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.

The big surprise on offense was Jaydon Mickens out-snapping Tyler Johnson, although both players saw their biggest workload of the season on Monday night. Head coach Bruce Arians revealed after the game that Mickens stepped into Chris Godwin’s typical role, a curious decision given how Johnson had been performing in that spot. Mickens got the job done, however, with five catches for 36 yards.

Tampa Bay dressed four tight ends on Monday night, but Cam Brate didn’t see an increase in snaps, while Antony Auclair and Tanner Hudson played just three apiece. Joe Haeg as an extra blocker continues to be a go-to move despite its’ lack of success the past two weeks, as the veteran offensive lineman tied a season-high with 14 snaps.

Is a changing of the guard happening at running back? The Bucs season-long woes at the position continued on Monday night, as Ronald Jones fumbled on the team’s second possession of the game, after looking out of sorts running the ball early on. Leonard Fournette essentially replaced Jones for the rest of the game after the turnover, but he dropped two passes and managed just 52 yards on 15 carries.

After outplaying him for nearly the length of a full season, Jamel Dean finally replaced Sean Murphy-Bunting in base defensive packages, playing 100 percent of the team’s defensive snaps on Monday night. Murphy-Bunting saw just 51 percent as his playing time significantly decreased, but both players struggled mightily all game long.

At linebacker, Lavonte David and Devin White ran their streak of consecutive games without a missed snap to four. The Bucs moved to some three safety packages defensively, as it appears Antoine Winfield Jr. played some slot in place of Murphy-Bunting at times on Sunday. Mike Edwards’ 20 snaps were his second-most in a game this season, as his role continues to expand while Murphy-Bunting and Whitehead’s decreases slightly.

It didn’t take long for Steve McLendon to start out-snapping Rakeem Nunez-Roches, which is the right move based off of last week. This week all the Bucs interior defensive linemen struggled in the run game while providing very little spark against the pass. Anthony Nelson continued to see an increased role for the third straight week, but his lack of impact as a pass rusher has to be highly concerning with the trade deadline looming.

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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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1 year ago

Dean May have struggled but so did SMB. I wouldn’t dare take him back down to CB3 from one game, especially being his first game starting. Any time there’s a bit of a shuffle guys gotta learn how to roll together. This was the right Defensive setup, they just need to warm up to it. We play better when being doubted so let this be a lesson to them and get back to playin ball on their terms.

Reply to  Spitfire
1 year ago

I’d rather keep letting Dean get the reps at starter than SMB at this point. He can only get better with more time and experience.

1 year ago

We need Edwards on the field more often

1 year ago

Arians said the starting RB role was Rojo’s to lose and it sure didn’t take him long to do it. Damn shame….was hoping he could develop his blocking and receiving skills to be the complete running back but it doesn’t look like that will happen anytime soon.

Reply to  gcolerick
1 year ago

lol huh? He fumbled, yes, but I’d put money on Jones being the 1st RB on the field Sunday. This changing of the guard stuff is just nonsense…both RBs will still play their fair share of snaps going forward and it will likely depend almost entirely on game flow. Also his blocking has been good this season, so I’m not sure where the idea comes from that it’s still been an issue… It really comes down to his hands. He’s simply not an elite pass catcher. It isn’t a deal breaker in the NFL…guys like Nick Chubb and Derek Henry… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by DT25
1 year ago

Good breakdown
The staff is finally listening to Jon on the secondary!

Bucc My Life
Bucc My Life(@buccmylife)
1 year ago

Was it just me or did the D-line look gassed? Jones had way too long to throw; they had too many good runs.

Our interior lineman are below average at causing pressure and our edge guys play too many downs & start dissapearing. We need another pass rusher so we can kick JPP inside and get good pressure without blitzing.

A better QB would’ve beaten us, Jones missed a ton of big throws and threw in a few gift wrapped bad decisions. I’m not excited to play the Saints next week who have a better everything on offense.

Reply to  Bucc My Life
1 year ago

They definitely looked gassed late in the game, yes.

1 year ago

Why isn’t Tyler Johnson seeing more snaos than Jayden Mickens?! He’s a better player with even more potential to grow! He’s even starting to pick up running assignments well…and FFS where is Mike Edwards?!

Reply to  Charlie
1 year ago

Exactly Charlie! TJ should get more playing time than Mickens. TJ is a rookie and he is performing and getting better with every opportunity. So why play Mickens more???

1 year ago

Interested to see if Khalil Davis will finally get some reps on DL at some point this season.