Buccaneers vs. Cowboys: Snap Count Observations From Week 1

Let's break down Thursday night's strategy from a snap count perspective.
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Snap counts are often discussed, but aren't analyzed to the extent they should be most times. Perusing the snap counts after a game is a good way to get a better idea of who the coaching staff prefers to have on the field and can be very helpful when it comes to gleaning strategical information from a game.

Therefore, we are going to look at the snap counts from each game throughout the year in hopes of piecing together the puzzle that is Tampa Bay Buccaneers football.

Today, we start with the snap counts from the Bucs-Cowboys Week 1 matchup.


The Bucs' offensive snaps from Week 1 vs. the Cowboys.

The Bucs' offensive snaps from Week 1 vs. the Cowboys.

Chris Godwin led the Bucs' skill players in snaps, which isn't much of a surprise considering his role on the offense. Leonard Fournette played 65% of offensive snaps, which is much higher than his average of 44% during the regular season last year. Ronald Jones II only played six total snaps. He was benched after his fumble in the second quarter. Giovani Bernard even received nearly three times the amount of snaps RoJo received.

"‘Ro’ was running really, really well until the fumble, and then he struggled mentally to get over it," Bruce Arians explained on Friday. "That was too big of a game and go out there and not be focused, so ‘Lenny’ got the rest of the way."

Another observation is Cameron Brate out-snapping O.J. Howard, 18-6. Arians confirmed Friday that it's an innocuous situation. The Bucs were throwing the ball a lot and Brate is better known for his receiving ability as opposed to run blocking or pass protection. Therefore, BA and Byron Leftwich wanted him on the field. 

"Cam has got a role and it's all in the passing game, predominantly," Arians said. "O.J. played really well those snaps he played."

Scotty Miller and Tyler Johnson played sparingly, but Miller averaged just 15% of offensive snaps and Johnson averaged 25% in 2020, so it's not too much of a surprise. Johnson did play on special teams a bit, which is important when it comes to his role on the team. Antonio Brown was on the field for 65% of offensive snaps, which is a little more than the 63% he averaged during the regular season in 2020.


Numbers on the far right indicate special teams snaps.

Numbers on the far right indicate special teams snaps.

Vita Vea played 64% of defensive snaps, which is relatively close to his average mark of 70.4% through five games in 2020 and it's the highest amount of snaps he's played since returning from the broken ankle that caused him to miss 11 games last year.

 Joe Tryon-Shoyinka was on the field for 25% of defensive snaps, which is right around the expected amount coming into the season. Anthony Nelson played 30% of defensive snaps in 2020, so Tryon should be close to that number on either end of the scale. And speaking of Nelson, he was only on the field for seven snaps. It's fair to assume that Tryon is the reason why.

Dee Delaney, Kevin Minter, Pat O'Connor, Jaydon Mickens, Grant Stuard, and K.J. Britt were the primary special teams players.  

In all, there are some interesting tidbits, but nothing earth-shattering, here. But it's also Week 1. And the Bucs had literally zero turnover when it comes to the starting lineup, so nothing is dramatically changing unless an injury occurs.

Unfortunately for the Bucs, that happened on Thursday night with Sean Murphy-Bunting. Figuring out who fills that void will be something to discuss in next week's snap count observations, so be sure to check back in.

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