Inside The Numbers: Lions' Snap Counts In Season Opener

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 09: Kevin Smith #9 of the Detroit Lions celebrates his winning touch down with ten seconds left in the fourth quarter against the St. Louis Rams during the season opener at Ford Field on September 9, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

The NFL is now making snap counts available for every game this season. They can be found in the gamebooks that are released following the completion of games. They include lots of stats, play-by-play breakdowns and several other interesting resources.

The snap counts are perhaps the most interesting stats since they provide a window into how the Detroit Lions rotate their players. Here's the offensive breakdown from the Lions' Week 1 win over the St. Louis Rams (there were 69 snaps):

  • QB Matthew Stafford, LT Jeff Backus, LG Rob Sims, C Dominic Raiola, RG Stephen Peterman, RT Gosder Cherilus, WR Calvin Johnson, TE Brandon Pettigrew - 69/69 (100%)
  • WR Nate Burleson - 55/69 (80%)
  • RB Kevin Smith - 49/69 (71%)
  • TE Tony Scheffler - 45/69 (65%)
  • WR Titus Young - 40/69 (58%)
  • TE Will Heller - 8/69 (12%)
  • RB Stefan Logan - 5/69 (7%)
  • RB Keiland Williams - 3/69 (4%)
  • RB Joique Bell, OT Riley Reiff - 1/69 (1%)

As you can see, eight players on offense played every single snap -- the Lions' starting quarterback, starting offensive line, top receiver and top tight end. Nate Burleson, Kevin Smith, Tony Scheffler and Titus Young (before he got benched) were all involved quite a bit as well and were clearly part of the regular rotation. The rest of the players on the list played only on a limited basis. That includes Joique Bell and Riley Reiff, who appeared on only one play, which resulted in a Lions touchdown.

On defense, the Lions were on the field for 58 snaps. Unlike the offense, there was a lot more rotating on the defensive side of the ball. Only one player was on the field for every snap, and only four players were on the field for more than 86 percent of the snaps. Here's the breakdown:

  • S Erik Coleman - 58/58 (100%)
  • CB Jacob Lacey - 57/58 (98%)
  • LB Stephen Tulloch, S John Wendling - 56/58 (97%)
  • LB DeAndre Levy - 50/58 (86%)
  • LB Justin Durant - 48/58 (83%)
  • DT Ndamukong Suh - 41/58 (71%)
  • CB Bill Bentley - 39/58 (67%)
  • DE Cliff Avril - 38/58 (66%)
  • DE Kyle Vanden Bosch - 37/58 (64%)
  • DT Corey Williams - 35/58 (60%)
  • CB Drayton Florence - 32/58 (55%)
  • DT Nick Fairley - 20/58 (34%)
  • DE Willie Young, DT Sammie Hill - 19/58 (33%)
  • DE Lawrence Jackson - 18/58 (31%)
  • CB Jonte Green - 8/58 (14%)
  • S Amari Spievey - 4/58 (7%)
  • LB Ashlee Palmer - 2/58 (3%)

On special teams, I'm not going to list the breakdown since most of the team was involved with the coverage or return units (go to page 17 of this link for the full numbers). In fact, only nine players on the team didn't play on at least one of the special teams units: Calvin Johnson, Dominic Raiola, Matthew Stafford, Nate Burleson, Titus Young, Bill Bentley, Cliff Avril, Kyle Vanden Bosch and Nick Fairley. On the flip side, there were nine players who played only on special teams last Sunday: Kassim Osgood, Ronnell Lewis, Doug Hogue, Kevin Barnes, Jason Hanson, Ben Graham, Don Muhlbach, Dylan Gandy and Travis Lewis.

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