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Detroit Lions snap count observations: Despite more injuries, defense steps up big late vs. Bears

A closer look at the snap counts from the Detroit Lions’ Week 10 victory over the Chicago Bears.

Detroit Lions v Chicago Bears Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Here is a closer look at the Detroit Lions’ snap counts from their Week 10 comeback victory over the Chicago Bears, along with some thoughts on what it may mean going forward.

Offense

Quarterbacks

Jared Goff: 62 (100% of offensive snaps)

Running backs

Jamaal Williams: 25 (40%)
D’Andre Swift: 19 (31%)
Justin Jackson: 17 (27%) — 19 special teams snaps (66%)
Jason Cabinda: 13 (21%) — 10 (34%)

D’Andre Swift’s role is steadily increasing, as his 19 snaps are nearly double what he got last week. However, he only had seven touches in the game for 12 yards and a touchdown, so he’s clearly not feeling himself quite yet.

Meanwhile, Justin Jackson saw a boost in playing time both on offense and special teams, taking on the role left by Craig Reynolds’ injury.

This week, Jason Cabinda made his 2022 debut and played a pretty significant role in the offense. Per PFF, 10 of his snaps were taken in the backfield and three were lined up out wide.

Tight ends

Brock Wright: 46 (74%) — 11 (38%)
Shane Zylstra: 16 (26%) — 10 (34%)
James Mitchell: 15 (24%) — 11 (38%)

No real change in the distribution of tight end snaps, as the Lions continue to take along rookie James Mitchell at a slow pace. He did record a catch for the third week in a row, but with just four catches for 26 yards and a touchdown on the season, it’s clear he’s got a long ways to go to reach his full potential.

Wide receivers

Kalif Raymond: 51 (82%) — 3 (10%)
Amon-Ra St. Brown: 50 (81%)
Tom Kennedy: 38 (61%)
Trinity Benson: 13 (21%)
Stanley Berryhill: 2 (3%) — 7 (24%)

The Lions signed Trinity Benson off the Broncos practice squad, and due to his familiarity with the offense, he immediately saw a significant role. Unfortunately, Benson suffered a leg injury in the fourth quarter after getting jammed hard at the line, and Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press said Benson was in crutches after the game. Benson did not even see a target thrown his way and he was called for a ticky-tacky offensive pass interference.

Offensive tackles

Taylor Decker: 62 (100%)
Penei Sewell: 62 (100%) — 5 (17%)
Dan Skipper: 5 (8%) — 5 (17%)

Even with the addition of Jason Cabinda, the Lions still opted to use a sixth offensive linemen on a handful of carries. With Matt Nelson sidelined for one more week, Skipper took on the role again. Nelson returned to practice last week, so it’s possible he reassumes that role next Sunday vs. the Giants.

Guards/centers

Frank Ragnow: 62 (100%)
Jonah Jackson: 62 (100%) — 5 (17%)
Evan Brown: 62 (100%) — 5 (17%)
Logan Stenberg: 0 (0%) — 5 (17%)
Kayode Awosika: 0 (0%) — 5 (17%)

Again, the Lions have had consistency on the interior offensive line, but keep an eye on Frank Ragnow. He’s been battling a toe injury all season and was spotted in a walking boot after the game. The injury is clearly still affecting him.

Defense

EDGE:

Aidan Hutchinson: 54 (89%) — 5 (17%)
John Cominsky: 40 (70%) — 5 (17%)
Julian Okwara: 23 (38%)
Josh Paschal: 17 (28%)
Charles Harris: 14 (23%) — 5 (17%)

John Cominsky was off the injury report this week and got a full load of playing time because of it. Although, his increased role was also likely due to the injury to Josh Paschal, who hurt his knee early in this game and did not appear to return.

Julian Okwara continues to have a significant role on this defense, and this week it was especially important to have his athleticism on the field to counter Justin Fields. After allowing a big run on the opening drive, Okwara settled in nicely and ended up sacking Fields twice.

Detroit continues to ease Charles Harris back in, despite no longer being on the injury report. Harris saw just over a dozen snaps, many of which were in obvious passing situations.

DT:

Isaiah Buggs: 56 (92%)
Alim McNeill: 53 (87%)
Benito Jones: 6 (10%) — 5 (17%)

It’s amazing that Buggs and McNeill are still standing considering their ridiculously high snap counts week in and week out. It says something about their conditioning that they’re able to hold up regularly logging between 85-95% of the snaps. Both Buggs and McNeill are in the top six in snap counts among Lions defenders.

Linebackers

Alex Anzalone: 60 (98%) — 5 (17%)
Derrick Barnes: 42 (69%)
Jarrad Davis: 12 (20%) — 15 (52%)
Chris Board: 5 (8%) — 24 (83%)
Anthony Pittman: 4 (7%) — 24 (83%)
Josh Woods: 0 (0%) — 10 (77%)

With no Malcolm Rodriguez this week, the Lions spread the love a little amongst the linebacker room. Barnes, surprisingly, didn’t actually see a higher percentage of snaps than last week, and that appears to be because of the surprising play of Jarrad Davis, who was elevated from the practice squad on Saturday. Davis’ athleticism was likely in demand because of Fields and company, and the former first-round pick rewarded Detroit’s decision with an early pass breakup and a couple of tackles.

Board got his usual handful of opportunities in passing situations, while Anthony Pittman got a few snaps on the edge, likely due to the injuries to Paschal and Okwara (Okwara returned shortly thereafter).

Cornerbacks

Jeff Okudah: 58 (95%)
Will Harris: 39 (64%) — 13 (45%)
Jerry Jacobs: 32 (52%) — 13 (45%)
Mike Hughes: 30 (49%)
Amani Oruwariye: 1 (2%) — 14 (48%)

It appears the Lions have found a place for Will Harris as the team’s starting nickelback, where he has settled in nicely. The other outside cornerback spot opposite Okudah, however, is not yet settled. Mike Hughes technically got the start, but for the second straight week, he split time almost evenly with Jerry Jacobs.

Meanwhile, the Lions are starting to put Amani Oruwariye to work on special teams. He saw a career-high 14 snaps on teams this week, although he didn’t exactly look comfortable on Chicago’s big kick return.

Safety

Kerby Joseph: 61 (100%) — 5 (17%)
C.J. Moore: 32 (52%) — 22 (76%)
DeShon Elliott: 29 (48%)
JuJu Hughes: 0 (0%) — 15 (52%)

It wasn’t the greatest day for the Lions’ safeties, as they were responsible for a couple of the explosion plays from the Bears offense. Unfortunately, we saw the return of some coverage breakdowns, which could be partially explained by the early exit of DeShon Elliott, who went into concussion protocol at the end of the second quarter.

It was a stark reminder, too, that Kerby Joseph is a rookie and is still figuring things out. It’s a big step back from his Defensive Player of the Week performance last week, but it would be far too early to get discouraged about his play.

Special teams

Jack Fox: 15 (52%)
Scott Daly: 9 (31%)
Michael Badgley: 5 (17%)

It wasn’t Jack Fox’s best day, but congratulations are still in order for the Lions punter. He crossed over the 150 punt threshold on Sunday, and he is the current NFL all-time record-holder for highest punting and net punting average among specialists with at least 150 punts:

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