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Detroit Lions Week 3 snap count observations: Romeo Okwara’s iron-man day, safety shuffle

A look at the Lions’ participation rates against the Baltimore Ravens.

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s take a closer look at the Detroit Lions’ Week 3 snap count in their 19-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

Offense

Quarterbacks

Jared Goff: 63 (100%)

Running backs

D’Andre Swift: 35 (56%)
Jamaal Williams: 31 (49%)
Jason Cabinda: 13 (21%) — 18 special teams snaps (64%)
Godwin Igwebuike: 0 (0%) — 18 (64%)

This was as even of a spilt as we’ve seen from this running back tandem, and it should come as no surprise. We were expecting close to a 50/50 split this year, and with the Lions being within two scores the entire game, Detroit was able to stick with their game plan of running the ball all game.

Still, given how much more Swift contributed in the second half, it does seem like he was a bigger part of the game plan, even on just four more snaps. Also worth noting: the Lions had both Swift and Williams on the field for several snaps.

Tight ends

T.J. Hockenson: 53 (84%)
Darren Fells: 26 (41%) — 3 (11%)

This was the highest percentage of snaps for Darren Fells so far this season, and that, too, likely has to do with the Lions’ ability to stay true to the running game for all four quarters. That being said, Fells was also a threat in the passing game after the Ravens took away Hockenson for the entire contest.

Wide receivers

Kalif Raymond: 47 (75%) — 3 (11%)
Quintez Cephus: 45 (71%)
Amon-Ra St. Brown: 27 (43%) — 5 (18%)
Trinity Benson: 24 (38%)
KhaDarel Hodge: 5 (8%) — 18 (64%)

Not a huge change in personnel usage here this week, although Raymond took over the top spot from Cephus last week. It’s clear Raymond’s short-area quickness was a bit more valuable to the Lions offense given the aggressive nature of Baltimore’s defense.

Amon-Ra St. Brown continues to be underutilized, though, as the Lions have not been in 11 personnel (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WRs) as much as the average team.

Offensive tackles

Matt Nelson: 63 (100%) — 3 (11%)
Penei Sewell: 63 (100%) — 3 (11%)
Will Holden: 7 (11%) — 3 (11%)

The Lions opted to put in a third offensive tackle quite often against the Ravens, adding an extra level of protection for Goff against the blitz-heavy Ravens defense.

Guards/centers

Frank Ragnow: 63 (100%)
Halapoulivaati Vaitai: 63 (100%) — 3 (11%)
Jonah Jackson: 63 (100%) — 3 (11%)
Logan Stenberg: 2 (3%) — 3 (11%)
Evan Brown: 0 (0%) — 3 (11%)

Full participation from the Lions’ starting offensive line, despite a quick injury scare for Frank Ragnow. Luckily a timeout allowed him to get back on the field without missing a play.

Defense

EDGE:

Romeo Okwara: 58 (100%) — 7 (25%)
Charles Harris: 45 (78%) — 7 (25%)
Austin Bryant: 13 (22%) — 5 (18%)
Julian Okwara: 10 (17%) — 5 (18%)

It’s not often you see a defensive lineman/outside linebacker play every single defensive snap, but Romeo Okwara earned it. He was playing with tremendous motor the entire game, including the last drive. Just an incredible effort from him in this game.

With no Trey Flowers, it was Charles Harris who got the start, and the Lions did very few rotations throughout the game. However, because the Lions were able to get in a couple of obvious passing situations on defense, they were able to throw out some formations with more than two outside linebackers to bring additional pass rush. Everyone in this group notched as sack but Julian Okwara, and he managed to provide a few QB pressures despite his low snap count.

Defensive tackle

Michael Brockers: 45 (78%)
Nick Williams: 42 (72%) — 1 (4%)
Levi Onwuzurike: 14 (24%) — 7 (25%)
Alim McNeill: 13 (22%) — 6 (21%)
John Penisini: 8 (14%) — 6 (21%)

The Lions opted not to use a nose tackle for much of this game, preferring more speedy options in Nick Williams and Levi Onwuzurike on the defensive front. Because the Ravens rushing game mostly attacks on the edges, you can certainly understand that strategy, and it mostly paid off. In each of the previous two games, Alim McNeill had at least 40 percent of playing time. He was all the way down to 22 in this game.

Linebackers

Alex Anzalone: 58 (100%) — 7 (25%)
Derrick Barnes: 28 (48%) — 7 (25%)
Jalen Reeves-Maybin: 27 (47%) — 8 (29%)
Anthony Pittman: 0 (0%) — 24 (86%)
Josh Woods: 0 (0%) — 11 (39%)

For the third straight game, Alex Anzalone played in every single defensive snap. Alongside him, with Jamie Collins a healthy scratch, the Lions basically split time 50/50 with rookie Derrick Barnes and Jalen Reeves-Maybin.

Josh Woods, signed just a few days ago, came in and took some of the special teams load off of Barnes and Reeves-Maybin’s plate.

Cornerbacks

Amani Oruwariye: 58 (100%) — 7 (25%)
Bobby Price: 58 (100%) — 7 (25%)
AJ Parker: 30 (52%)
Jerry Jacobs: 0 (0%) — 13 (46%)
Corey Ballentine: 0 (0%) — 11 (39%)
Daryl Worley: 0 (0%) — 2 (7%)

Oruwariye joins Anzalone as another Lions defender who has yet to miss a single snap through three games. Meanwhile, it was Bobby Price who started opposite him, despite some believing it would be veteran Daryl Worley.

Additionally, Corey Ballentine took over kick return duties from Godwin Igwebuike, but each kickoff was a touchback, so he never actually got the opportunity to run one back.

Safety

Will Harris: 44 (76%) — 11 (39%)
Dean Marlowe: 44 (76%) — 11 (39%)
Tracy Walker: 39 (67%) — 10 (36%)
C.J. Moore: 3 (5%) — 18 (64%)

Here’s where things get interesting. After two weeks of almost zero three safety looks, the Lions used it heavily against the Ravens. And, surprisingly, when Detroit was in a few two-safety looks, they often took Walker off the field in favor of Marlowe. If you’re the kind of person that cares about PFF, it adds even more drama to the situation, because Walker had an 82.5 PFF grade while the other two safeties scored under 55.

Special teams

Jack Fox: 10 (36%)
Scott Daly: 10 (36%)
Ryan Santoso: 7 (25%)

Special teamers matter, too.