Snap counts are just simple numbers, not much to them, but they speak volumes about a football game and the decisions made over the course of those 60 minutes. Let's take a quick look at the snap counts for the St. Louis Rams in their 27-23 loss to the Detroit Lions on Sunday.
The depth chart released before the game listed Mike Mulligan as the starting tight end. Starting and playing time can often be two different things. Mulligan played 17 of 58 offensive snaps with the Rams. No surprise, Lance Kendricks played 42 as the team's primary tight end.
Snap counts for the starting receivers are about what you would have expected. Danny Amendola played 52 of 58 snaps. Brandon Gibson played 46, the second most. Steve Smith played 23; Chris Givens played 18, and Brian Quick played just three snaps.
I was a little surprised that Smith played so few, but the Rams did not use a ton of three receiver sets. Gibson clearly sits above Smith on the depth chart. The coaches clearly must not think that Quick is ready to do much with the team. There were unconfirmed rumors that he would be inactive, and he nearly was with just three snaps. Givens' snaps are about what I would have expected, and the missed connection on a deep ball to Bradford marred his day.
On defense, the Rams' reliance on the nickel package is pretty clear. Cortland Finnegan played all 69 snaps on defense. Janoris Jenkins played 68 and Bradley Fletcher 62. Fletcher was manned up with Calvin Johnson, putting him in press man, Megatron's one weakness, but was not covering him on his 51-yard reception at the end of the first half. That one was missed by the safeties.
Craig Dahl an Quintin Mikell played 100 percent of the defensive snaps, the team's only safeties that saw the field outside of special teams. Dahl played more snaps than anyone with 17 special teams plays added to his total.
That's an interesting rotation of players along the defensive line. I'll be interested to see how it looks once Michael Brockers is back. Had he not been injured, I would expect his snap count to be closer to Long's. Now, his rate of recovery could help dictate that.