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Cardinals Snaps Counts Monday Show Anomalies

Playing time for Cardinals linebacker Isaiah Simmons and the team’s running backs against the Rams were lower than usual.

On the first scrimmage play by the Rams Monday night, the Cardinals lined up with three defensive linemen, three linebackers and five defensive backs.

In a sign of things to come, running back Sony Michel exploded for 35 yards, and even though the possession ended with a punt following a sack of quarterback Matthew Stafford on third down, the rest of the night was a horror show for Arizona.

There were no more sacks, which was similar to the game against Seattle the week before when a strip-sack of Russell Wilson on the first possession resulted in a defensive touchdown. Wilson also wasn’t sacked for the remainder of the game.

Most notable Monday night were the snaps at linebacker and for injured players returning. Isaiah Simmons had played every snap the previous two games after being on the field only 57% of the time in Week 16 because of a shoulder injury. He played only 32% against the Rams, while Zaven Collins played 13% and Tanner Vallejo 63%.

Head coach Kliff Kingsbury said Simmons’ reduced playing time was the product of the game plan, but we can only wonder why the plan would be to keep him off the field for 41 snaps, or whether it was related to the shoulder issue or his absence from practice Friday because of a family matter.

Running backs James Conner and Chase Edmonds played only 25 and 52% of the offensive snaps, while Rondale Moore played 38%. Defensive end J.J. Watt played 40%.

It’s likely that some of the injured players would not have played had this been a regular-season game.

Charting the snaps (snaps/percentage; starters in bold)

Players listed as did not play are on scrimmage plays

OFFENSE (56 snaps, 18 players)

Quarterbacks: Kyler Murray 54/95, Colt McCoy 2/4

Inactive: Trace McSorley

Running backs: Chase Edmonds 29/52, James Conner 14/25; Eno Benjamin 15/27

Inactive: Jonathan Ward

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Wide receivers: Christian Kirk 49/88, A.J. Green 43/77; Antoine Wesley 37/66; Rondale Moore 21/38

Did not play: Greg Dortch (also did not play on special teams). Inactive: Andy Isabella. Reserve/injured: DeAndre Hopkins

Tight ends: Zach Ertz 53/95; Darrell Daniels 15/27; Demetrius Harris 4/7

Reserve/injured: Maxx Williams

Offensive linemen: LG Justin Pugh, C Rodney Hudson, RG Max Garcia, RT Kelvin Beachum 56/100; LT D.J. Humphries 55/98; RT Josh Jones 1/2

Did not play: G Sean Harlow; C Marcus Henry (also did not play on special teams. Inactive: T Josh Miles. Reserve/injured: G/T Justin Murray

DEFENSE (60 snaps, 21 players)

Defensive linemen: DE Zach Allen 43/72; NT Corey Peters 37/62; DT Rashard Lawrence 28/47; DE J.J. Watt 24/40; DT Leki Fotu 15/25; DE Michael Dogbe 5/8

Inactive: DT Jordan Phillips; DT Zach Kerr

Linebackers: ILB Jordan Hicks 60/100; OLB Chandler Jones 52/87; OLB Markus Golden 45/75; ILB Tanner Vallejo 38/63; ILB Isaiah Simmons 19/32; OLB Devon Kennard 15/25; ILB Zaven Collins 8/13; OLB Dennis Gardeck 6/10

Did not play: Zeke Turner. Inactive: OLB Victor Dimukeje. Reserve/injured: OLB Kylie Fitts

Defensive backs: CB Byron Murphy Jr. 60/100; S Jalen Thompson 58/97; CB Marco Wilson 51/85; S Budda Baker 44/73; CB Kevin Peterson 32/53; S Deionte Thompson 14/23; S Chris Banjo 6/10

Did not play: CB Antonio Hamilton; S Charles Washington. Reserve/injured: CB Robert Alford; S James Wiggins (designated for return)

SPECIAL TEAMS (27 snaps, 32 players)

LB Dennis Gardeck, LB Tanner Vallejo 26/96; LB Zeke Turner; S Chris Banjo 25/93; LB Zaven Collins; CB Antonio Hamilton 20/74; S Charles Washington 19/70; TE Demetrius Harris 16/59; TE Darrell Daniels 13/48; S Deionte Thompson 12/44; DT Leki Fotu 8/30; WR/RS Rondale Moore, RB Eno Benjamin, DE Zach Allen, DT Rashard Lawrence 7/26; P Andy Lee, LS Aaron Brewer; LB Chandler Jones, CB Byron Murphy Jr. 6/22; WR/RS Christian Kirk, CB Kevin Peterson 5/19; K Matt Prater 4/15; LB Isaiah Simmons, S Jalen Thompson 3/11; T D.J. Humphries, T Kelvin Beachum, G Justin Pugh, G Max Garcia, T/G Josh Jones, G Sean Harlow, S Budda Baker 1/4