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 19-17 victory over the New England Patriots in Week 4.

Bucs Offensive Snap Counts

Bucs Week 4 Offensive Snap Counts

On a night where the Bucs were forced to play without Giovani Bernard, it was clear Leonard Fournette is the guy. Ronald Jones played just 13 snaps to Fournette’s 64, and Ke’Shawn Vaughn didn’t see the field on offense. Fournette responded with his best game of the year, rushing 20 times for 91 yards and catching three passes for 47 yards. I think we can finally feel comfortable that he’s the lead back moving forward.

Despite the absence of Rob Gronkowski, the Bucs desire to run the ball and use play-action led to plenty of snaps for Cam Brate and O.J. Howard. Both tight ends out-snapped Antonio Brown by double digits, which is what I call overthinking it. It’s no wonder the Bucs worst offensive performance of the year came in a game where they emphasized the run and used two backup tight ends more than Brown. I understand the mindset, but without Gronkowski the strategy was a bad one.

Also, we gotta stop with the Josh Wells reps. Please.

Bucs Defensive Snap Counts

Week 4 Bucs Defensive Snap Counts

Richard Sherman has had many better performances in his career, but not giving up any big plays down the field feels like a win. Yes, the Patriots beat Sherman on a few in-breaking routes, but considering it was the All-Pro’s first football since last season, he wasn’t bad. Sherman played every snap but one on Sunday night. The Bucs needed he and Pierre Desir, 26 snaps, to be reliable after the loss of Carlton Davis. Both veterans kept everything in front of them and played tough. So did Ross Cockrell, whose deflection led to Antoine Winfield Jr.’s first half interception.

With Davis likely out for a long time, the Bucs will start Sherman, Desir and Cockrell at cornerback. When Sean Murphy-Bunting and Jamel Dean return, Tampa Bay can move Desir and Cockrell back to the bench. Dean could be back in Week 5, while Murphy-Bunting likely remains out awhile longer.

Despite the injuries in the secondary, Mike Edwards played just 24 snaps. He’ll be asked to step up with Antoine Winfield Jr. in concussion protocol. Winfield missed his first snaps of the season after the injury occurred in the second half. Dee Delaney did not play after receiving 50+ snaps against the Rams. Last week, Bruce Arians said Delaney “might have played the best” of the Bucs defensive backs in Week 3. Not well enough, I guess.

Joe Tryon-Shoyinka played all but nine snaps, picking up two sacks in the win. The rookie was everywhere, piling up pressures against a quality left tackle in Isaiah Wynn. The Bucs clearly prioritized pass rush on Sunday night, playing Vita Vea almost 70 percent of snaps. That’s the highest percentage Vea has played in a game all year. Ndamukong Suh played two snaps more, and Will Gholston stayed right around 50 percent. As a result, Rakeem Nunez-Roches and Steve McLendon saw their lowest snap counts of the season.

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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
Pete Wood
9 months ago

Have the Bucs given up on Vaughn?

Horse
Horse
Reply to  Pete Wood
9 months ago

I was thinking the same thing.

drdneast
drdneast
Reply to  Horse
9 months ago

Vaugh is the third string back. Pure and simple. Geeesh u guys.

eaustinyoung
eaustinyoung
9 months ago

Keep feeding the run game. Keep the depleted defense off the field. So refreshing to actually have a run game for once.

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
9 months ago

I disagree that the game strategy was a bad one. The results were weak mainly because Brady failed to be accurate on his passing, hitting on less than 55% of his attempts, vs. Jones hitting on 79% of his attempts in exactly the same wet conditions. Brady of course attempted more down the field passes than Jones, which accounts for at least some of that difference, but I found myself wondering why Brady was even targeting those long range passes in such crappy conditions. Particularly the two late shots at Antonio Brown in the end zone – which despite the… Read more »

RW
RW
Reply to  Naplesfan
9 months ago

Seriously??? Maybe try comparing the throws each QB was making.Totally different gameplans. I know Brady was off on some throws but to blame him for the play calling is just ridiculous. The coaches decide on the personnel groupings and the plays; Brady runs what they want. In addition the Bucs offense features a vertical passing game with many long shots down the field. In comparison, the Pats offense is dink and dunk with short high percentage passes. Much of the yardage the Pats got was after the catch. They had Jones throw one ball longer than 20 yards and it… Read more »

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  RW
9 months ago

Seriously? Don’t attempt difficult throws in bad throwing conditions. That is the point. Brady doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone about his ability to make all the throws. But just because he can make all those throws does not mean he should make all those throws in a particular game situation. That’s how you end up with no touchdowns, and a crappy passer rating of 70 vs. the 100+ passer rating of the rookie on the other side of field who at least had an excuse to know when when to make such throws. Jones did, and Brady didn’t.… Read more »

Eddie
Eddie
Reply to  RW
9 months ago

Brady now has a “biscuit” coach who loves long ball

drdneast
drdneast
Reply to  Naplesfan
9 months ago

LMAO. He threw to Brown because he was open both times. Brown lost the first one and dropped the second. You forgot to mention Jones’ INT and four sacks. If he had outplayed Brady they would have won. He didn’t.

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  drdneast
9 months ago

LMAO you too. Brown was open but Brady could not get the throws to him in those wet conditions. Brady had been missing those throws all night long, which is how you get to a rookie-like 55% pass completion rate and a 70 passer rating, unlike the actual rookie across the field who at least had the sense to NOT attempt those throws and greatly out performed the GOAT.

Eddie
Eddie
Reply to  drdneast
9 months ago

totally

warren
warren
Reply to  Naplesfan
9 months ago

Naplesfan: The two throws to AN in the end zone have been shown on ESPN, NFL Network, and other sports networks dozens of times today. On the first one, AB lost the ball. On the second, it was a perfect pass and AB dropped it. He’d catch that same pass 95% if the time, but he didn’t this time.
We can question whether the Bucs should have thrown into the end zone twice in a row rather than try to get the first down, but on that one pass, Brady put it right on target and AB dropped it.

surferdudes
surferdudes
9 months ago

McElory had 4 snaps to many. One of those snaps he was actually targeted in the endzone, very bad play call there. Vea might have gotten more snaps because that was Washington weather, not 100 degree heat index.

Horse
Horse
9 months ago

If our team can get by the Dolphins, we might get back a couple DB’s.. Looks like the Bye Week is where we will get healthy again; similar to last season? I know we need CB help, but we will have to rely on some of our rookies to show up at this point. I was surprised Howard played that much. I guess his blocking is improving? Go Bucz!

drdneast
drdneast
Reply to  Horse
9 months ago

Wouldn’t a CB chosen in the second round make more sense now.

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  drdneast
9 months ago

Nope – CBs who don’t get injured are what make sense now. Get off your mental infirmity of Trask hate.

NotDeadYet
NotDeadYet
9 months ago

The Patriots played 7 DBs for much of the game, which is an invitation to run the ball. And those DBs were frequently giving a blitz look; all part of Belichick’s strategy to keep Brady guessing as to where coverages would be once the ball was snapped…