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Lions Week 8 snap count: Penisini sees stiff rise in playing time vs. Colts

The Lions’ sixth-round rookie is showing some promising growth.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s a look at the Detroit Lions’ Week 8 snap counts against the Indianapolis Colts.

Offense

Quarterbacks:

Matthew Stafford: 61 (100%)

Running backs:

D’Andre Swift: 38 (62%) — 7 special teams snaps (23%)
Adrian Peterson: 12 (20%)
Kerryon Johnson: 11 (18%)
Jason Cabinda: 5 (8%) — 20 (67%)

Tight ends:

T.J. Hockenson: 45 (74%)
Jesse James: 20 (33%) — 11 (37%)
Isaac Nauta: 6 (10%) — 7 (23%)

Wide receivers:

Marvin Jones Jr.: 60 (98%)
Marvin Hall: 42 (69%) — 3 (10%)
Danny Amendola: 41 (67%) — 2 (7%)
Kenny Golladay: 18 (30%)
Jamal Agnew: 7 (11%) — 13 (43%)

Offensive tackles:

Taylor Decker: 61 (100%) — 1 (3%)
Halapoulivaati Vaitai: 46 (75%) — 3 (10%)
Tyrell Crosby: 15 (25%) — 4 (13%)
Matt Nelson: 0 (0%) — 4 (13%)

Guards/centers

Frank Ragnow: 61 (100%)
Jonah Jackson: 61 (100%) — 4 (13%)
Joe Dahl: 61 (100%) — 4 (13%)
Oday Aboushi: 0 (0%) — 4 (13%)

Observations:

  • At first glance, it may look like the Lions are finally prioritizing D’Andre Swift as the primary back, but these numbers are a bit misleading. Adrian Peterson is the preferred back, and if you need any evidence of that, look at how they started each half:

And their first two plays in the second half: two rushes to Adrian Peterson.

Swift got the bulk of playing time simply because of situational football. The Lions went pass-heavy in the second half, and he’s the most valuable tailback in the passing game. But when the team is in a neutral situation (close game, first and second downs), they still prefer AD in the backfield.

  • With Kenny Golladay out for the majority of the game, Marvin Hall made the most of his opportunities, turning 42 snaps into 113 yards receiving. If Golladay’s injury is long-term, Hall made a good case for a huge bump in playing time. That could potentially keep rookie Quintez Cephus—who has been inactive the past few weeks—on the sideline.
  • The Lions mixed up their offensive line yet again in this game, though it’s unclear if that was because of the Taylor Decker injury. Decker made it through the entire game, but Halapoulivaati Vaitai, making his first start of the year at right tackle, was in and out of the game with an injury. And Joe Dahl was back in the starting lineup, this time on the right side.

Defense:

Defensive end:

Romeo Okwara: 42 (55%) — 14 (47%)
Trey Flowers: 38 (49%)

Defensive tackle:

Danny Shelton: 47 (61%) — 5 (17%)
John Penisini: 47 (61%)
Da’Shawn Hand: 42 (55%) — 5 (17%)
Nick Williams: 41 (53%) — 5 (17%)

Linebackers:

Jamie Collins Sr.: 73 (95%) — 1 (3%)
Reggie Ragland: 53 (69%)
Christian Jones: 39 (51%) — 10 (33%)
Jahlani Tavai: 37 (48%) — 13 (43%)
Jarrad Davis: 14 (18%) — 14 (47%)
Jalen Reeves-Maybin: 2 (3%) — 26 (87%)

Cornerbacks:

Amani Oruwariye: 75 (97%) — 5 (17%)
Jeff Okudah: 75 (97%)
Justin Coleman: 39 (51%)
Tony McRae: 0 (0%) — 19 (63%)
Darryl Roberts: 0 (0%) — 6 (20%)

Safeties:

Tracy Walker: 77 (100%) — 8 (27%)
Duron Harmon: 75 (97%) — 5 (17%)
Jayron Kearse: 27 (35%) — 14 (47%)
Will Harris: 2 (3%) — 20 (67%)
Miles Killebrew: 0 (0%) — 26 (87%)
C.J. Moore: 0 (0%) — 21 (70%)

Observations:

  • For the first time all season, nose tackle John Penisini crossed over the 50 percent threshold. His 47 snaps was a season-high and tied for most of any defensive lineman in this game. He also did this against one of the best centers in the game:
  • At the linebacking level, we continue to see the Lions use more and more of Jamie Collins Sr. and Reggie Ragland as their top two linebackers. Jarrad Davis, who had seen an increase in his role over the past few weeks, was scaled back again for the Colts game.
  • Justin Coleman played in half the snaps in his return from injury, which is about the average amount Detroit has been using a nickel corner this season.
  • For the second time this season, Tracy Walker played in every defensive snap on Sunday. Unfortunately, he was also the team’s lowest-graded defender.

Special teams:

Jack Fox: 13 special teams snaps (43%)
Don Muhlbach: 9 (30%)
Matt Prater: 4 (13%)