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Buccaneers at Patriots: Snap Count Observations from Week 4

Taking a look at the playing time for each player during the Sunday night game.

It took a team effort from the Bucs in order to beat the Patriots on Sunday night, so it will be fun to take a look at this week's snap counts to see who had a hand in win No. 3 on the season.


The Bucs' offensive snap counts for Week 4 against the Patriots.

The Bucs' offensive snap counts for Week 4 against the Patriots.

It's business as usual with the offensive line, Tom Brady, and Chris Godwin. Mike Evans saw an increase in playing time from last week and the Bucs needed every bit of his seven catches and 75 yards. Especially the 11-yard reception that helped set up Ryan Succop's game-winning field goal. 

The first takeaway is Leonard Fournette's usage, but it was pretty much expected considering Giovani Bernard's absence and Ronald Jones II's dwindling role. It will be interesting to see how snaps are divided up when Bernard returns, because he was the Bucs' lead back in terms of playing time by a wide margin in Week 3. Ke'Shawn Vaughn didn't see a snap on offense for the second straight week, but showed up on special teams.

The fact that O.J. Howard out-snapped Cameron Brate is a surprise, even if it was only by one snap. Brate had out-snapped Howard 36% to 15% coming into the game. Howard was only targeted once compared to Brate's six, however, so it'll be interesting to see if Howard was used primarily as a run blocker when I go back and watch the tape. Codey McElroy saw four snaps on offense and special teams and received one target from Brady in the end zone.

Tyler Johnson's playing time decreased dramatically due to Antonio Brown's return. AB was targeted 11 times despite playing just 51% of snaps.


Numbers on the far right are special teams snaps.

Numbers on the far right are special teams snaps.

Lavonte David and Devin White played the entire game, which isn't unusual. It's wild to see Richard Sherman play 98% of snaps. He was OK based off the first viewing, but obviously the tape will tell the whole story. You have to wonder how sore he is this morning. 

Shaquil Barrett continues to record a ton of playing time, but Joe Tryon-Shoyinka played an impressive 85% of snaps and had 2.0 sacks to show for it. The Bucs pass rush is in good hands with the rookie. Jordan Whitehead saw a season-high in playing time and Antoine Winfield Jr. saw a drop, but that's because he had to leave the game to be evaluated for a concussion.

Ndamukong Suh, Vita Vea, and Will Gholston saw major increases in playing time from Week 3. It's fair to wonder if the Bucs' 12 quarterback hits and 4.0 sacks correlate with the increase in playing time. New England's offensive line certainly had to a lot to do with it, but those three also helped hold the Pats' running game to (-1) rushing yards. Teams have been held to negative rushing yardage just 21 other times since 1940. 

Ross Cockrell's playing time dropped, which is a bit odd considering the injuries to both Carlton Davis III and Winfield. I didn't get a chance to see it during the first broadcast, but I wonder if Cockrell moved to safety at all after Winfield went out, but it would make sense if he didn't due to the Bucs' current situation at cornerback. Either way, Mike Edwards saw more snaps this week, which is never a bad thing.

Pierre Desir played a lot on defense and Dee Delaney didn't. That tells you a lot about what the coaching staff thinks about Delaney's Week 3 performance. Will Desir continue to receive more playing time next week? Bruce Arians said after the game that Davis is going to be out for "awhile", so there will be plenty of opportunity. This will certainly be something to monitor as the weeks progress.

Anthony Nelson saw a drop in playing time compared to last week, but can you blame the coaching staff for wanting Tryon-Shoyinka on the field as much as possible?

Kevin Minter replaced Deon Yelder on special teams after his stint on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.

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