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Detroit Lions snap counts: Key bubble players sit vs. Browns

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Who didn’t play is just as interesting as who did.

Detroit Lions v Cleveland Browns Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images

The snap counts in the final preseason game can be very telling. If a player doesn’t play at all, it’s often a sign they have nothing left to prove. But does that mean he’s a lock or does that mean the team has already decided to cut him?

Read into it however you want, but here are the Detroit Lions snap counts for their preseason finale against the Cleveland Browns.

Offense:

Quarterbacks

Josh Johnson: 32 (51%)
Tom Savage: 27 (43%)
Luis Perez: 4 (6%)

Analysis: The fact that Josh Johnson and Tom Savage played nearly the entire game tells me that the backup job was still very much up for grabs as of Thursday night. Johnson did all he could to make it a serious competition, including running a two-minute drill to near perfection at the end of the game.

Luis Perez didn’t even get a chance to make a case for the practice squad.

Running backs

Mark Thompson: 32 (51%)
Justin Stockton: 23 (40%)
James Williams: 6 (10%)

Analysis: No surprises in usage here. Mark Thompson was running for his life, literally. And he may have done just enough to warrant a roster spot after Zach Zenner’s release.

Tight ends

Isaac Nauta: 33 (52%) — 16 special teams snaps (52%)
Jerome Cunningham: 26 (41%) — 27 (87%)
Austin Traylor: 14 (22%) — 14 (45%)

Analysis: The Lions got a long look at all three of their reserve tight ends, confirming that Detroit’s top three tight end are set in stone. Nauta led the way, but it’s interesting to see how much Jerome Cunningham played on special teams.

Wide receivers

Travis Fulgham: 43 (68%) — 9 (29%)
Jonathan Duhart: 41 (65%) — 21 (68%)
Tom Kennedy: 33 (52%) — 13 (42%)
Jordan Lasley: 31 (49%) — 6 (19%)
Brandon Powell: 18 (29%) — 7 (23%)
Chris Lacy: 13 (21%) — 8 (26%)

Notable did not play: Andy Jones

Analysis: The Old Dominion boys, once again, got a good, long look. One thing that is interesting is just how much Jonathan Duhart played on special teams all preseason. He played a total of 56 special teams snaps throughout four games, which is much higher than any other wide receiver. I think he’s destined for the practice squad, but don’t be surprised if Detroit keeps him around to contribute on game day special teams.

As for Andy Jones missing the game, I think it may be injury related. He missed Tuesday’s practice. Tough break for a bubble player.

Offensive tackles

Tyrell Crosby: 47 (75%)
Andrew Donnal: 41 (65%) — 3 (10%)
Matt Nelson: 22 (35%) — 3 (10%)
Ryan Pope: 16 (25%) — 2 (6%)

Analysis: Now returned from injury, Crosby got plenty of playing time to prove his worth. Meanwhile, the Lions are either really trying to hide Ryan Pope this preseason or (more likely) he’s struggled so much they’ve already decided his fate.

Guards/centers

Beau Benzschawel: 63 (100%) — 3 (10%)
Leo Koloamatangi: 44 (70%) — 1 (3%)
Micah St. Andrew: 43 (68%) — 3 (10%)
Luke Bowanko: 39 (62%) — 3 (10%)

Notable DNP: Oday Aboushi, Kenny Wiggins

Analysis: No Oday Aboushi means the veteran is likely a lock for the roster. Meanwhile, Beau Benzschawel was given every opportunity to shine against the Browns, playing both at guard and center. However, I’m not sure his performance was good enough to warrant a roster spot.

Defense:

Defensive end

Jonathan Wynn: 51 (68%) — 4 (13%)
Eric Lee: 37 (49%)
Mitchell Loewen: 33 (44%) — 4 (13%)

Analysis: Jonathan Wynn may be the forgotten player in this camp battle. While Lee and Loewen both made a fair amount of plays, Wynn has been consistently getting more playing time, and on Thursday, he got in the game before Loewen. Could mean nothing. Could mean everything.

Defensive tackle

P.J. Johnson: 43 (57%) — 4 (13%)
Kevin Strong: 36 (48%) — 2 (6%)
Ray Smith: 29 (39%) — 2 (6%)
John Atkins: 25 (33%)

Notable DNP: Fred Jones

Analysis: I don’t know what to read into Fred Jones missing the game. Perhaps he’s injured. Meanwhile, rookie P.J. Johnson looked improved in his big role on Thursday. Is it possible he surpassed training camp standout Kevin Strong?

Linebackers

Garret Dooley: 75 (100%) — 22 (71%)
Anthony Pittman: 66 (88%) — 13 (42%)
Malik Carney: 47 (63%) — 13 (42%)

Notable DNP: Miles Killebrew

The Lions went with an extremely short lineup at linebacker, sitting Killebrew, Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Christian Jones, among others. Perhaps they were just trying to ensure the guys they’re keeping stay healthy while Jarrad Davis rehabs. But Garret Dooley was the big benefactor, getting plenty of tape out there in the finale.

Cornerbacks

Andre Chachere: 66 (88%) — 7 (23%)
Jonathan Alston: 55 (73%) — 11 (35%)
Mike Ford: 45 (60%) — 13 (42%)
Amani Oruwariye: 39 (52%) — 7 (23%)
Jamar Summers: 36 (48%) — 11 (35%)

Notable DNP: Teez Tabor, Dee Virgin

Analysis: The most interesting thing here is certainly who did not play. Tabor’s absence is likely injury related, but is it possible Dee Virgin already locked up a spot before the preseason finale? If that’s the case, then Thursday’s game was simply a practice squad battle. If not, Mike Ford likely made the best case of the bunch.

Safety

Andrew Adams: 67 (89%) — 16 (52%)
Charles Washington: 34 (45%) — 15 (48%)
Will Harris: 22 (29%) — 18 (58%)
C.J. Moore: 19 (25%) — 8 (26%)

Notable DNP: Tavon Wilson

Analysis: Tavon Wilson is probably a lock given his absence, but Andrew Adams suddenly feels a lot less safe considering he almost played the entire game. But all four depth safeties got a chance to prove themselves both defensively and on special teams. This remains one of the hottest competitions on the Lions roster.

Special teams

Ryan Santoso: 15 (48%)
Don Muhlbach: 12 (39%)
Sam Martin: 3 (10%)

Analysis: Santoso badly missed a field goal and was inconsistent punting the ball. That’s all you need to know.