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 disappointing 27-24 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday afternoon.
The three main topics of conversation in analyzing the offensive snap count distribution each week is how much Cam Brate and Scotty Miller played, and whether Leonard Fournette out-snapped Ronald Jones II. The rest of the offense has settled into a groove we’ll likely only see disrupted in the event of an injury.
The Bucs using less four wide receiver sets after acquiring Antonio Brown is surprising to me, as Brate is easily out-snapping Miller. Some of that is in relief of Rob Gronkowski, but the Bucs have still run a decent amount of 12 personnel (two tight ends). Even Antony Auclair is picking up a handful of snaps, as he hit his second-highest total of the season with eight.
Miller continues to be an afterthought, playing just 10 snaps, his second lowest total of the season. After being the team’s leading receiver at the midseason point, the Bucs are having a hard time getting Miller involved in the offense since the addition of Brown. He’s played just 34 total snaps over the last three games, catching just one pass for four yards in that time frame, including zero receptions over the past two weeks.
The Bucs believe Fournette is their best passing game option at the running back position, but the tape hasn’t revealed him being much better than Jones, especially in recent weeks. Fournette has dropped the ball frequently, although he caught all three of his passes on Sunday, done nothing after the catch and whiffed far too often in pass protection. Jones isn’t a standout in any of those areas either, but he was playing with as much confidence as we’ve seen all season on Sunday, and may have warranted more of a look.
That’s eight straight games where neither Devin White or Lavonte David have come off the field, although White’s coverage woes are reaching the point where you have to consider getting him a break in some key obvious passing situations, or lining him up at edge defender and kicking Jason Pierre-Paul inside for a rep. I know that sounds ridiculous, but we’re at Week 13 and White is an auto reception for quarterbacks to target in coverage. Coaches have to consider their options at this point.
Bucs DT Khail Davis – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
On defense Sean Murphy-Bunting stepped back into his old role in the wake of Jamel Dean’s absence, and Ross Cockrell picked up Dean’s old reps in nickel packages, which the
Bucs were in most of the game. After seeing an uptick in snaps recently, safety Mike Edwards snaps nose-dived again, in a game where the Bucs really could have used more of the play-making safety.
The biggest change defensively was rookie Khalil Davis stepping right into the defensive mix with 23 snaps! Davis looked pretty good on passing downs at least, credited with one tackle and one quarterback hit. He helped keep Ndamukong Suh and Will Gholston fresh on passing downs, while Rakeem Nunez-Roches and Steve McLendon were able to stay mostly in their early down roles.
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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