clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Week 14 snap count observations: Lions depth contributes in victory

A closer look at the snap counts from the Detroit Lions’ 34-23 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in Week 14.

Detroit Lions vs Minnesota Vikings Photo by Jorge Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Here is a closer look at the Detroit Lions’ snap counts from their decisive Week 14 victory over the Minnesota Vikings, along with some thoughts on what they may mean going forward.

Offense

Quarterbacks

Jared Goff: 70 (100% of offensive snaps)

Running backs

Jamaal Williams: 26 (37%)
D’Andre Swift: 25 (36%)
Justin Jackson: 20 (29%) — 18 special teams snaps (62%)
Jason Cabinda: 11 (16%) — 17 (59%)

With Williams (hand) and Swift (ankle) battling through some minor injuries this week, the Lions split the load between the starters and leaned on Jackson a tick more than typically have this year—and Jackson returned the favor with a terrific touchdown.

Tight ends

Brock Wright: 40 (57%) — 12 (41%)
Shane Zylstra: 23 (33%) — 6 (21%)
James Mitchell: 14 (20%) — 12 (41%)

The Lions shifted their tight ends around just a bit, giving Wright some of the snaps Mitchell had been getting, but this has been pretty close to the standard since they traded away T.J. Hockenson.

Wide receivers

Amon-Ra St. Brown: 61 (87%) — 1 (3%)
DJ Chark: 60 (86%)
Josh Reynolds: 43 (61%)
Jameson Williams: 13 (19%)
Kalif Raymond: 8 (11%) — 5 (17%)

Jameson Williams saw his snaps increase a bit in this game, adding another five snaps to his early career resume. Both Reynolds and Raymond saw their snap counts dip, a trend affected somewhat by game plan, but also by Williams’ expanding role. As Williams continues to gain experience, Reynolds and Raymond could see their snaps decrease a bit more over the final month of the season.

Offensive tackles

Taylor Decker: 70 (100%)
Penei Sewell: 70 (100%) — 7 (24%)
Dan Skipper: 3 (4%) — 7 (24%)
Matt Nelson: 3 (4%) — 7 (24%)

The Lions used a sixth offensive lineman six times against the Vikings. When the Lions brought Skipper onto the field, it was as an inline tight end, lining up on the offensive tackles outside shoulder. But when Nelson came on the field, it was as a right tackle, and Sewell was split out to tight end (1 snap), or as a slot receiver (2 snaps).

Fun times:

Guards/centers

Frank Ragnow: 70 (100%)
Jonah Jackson: 70 (100%) — 7 (24%)
Logan Stenberg: 70 (100%) — 7 (24%)
Ross Pierschbacher: 0 (0%) — 7 (24%)

The revolving door at right guard continued on Sunday, this time the Lions opted for Stenberg—who was a healthy scratch the week prior—to start. Evan Brown is back practicing, went through warm-ups on Sunday, and could potentially return to his starting role in Week 15.

Defense

DT:

Alim McNeill: 40 (62%) — 1 (3%)
Isaiah Buggs: 32 (49%) — 1 (3%)
Benito Jones: 18 (28%) — 2 (8%)

The Lions continue to lean on the EDGE players to fill inside on pass rushing downs, keeping the big guys fresh—and it’s working. Buggs recorded just one tackle (his first career sack fumble) but this was easily his best game as a Lion. Jones is also starting to show some life, while McNeill remains a freaky monster.

More fun times:

EDGE:

Aidan Hutchinson: 59 (91%) — 4 (14%)
John Cominsky: 54 (83%) — 4 (14%)
Romeo Okwara: 25 (38%) — 3 (10%)
James Houston: 21 (32%) — 10 (34%)
Josh Paschal: 15 (23%)

In Okwara’s first game back on the field since tearing his Achilles, he registered 25 snaps as a rotational edge. He saw the field as a rush end on the open side of the formation opposite Paschal when the starters needed a break, and also contributed from the closed end spot on the outside in the Lions NASCAR package opposite Houston.

Hutchinson (7) and Houston (4) are the top two rookies in sack production across the NFL, and with each registering another sack in this game, the duo continues to separate from the pack.

Houston’s four sacks on 38 career snaps over three games is startlingly efficient.

Linebackers

Alex Anzalone: 63 (97%) — 1 (3%)
Malcolm Rodriguez: 33 (51%)
Chris Board: 15 (23%) — 20 (69%)
Jarrad Davis: 14 (22%) — 4 (14%)
Anthony Pittman: 5 (8%) — 20 (69%)
Josh Woods: 0 (0%) — 21 (72%)

With no Derrick Barnes (knee) the Lions increased the workloads of Rodriguez and Board, as well as elevating Davis to help spread out the responsibilities. Rodriguez is still working his way back from an elbow injury, but he has been remarkable in all phases. He is shooting gaps and making big run stops, as well as contributing on special teams—most notably as a lead blocker on the Lions' fake punt:

Cornerbacks

Jerry Jacobs: 63 (97%) — 1 (3%)
Mike Hughes: 63 (97%) — 6 (21%)
Amani Oruwariye: 34 (52%) — 3 (10%)
Jeff Okudah: 27 (42%) — 1 (3%)
Jarren Williams: 0 (0%) — 14 (48%)

After playing 100% of snaps against the Jaguars, Jacobs showed once again that he is an established starter on the outside. Okudah gave it a go, but his illness got the better of him on Sunday and the team turned to Oruwariye to step in near the end of the first half and all of the second.

With Will Harris (hip) out, the Lions leaned on Hughes to carry the load at nickel and he had one of his better games as a Lion, stepping up against the team who drafted him.

The Lions gave up a ton of air yards in this game, but down two of their three top corners, facing one of the top wide receivers in the NFL (Justin Jefferson), combined with the Vikings' inability to run the football (22 rush yards as a team), and it’s not an overly surprising result.

Safety

Kerby Joseph: 65 (100%) — 12 (41%)
DeShon Elliott: 64 (98%) — 9 (31%)
C.J. Moore: 4 (6%) — 19 (66%)
Ifeatu Melifonwu: 1 (2%) — 10 (34%)

Joseph and Elliott continue to be on the field for basically the entire game, while Moore got a couple of looks in DIME packages.

Special teams

Jack Fox: 17 (59%)
Scott Daly: 10 (34%)
Michael Badgley: 7 (24%)

Speaking of Moore, his execution of the Lions’ fake punt was masterful and couldn’t have come at a better time. This was the furthest distance (7 yards from their own 26-yard line) the Lions tried a fake from during the coach Dan Campbell era, and Moore—who already has 4.38 speed—found another gear to get the conversion.

Even more fun times:

Subscribe to PODD

After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.