brady’s chestnuts out of the fire

RW
RW
Reply to  Naplesfan
8 days ago

Well you are one of the few people that find not fault with Fournette for mishandling that attempted screen. It was not a hard catch, especially for a pro football player. He screwed it up, plain and simple.

cgmaster27
Reply to  Naplesfan
8 days ago

Ball was thrown high and hard? Haha jesus brady practically underhanded it to him. Noone but u think that interception wasnt his fault.

Buc stops here
Reply to  Naplesfan
8 days ago

That catch you refer to Naplesfan was amazing. If he failed to make that essentially one handed grab on that crazy off-balance throw by Brady, the ball would likely have been intercepted and it would have been game over, Tampa.

scubog
Reply to  Naplesfan
8 days ago

Wow Naples. Don’t know what you were watching. That pass was a lob, certainly not a “high hard one”. But hey, since that’s now the standard, I’m going to refer to my equipment as a “high hard one” and see if my wife believes me before she starts laughing. C’mon Mr. Blue, do your thing, times a wasting. Stop giggling and pointing.

Pete Wood
8 days ago

The running back situation is hard to understand, but I think Arians sees Rojo as the long term solution and he benched him to send him a message. With LF, he might have thought it not even worth sending a message.
Who knows?

I think we see more split time next week with Bernard and Vaughn seeing more action.

Naplesfan
Reply to  Pete Wood
8 days ago

Other than the fact that Fournette played much better than RoJo.

drdneast
Reply to  Naplesfan
8 days ago

Are you his agent or on his payroll.

Pete Wood
Reply to  drdneast
8 days ago

I have no clue what is going on with the RB situation. Just speculating. I am frequently wrong. I do think Rojo bounces back, though.

RW
RW
Reply to  Pete Wood
8 days ago

With so many passes being thrown the Bucs wanted the back who catches better and blocks better. That’s Fournette not RoJo.

NaplesFan2.0
Reply to  RW
8 days ago

They should have played Gio then, injured or not. There is not one thing Fournette does that is better than any of the other rbs the Bucs employ. Rojo runs better. Bernard catches and blocks better.

BadgerW4
8 days ago

I was surprised to see Tryon-Shoyinka only played 21 snaps. He was REALLY visible for a guy that played that few snaps.

cgmaster27
Reply to  BadgerW4
8 days ago

He just looks huge out there. He was clpse a couple of times.

SenileSenior
8 days ago

I believe Todd Bowles did a little too much experimenting with his players last night as the Cowboys offense chewed up our defense with their passing game. I realize he has a very complex defense that he wants to field but his game planning should be a little more conservative at this time in the season. He has 16 more games to experiment with his personnel.

I am confident he will have it worked out to a high degree come play off time. We should have a top three defense by the time it matters most!
_________________
Go Bucs!!!

Horse
Reply to  SenileSenior
8 days ago

What got me was the DB’s were blitzing when they were already needing help with the WR’s?

Buc stops here
8 days ago

Anyone but me notice compared to last year when Tight End was done by committee, this year it was Gronkowski, Gronkowski, and more Gronkowski. The last time he did this in New England he got hurt and did not last the season. Brate was in on 18 plays and high draft pick Howard was down to 6 plays – the same number doghouse Ronald Jones played in. Does anyone know if this is the new TE package where they use Gronk until he gets hurt (hope he does not but you never know with that heavy load – just look… Read more »

Horse
Reply to  Buc stops here
8 days ago

Remember Coach plays his best players, and if you’re not worthy to have those titles, he just wont play someone to fill the spot.

Horse
8 days ago

Solid Jon.

Peter North
7 days ago

Devin White: starts the season leading the team in tackles, all over the field and did not miss a single assignment. If you like your captained linebacker to make one key tackle per game and do a heck of a job watching the emergency route out of the backfield, then Devin White is your guy.  But don’t let Collinsworth’s participation ribbons fool you; #45 laid down, at best, a Barrett Ruud level performance.  #45 rushed the passer five times [maybe more, but couldn’t re-watch first drive in Q1]; #45 NEVER had a positive impact on his rush.  #45 cannot bring… Read more »

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