Snap count observations: Kerby Joseph plays every snap in debut

Pride of Detroit

Let’s take a closer look at the Detroit Lions Week 4 snap counts from their 48-45 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Offense

Quarterbacks

Jared Goff: 74 (100% of offensive snaps)

Running backs

Jamaal Williams: 37 (50%)
Craig Reynolds: 24 (32%) — 12 special teams snaps (36%)
Justin Jackson: 9 (12%) — 19 (58%)

Despite only seeing 50 percent of the team’s offensive snaps, Williams was the focal point of the Lions rushing attack, accounting for 19 of their 35 total runs. Reynolds saw just three touches on his 24 reps, while Jackson got four on his nine and turned one of them into a receiving touchdown.

Reynolds’ lack of touches was a bit surprising, considering how productive he was with the ball in his hands. On the day, he rushed for 30 yards on two carries and his single reception went for 12 yards.

Tight ends

T.J. Hockenson: 65 (88%)
Brock Wright: 24 (32%) — 14 (42%)
James Mitchell: 5 (7%) — 14 (42%)

If it felt like Hockenson was on the field for every down, it’s because he nearly was, only taking nine snaps off. Hockenson had a career day, setting new personal bests with 179 receiving yards, two touchdowns in a single game, and his longest single play (81 yards). No surprise, he is the early leader for this week’s game ball.

Mitchell saw the first snaps of his NFL career but was held off the stats sheet.

Wide receivers

Josh Reynolds: 62 (84%)
Tom Kennedy: 60 (81%)
Kalif Raymond: 38 (51%) — 0 (0%)
Quintez Cephus: 33 (45%)
Maurice Alexander: 2 (3%) — 9 (27%)

With Amon-Ra St. Brown and DJ Chark unable to play, the Lions turned to Kennedy, Cephus, and Raymond to fill the void. Cephus was on track for a much bigger day as a contributor, but a third-quarter injury ended his day prematurely and he was seen leaving the stadium in a walking boot, which is less than ideal considering the team’s current depth.

I left Raymond’s special teams snap counts in the above list—even though he had zero as the team’s primary punt returner—because I wanted to illustrate that the Seahawks did not have to punt a single time on Sunday. Meanwhile, Alexander was the team’s primary kick returner and he returned a ridiculous nine kicks on the day.

Offensive tackles

Taylor Decker: 74 (100%)
Penei Sewell: 74 (100%) — 5 (15%)
Matt Nelson: 11 (15%) — 5 (15%)

No surprises here as these numbers closely match what we have seen through the first month of the season.

Guards/centers

Frank Ragnow: 74 (100%) — 1 (3%)
Dan Skipper: 74 (100%) — 5 (15%)
Evan Brown: 67 (91%) — 4 (12%)
Kayode Awosika: 7 (9%) — 5 (15%)
Logan Stenberg: 0 (0%) — 5 (15%)

Brown was injured late in the game and with the team needing to pass the ball while trailing, they opted for Awoskia to replace him at right guard rather than Stenberg. Stenberg’s pass protection was dreadful through the first two games, but he probably would have been the choice had the Lions needed to run the ball in that scenario.

Defense

EDGE:

Aidan Hutchinson: 57 (81%) — 9 (27%)
Charles Harris: 55 (79%) — 9 (27%)
Julian Okwara: 20 (29%) — 7 (21%)
Austin Bryant: 13 (19%) — 9 (27%)

These numbers reflect what we have come to expect from the Lions edge players this season. Hutchinson is rarely leaving the field but is also facing loads of double teams, which has impacted his productivity of late.

“Yeah, you know that was a poor defensive performance,” Hutchinson said following the game. “We have to do better. Your offense scores 45, I think, we have to win that game.”

DT:

Alim McNeill: 54 (77%)
Isaiah Buggs: 48 (69%)
Michael Brockers: 30 (43%)
Benito Jones: 18 (26%) — 9 (27%)

McNeill continues to rep at an exceptional rate, and considering he seems to be the only interior player with much production, the Lions need him on the field as much as possible.

“I would say we struggled a lot, but we’re going back into work,” McNeill said in the locker room. “There’s the little things that we are going to fix. AG (defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn) is going to have the game plan for us next week.”

Linebackers

Alex Anzalone: 70 (100%) — 9 (27%)
Malcolm Rodriguez: 55 (79%) — 3 (9%)
Derrick Barnes: 23 (33%) — 16 (48%)
Chris Board: 8 (11%) — 28 (85%)
Anthony Pittman: 0 (0%) — 28 (85%)
Josh Woods: 0 (0%) — 19 (58%)

After seeing his snap counts reduced over the past two weeks, Barnes was called upon to fill in for Rodriguez when he had to exit the game due to injury, and when the Lions went to three linebacker sets. Board had been getting reps ahead of Barnes, but it appears he has been relegated to sub-package and special teams roles, as opposed to a base linebacker.

Cornerbacks

Jeff Okudah: 70 (100%)
Amani Oruwariye 62 (89%)
Mike Hughes: 38 (54%) — 9 (27%)
Will Harris: 9 (13%) — 19 (58%)
Bobby Price: 0 (0%) — 28 (85%)
Chase Lucas: 0 (0%) — 16 (48%)

Oruwariye exited the game briefly and was replaced by Harris, but beyond that, the Lions only leaned on their subpackage cornerback sets about half the time as they loaded up with front-seven players in an attempt to stop the run.

Safety

DeShon Elliott: 70 (100%)
Kerby Joseph: 70 (100%) — 9 (27%)
Ifeatu Melifonwu: 0 (0%) — 8 (24%)
JuJu Hughes: 0 (0%) — 0 (0%)

Last week, when Tracy Walker was injured, the team turned to Hughes to replace him in the starting lineup. But with a week to prepare, it was rookie Joseph who won the starting role and played on every snap. Surprisingly, Hughes not only didn’t see any defensive snaps, but he did not have a special team role either, an area he excelled at in previous weeks.

Special teams

Dominik Eberle: 12 (36%)
Jack Fox: 8 (24%)
Scott Daly: 8 (24%)

Daly’s fumble recovery was the first by a Lions long snapper in the last two decades—and probably longer— as Don Muhlbach did not have one in his 17-year career.

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