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Week 2 snap counts: Lions deploy heavy defensive front in effort to stop run

Taking a closer look at the Detroit Lions snap counts from their Week 2 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Detroit Lions Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions didn’t have a ton of schematic variation from Week 1 to Week 2, and their snap counts remained similar as a result. But, due to pre-game and in-game injuries, how and to whom those snaps were distributed, saw some fluctuation.

Let’s take a look at how the Lions' snap counts from their Week 2 game against the Seattle Seahawks.



Jared Goff: 66 (100%)
Teddy Bridgewater: DNP

Nothing unexpected here other than the fact that Goff took 65 of the 66 snaps from center, with running back David Montgomery receiving one snap out of a Wildcat formation.

Running backs

Jahmyr Gibbs: 32 (48%)
David Montgomery: 30 (45%)
Craig Reynolds: 10 (15%) — 11 special teams snaps (39%)
Jason Cabinda: 5 (8%) — 15 (54%)

Montgomery was one of the better-performing offensive players in this game but he unfortunately exited early with a thigh injury, opening the door for Craig Reynolds to get 10 opportunities. Gibbs indeed saw an uptick in snaps—as coaches alluded to during the week—both by design and as an injury replacement. Cabinda saw his snaps cut in half, as the Lions were forced to pass more while trailing in the fourth quarter.

Tight ends

Sam LaPorta: 54 (82%)
Brock Wright: 26 (39%) — 12 (43%)
James Mitchell: 2 (3%) — 11 (39%)

For LaPorta and Wright, this is close to an identical split as in Week 1, while Mitchell saw a more significant reduction in snaps as the Lions leaned on their wide receiver core more in this game.

Wide receivers

Josh Reynolds: 53 (80%)
Amon-Ra St. Brown: 49 (74%)
Marvin Jones Jr.: 34 (52%)
Kalif Raymond: 28 (42%) — 3 (11%)
Antoine Green: 7 (11%) — 8 (29%)

If not for a cramping issue that forced St. Brown to miss portions of the second half, he likely would have led the group in snaps for the second consecutive week. Reynolds continues to get a high majority of reps, while Jones and Raymond saw a much closer to even split, as anticipated. Green saw the first NFL snaps of his career, but his day was cut after needing to be evaluated for a concussion.

Offensive line

Penei Sewell: 66 (100%) — 5 (18%)
Frank Ragnow: 66 (100%)
Jonah Jackson: 66 (100%) — 5 (18%)
Matt Nelson: 66 (100%) — 5 (18%)
Halapoulivaati Vaitai: 47 (71%) — 3 (11%)
Graham Glasgow: 19 (29%) — 5 (18%)
Colby Sorsdal: 0 (0%) — 5 (18%)
Kayode Awosika: 0 (0%) — 2 (7%)
Taylor Decker: Ruled OUT

With Decker out, the Lions shifted Sewell to left tackle and promoted Nelson to starting right tackle where he played every snap. Vaitai injured his knee in the second half and was replaced by Glasgow at right guard, who finished out the game. With Nelson and Glasgow in the starting lineup, the Lions did not opt to deploy any “big” sets with a sixth offensive lineman.



Aidan Hutchinson: 68 (94%) — 1 (4%)
John Cominsky: 48 (67%) — 8 (29%)
Charles Harris: 41 (57%) — 8 (29%)
Romeo Okwara: 27 (38%) — 3 (11%)
James Houston: 11 (15%) — 8 (29%)

Hutchinson missed just four defensive snaps in this game, illustrating his endurance and conditioning. Cominsky saw more snaps than Harris as the Lions leaned on bigger four and five-man sets. Harris still saw over half of the defensive snaps, as the Lions worked with a variety of edge rushers on the field. After being a healthy scratch in Week 1, Romeo Okwara not only saw the field but played a key role after Houston exited with an injury.

The Lions still have enough depth to utilize their entire defensive playbook, but with Julian Okwara and Josh Paschal on injured reserve, and Houston suffering an ankle injury that surely will land him there as well, the Lions will need big efforts and production out of their remaining four edge players.


Alim McNeill: 55 (76%) — 7 (25%)
Benito Jones: 48 (67%) — 7 (25%)
Levi Onwuzurike: 14 (19%) — 1 (4%)
Isaiah Buggs: INACTIVE
Brodric Martin: INACTIVE

The Lions opted for the same approach they used in Week 1 on the interior defensive line, keeping just three active and healthy scratching Buggs and Martin. The Lions probably played McNeill and Jones more snaps than they wanted in this game—the coaching staff has previously mentioned wanted fewer snaps to keep their interior players fresh—so it will be interesting to see if their approach to snap distributions changes in the future.


Alex Anzalone: 65 (90%) — 1 (4%)
Derrick Barnes: 39 (54%)
Jack Campbell: 23 (32%) — 13 (46%)
Malcolm Rodriguez: 16 (22%) — 16 (57%)
Jalen Reeves-Maybin: 0 (0%) — 22 (79%)
Anthony Pittman: 0 (0%) — 22 (79%)

Anzalone took a series off in this game, with those snaps landing on Barnes’ plate. Barnes’ play of late, especially in run support, has been a bright spot on a defense that struggled against the Seahawks. Campbell saw about a third of the defensive snaps—nearly identical to Week 1—as the team is slowly building up his acclimation. Rodriguez saw a slight uptick in snaps, but that was mostly due to playcalling, as opposed to his siphoning snaps from another linebacker.


Cam Sutton: 72 (100%) — 1 (4%)
Jerry Jacobs: 72 (100%) — 8 (29%)
Brian Branch: 49 (68%) — 6 (21%)
Will Harris: 0 (0%) — 22 (79%)
Chase Lucas: 0 (0%) — 8 (29%)
Steven Gilmore: INACTIVE
Emmanuel Moseley: Ruled OUT

Sutton and Jacobs played every snap on the outside, as they did in Week 1, while Branch saw two-thirds of the defensive snaps, an identical percentage as he saw in Week 1. The Lions favored going big upfront and lighter in the secondary in this game, as stopping the run remains the defense's primary focus.


C.J. Gardner-Johnson: 70 (97%) — 1 (4%)
Kerby Joseph: 63 (88%) — 7 (25%)
Tracy Walker: 9 (12%) — 8 (29%)
Ifeatu Melifonwu: 2 (3%) — 16 (57%)

Both Gardner-Johnson and Joseph were briefly injured at the same time in this game, exiting for a short time and returning to play. Naturally, Walker was the first replacement on the field, while Melifonwu was also called into action.

Special teams

Jack Fox: 12 (43%)
Scott Daly: 6 (21%)
Riley Patterson: 5 (18%)

Fox punted just once in this game, while Patterson kicked four extra points and a game-tying field goal to send the game into overtime as regulation expired.

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