Dolphins 2021 Week 2 Snap Counts ... And What They Mean

The defense produced some interesting tidbits when it comes to playing time against Buffalo
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The big story in terms of playing time for the Miami Dolphins in Week 1 was the low usage of tight end Mike Gesicki. In Week 2, the focus was on defense, particularly in the secondary.

Specifically, it involves rookie safety Jevon Holland.

In his second NFL game, Holland started and ended up playing 50 of the Dolphins' 65 defensive snaps, while veteran Eric Rowe came off the bench to play only 26 snaps. Veteran Jason McCourty started and played 58 snaps.

The Dolphins did not report any injury involving Rowe during the game, so this then would have come down to performance or matchups.

In any event, it was an interesting development, though we have said and written that Holland is too much of a playmaker to keep out of the lineup for very long.

Based on what we saw from Rowe against the Bills, there was nothing blatant that would have suggested he needed to be replaced, so this appears to be more about giving Holland more opportunities.

For Rowe, the 26 snaps represented his lowest total since he joined the Dolphins in 2019. His previous low was 37 in Week 2 of the 2020 season — at home against the Bills.

When it comes to rookie draft picks on defense, it was another quiet outing for first-round selection Jaelan Phillips, who got only 18 snaps. That was even less action than he got against New England in the opener when he played 22 snaps against a team that figured to run the ball more often than Buffalo.

Back to the secondary, there was a significant switch with Justin Coleman and Nik Needham.

After playing only two defensive snaps against New England, Coleman played 49 snaps against Buffalo. Needham, meanwhile, went from 35 snaps against New England to only two.

The Dolphins defense played its first game without starting nose tackle Raekwon Davis, the team's best run defender, but the focus was on pass rushers up front in this one.

As proof, Emmanuel Ogbah and Adam Butler tied for the team lead for most snaps among defensive linemen with 47 each, while nose tackle John Jenkins played only 18 snaps.

More evidence of how much the Dolphins change things from week to week, Sam Eguavoen played only eight snaps on defense after playing 36 against New England when he led the team three quarterback hits.

Last thing on the defense, it should be noted the Dolphins opened with a 3-2-6 alignment, with Ogbah, Butler and Christian Wilkins up front, Jerome Baker and Andrew Van Ginkel at linebacker, and Holland, McCourty, Coleman, Xavien Howard, Byron Jones and Brandon Jones in the secondary.

For a second consecutive week, Jamal Perry played strictly on special teams after being called up from the practice squad.

On offense, let's start with Gesicki, whose snap count went from 21 to 47 from the first to the second week, while Durham Smythe's play count went in the opposite direction.

This, as we indicated after Week 1, was about matchups.

Two things to note on the offensive line: Liam Eichenberg played the entire second half (the final 29 of the 74 offensive snaps) at right tackle after Jesse Davis left the game with a knee injury, and Robert Jones got seven snaps at left guard in place of Solomon Kindley.

Jones came in on the final drive after Kindley allowed a pressure. There was no injury announcement regarding Kindley, whose legs did appear to get tangled up on his next-to-last snap.

But Kindley had a rough outing against Buffalo, so maybe this was a precursor to a switch on the offensive line.

For a second consecutive game, DeVante Parker and Jaylen Waddle got the bulk of the work at wide receiver and Myles Gaskin dominated the snaps at running back.

Albert Wilson's playing time increased dramatically against Buffalo, going from 22 to 41 snaps.

Preston Williams played 22 snaps in his first regular season game since last November.