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 Sunday.

Here’s a look at which Buccaneers played the most and the least in their 46-23 rout of the host Carolina Panthers on Sunday afternoon.

After seeing his snaps drop from 31 to 17 to 16 the past three weeks, Ronald Jones surged back to the top of the running back room with 47 snaps despite fumbling his second touch of the game. LeSean McCoy saw a little playing time late in a 46-23 blowout, but Jones and Leonard Fournette continue to shoulder all of the playing time in a competitive game.

Cam Brate also saw a huge resurgence in his snap counts, after three straight weeks of 12-snap games. Brate and fellow tight end Antony Auclair factored in heavily due to the amount of goal line plays Tampa Bay had in this game, as well as the Bucs’ run-heavy fourth quarter approach when the team was trying to drain clock. I’d still expect the Bucs to be a predominantly 11 personnel (3 wide receivers) team moving forward.

Bucs QB Tom Brady and WR Scotty Miller

Bucs QB Tom Brady and WR Scotty Miller – Photo by: USA Today

Two weeks ago Scotty Miller was the Bucs leading receiver, now he’s an afterthought. Miller played nine snaps to Antonio Brown’s 39, catching his only target for four yards. Even Tyler Johnson almost passed up the second-year receiver, with seven snaps on Sunday, while Justin Watson picked up four. It’s hard to argue with the results this week, but I still find it so strange that the Bucs looked at Scotty Miller’s first half of the year play and production and said “we need help at wide receiver”. Tough break for him.

When Carlton Davis missed one play with an injury, Ross Cockrell saw his first action of the season (and was flattened by a block on the Panthers wide receiver screen touchdown). Mike Edwards continues to see minimal playing time in the secondary, but 15 snaps was a step in the right direction compared to seven a week ago.

We’re now at six consecutive games where neither Lavonte David or Devin White have missed a snap. The Bucs as a whole played their lowest defensive snap total of the season, but third linebacker Kevin Minter managed to get on the field as part of a pressure package, picking up a (questionable) personal foul on a sack of Teddy Bridgewater.

Bucs LB Lavonte David

Bucs LB Lavonte David – Photo by: USA Today

After a couple weeks of heavier defensive personnel, the Bucs were able to match-up with the Panthers in nickel a lot more often on Sunday, which meant decreased snaps for Rakeem Nunez-Roches and Steve McLendon. It’s clear the Bucs want Ndamukong Suh and Will Gholston to be their passing down defensive tackles, and it’s hard to blame them given their lack of options elsewhere. That’s also a role Gholston has never really filled in his entire career, although he’s played well enough this season on long/late downs. The Bucs interior pass rush remains something to monitor moving forward, especially with Anthony Nelson failing to provide the team with adequate pass rush as a third edge defender.

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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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Pete Wood
8 months ago

I’d like to see more Scotty Miller, but this seems to be working. What do I know?

bucballer
Reply to  Pete Wood
8 months ago

Miller has been on the injured list every week. Not sure if he is healthy or not. Signing Brown, definitely cut into his playing time as well. Still, could use his speed! Will be interesting to watch as the season unwinds.

RW
RW
Reply to  Pete Wood
8 months ago

Scotty has great speed and good hands but cannot catch the ball in traffic. Brown is a far better receiver and as long as the big 3 are playing Miller won’t see many reps.

DT25
8 months ago

That’s the type of RB split I think suits this offense best. ~60/40 split RoJo to Fournette seems to make the most sense given how much more productive the running game has been with Jones in the backfield. He may not be a special pass catcher but with the other weapons we have, that really shouldn’t be an issue with proper game planning. Run the offense similar to the way the Titans do with Henry…use more play action and target WRs and TEs to stretch defenses vertically…then use Fournette when we want to go a little more hurry up and… Read more »

PatrioticChief
8 months ago

I don’t understand pining for Scotty Miller. Yes, Scotty has had some good games but if AB finishes the season I am certain he will have more production than Scotty would have had over the same period. And Johnson? Look the guy has had some nice catches but are we really worried about AB taking a 5th round rookies snaps? Both of those guys are good depth to have but when you can upgrade a position for pennies on the dollar you do it. Nothing strange about it.

Virtual_Camel
Reply to  PatrioticChief
8 months ago

AB is better than Scotty, but I do feel that Scotty deserves more than 9 snaps a game.

eaustinyoung
Reply to  PatrioticChief
8 months ago

Scotty will be right back into WR3 spot if AB’s court proceedings don’t work out in his favor

drdneast
Reply to  eaustinyoung
8 months ago

AB’s not going to court anytime soon. His court date will be for civil, not criminal court. Most civil cases like these are settled out of court.

eaustinyoung
Reply to  drdneast
8 months ago

That also depends on how the Bucs view it.

bucballer
8 months ago

I will mention it again…Brady threw some absolutely dimes on a couple of throws. I mean an inch or two the other way and u could’ve had a pick six. So, we now know the key to this offense. Protect Brady! When he has time he is fire. I will mention some constructive criticism. The design of the plays still have me baffled sometimes. On one play, we had a three WRs set. Two on left one on right. The ball went to the right WR on a go route. But on the replay we saw the WRs on left… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by bucballer
drdneast
8 months ago

Anthony Nelson may not have registered a sack yet but he is putting consistent pressure on the QB. Watch the film closer.

Bucc My Life
8 months ago

Why we haven’t at least worked out Clay Matthews is beyond me

bucballer
Reply to  Bucc My Life
8 months ago

Salary cap… especially after the Brown signing.

PatrioticChief
Reply to  Bucc My Life
8 months ago

It’s because Clay values himself more than 32 NFL front offices.

Dman
8 months ago

So tired of the the hype over AB. Why is he your cover photo for this article – how about RoJo – the guy that actually was the game breaker Sunday.

EastEndBoy
8 months ago

To recap: Minter gets 1 snap and absolutely crushes Bridgewater (called for targeting); while Cockrell gets 1 snap and gets absolutely crushed by their OT (not called for targeting). Two incredibly memorable snaps.