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 embarrassing, 38-3 loss to the New Orleans Saint on Sunday Night Football.

Despite being a game-time decision with his finger injury, Chris Godwin led the way in snap counts for the Bucs receivers, playing all but three snaps. Mike Evans was followed closely by Antonio Brown, who played 39 of the team’s 50 offensive snaps despite having to be told what route to run a healthy amount of the time by Tom Brady.

Perhaps most disappointingly, Scotty Miller saw his snap counts plummet from 53 to 19 with Brown in the lineup. For the receiver who entered last night leading the Bucs in receiving yards, it continues to befuddle me how the Tampa Bay coaching staff looked at Miller’s first eight weeks of the season and said, “not good enough.”

With Godwin and Brown both out there in Week 9, Tyler Johnson unsurprisingly saw his snaps go from 35 in Week 8 to just six in Week 9, while Jaydon Mickens played just one rep after a season-high 44 the week prior.

In the tight end room Cam Brate, Antony Auclair and Tanner Hudson’s workload stayed about the same, while Rob Gronkowski saw his numbers take a big hit as the Bucs deployed a ton of 4-receiver looks. The score dictated some of that, but I would still bet on lower snaps for Gronkowski over the season’s second half compared to what he’s been putting up.

Tampa Bay’s running back room continued to tilt in Leonard Fournette’s direction for the third straight game, although this usage was dictated heavily by the score. As their top receiving back, it wasn’t surprising to see Fournette at 51 snaps to Ronald Jones II’s 17, as the Bucs were in pass-heavy mode most of the game.

That’s five games without a missed snap for Devin White and Lavonte David, as they combined with cornerback Carlton Davis III to go the distance on every miserable play of this contest. Backup linebacker Kevin Minter got into the game for a pair of snaps in run-obvious situations.

The Bucs continued to ride with Jamel Dean as the outside cornerback opposite Davis, while Sean Murphy-Bunting’s role diminishes weekly. After taking almost every snap through most of the first half of the season, Murphy-Bunting played just 51 percent of the defensive reps last week, before dropping to 36 percent this week. That was largely due to the Saints deploying a lot of two-receiver sets, which limited the Bucs need to be in nickel.

The only real change on the interior defensive line was Rakeem Nunez-Roches going from playing the least of any of the Bucs’ big four to playing the most, with 55 snaps on Sunday night. The Bucs are desperately searching for someone to give their interior pass rush a spark, but the quest has been an abject failure since Vita Vea was lost for the season in Week 5.

It was also as little as we’ve seen Shaq Barrett (50 snaps) play this season, as Anthony Nelson played a healthy 22 snaps despite his lack of impact as a pass rusher. Mike Edwards continues to not see the field despite his excellent play, as Todd Bowles rolled him out for just seven snaps on Sunday night.

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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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8 months ago

Move Marpet to LT. Or Haeg or Shipley or literally anyone else.

8 months ago

I don’t understand why they thought they could get home with their front four against the Saints when they couldn’t even get home against the Giants. And playing zone against Brees? I like Bowles but I just can’t wrap my head around that. It’s not even hyperbolic to say an invested fan could have put together a better plan than that. I just don’t get how a man who has coached football for years, gets paid millions of dollars, and has had success at a high level could make such a terrible game plan. At least Byron has proven he’s… Read more »

8 months ago

Very good analysis Jon. Do you have anymore thoughts about White’s lack of pass coverage in his area of operation? Do you think it might make him more of a run stopper/pass rusher?

8 months ago

Now that I see the snap count, I was very surprise we didn’t play more of a two TE set up or at least adding another OL in Saints defensive match up. I thought by now it was obvious the key in beating Brady is to put as much pressure on him as possible and his accuracy diminishes immensely.

Reply to  Horse
8 months ago

You could say the same thing about any QB.

8 months ago

The whole sports TV community is talking about that A..Whippin our Bucs took last night. One sports announcer says our Bucs ought to join our President and ask for a Recount…Yes I thought that was funny as hell

8 months ago

It’s not funny that the coaching staff is in denial of their incompetence. Arians told Michelle Tafoya Brady was making poor decisions. Brady was not being protected. Brees faced no pressure from a defense fully capable of it if turned loose.

Reply to  lambeau
8 months ago

I mean Brady was bad. He deserves blame. Brady has wilted under pressure for coming on two years now and it is a huge problem. Historically Brady has been great under pressure but that hasn’t been true for some time now. But obviously BA/BL deserve a ton of blame too.

Last edited 8 months ago by PatrioticChief
8 months ago

screw antonio brown , why is he even here

Reply to  Lawdy
8 months ago

Cut him. Completely agree. They can fire everyone else while their at it. I’ll take my chances with rosen and the practice squad.

8 months ago

Bowels is on the hot seat in my book. His defense has looked horrible. Leftwich was an average QB and a below average offensive coordinator. Arians is past his day and can go back to Arizona for all I care. I’m done getting excited about this team only to get let down. They don’t want it. They don’t want to win. They just want the paycheck. Nothing more. All of them, including Brady, can piss off.

Reply to  PissedOffBuc1988
8 months ago

Talk about your ‘What have you done for me lately’. For God’s sake, i’m thinking it might be a bit premature to throw the towel in at this point.

8 months ago

Now that I am over the shock, I think it is time to see if this was a one time thing or a view of the future. We did the same thing to the Packers and they got past it and won their games. It is time to see if the Bucs can do the same thing.

8 months ago

My goodness folks. It was one very poor game that simply snowballed and got out of hand. Some of you people just go the way the wind blows. Talk about fickle fans. You want consistency in the football team, but your own mood must be in total chaos depending on the morning headline. “Fire everybody, blow up the team”! No wonder the divorce rate is so high.