Each week I’ll take 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 41-17 late blowout of the Carolina Panthers in Week 18.
Bucs Offensive Snap Counts
It’s hard to evaluate too much from this week’s snap counts, given the game became a blowout late. But Cam Brate saw his snap counts drop below 20 for the first time since Week 13. Daniel Fells picked up eight reps, while Josh Wells added another 11. So perhaps it was just a blowout ripple effect. Rob Gronkowski played 83 percent of the snaps, but the Bucs were trying to get him incentives too.
Ke’Shawn Vaughn out-snapped Le’Veon Bell this week, but by only four reps. Both running backs should take a backseat moving forward, as Leonard Fournette and Giovani Bernard are likely back for the Wild Card game.
At wide receiver, an injury to Cyril Grayson just a few snaps into the game will keep the picture blurry for another week. If Grayson can’t play against the Eagles, Mike Evans, Tyler Johnson and Breshad Perriman will play the vast majority of snaps for the Bucs. Scotty Miller will serve as the team’s No. 4 wide receiver after playing 14 snaps on Sunday.
Defensive Snap Counts
For what seems like the one hundredth time this season, Jamel Dean went down in-game with an injury. With Richard Sherman inactive due to an achilles injury, Pierre Desir stepped in. After the game, head coach Bruce Arians indicated Dean avoided serious injury. Still, the Bucs can’t seem to complete a game this season without losing a starting defensive back.
With Dean down, Mike Edwards also stepped in to play in pass-obvious spots. It seems the team has finally warmed to Edwards as a good backup nickel corner option. Late in the game, the Bucs reserve defensive backs saw the field even more heavily.
It’s clear the Bucs are trying to get Kevin Minter off the field in pass-obvious situations. How will that play out next week if Lavonte David can’t go against Philly? We’ll see. The Bucs dime package might get Richard Sherman on the field, if the veteran cornerback is healthy enough to play. But against the Eagles’ run game, the Bucs might not want Minter off the field a ton. Come back soon, Lavonte.
In a blowout, there wasn’t much to glean from the defensive line snap counts. Joe Tryon-Shoyinka and Anthony Nelson played a ton of snaps, while Steve McLendon and Will Gholston led the way on the interior. Interestingly enough, Ndamukong Suh finished the year playing just 63 percent of the team’s defensive snaps this season. That’s by far the lowest mark of Suh’s career. Last year he played 74 percent of snaps. Good job by the Bucs keeping him fresh for the playoffs/end of season.