Note: I’ll update the snap counts in this spreadsheet all season including the first tab tracking the season totals. While I’ll paste individual game PT in each week’s recap, I’ll likely refer to the season totals moving forward from that link. So uh, peep it.
If injuries are the dominant theme this week though more focused on the defensive side, G Jamon Brown stepping up for G Cody Wichmann was a direct sub, though an interesting one considering Wichmann beat out Brown for the starting gig sometime between Week 1 of this season and Week 9 of 2015 when Brown was injured.
While I’m holding off on the Just Todd Gurley Worry Update thread (for now), his usage topped 80% for the third consecutive game, though not having backup RB Benny Cunningham made that a less surprising output than in previous weeks.
WR Brian Quick hit a season-high for playing time despite the NFL debut of rookie WR Pharoh Cooper. With WR Nelson Spruce supposedly close as well, is Quick’s ascendance a blip or a developing trend?
Random fact: This was the first game in which the Rams’ offense took more snaps than the defense in 2016. It happened just four times last season. In those four games, the Rams went 1-3. They’re obviously 0-1 in such games this year. No clue what that means...but maybe it’s a thing.
Unlike the Wichmann injury which occurred early in the game, CB Trumaine Johnson went down late. We don’t know quite how the rotation’s going to work in his absence, but we didn’t get a great sense of it on Sunday nonetheless.
The defensive line was a show with DE Robert Quinn, DT Michael Brockers and DE William Hayes all out. DE Eugene Sims, DT Cam Thomas and DT Dominique Easley all hit season highs on playing time while DE Morgan Fox made his season debut picking up a dozen snaps. We’ll have to monitor the injury report this week on those three starters, but we got our answer on the personnel rotation with all three out. The question is if Bills RB LeSean McCoy’s performance shifts the coaching staff’s initial approach if all three are out again in Week 6.
And with S Cody Davis out, rookie LB Josh Forrest hit a season high with nearly half the defensive plays. Could this be the kind of opportunity where an injury changes the modus operandi where Forrest takes over for Davis for the rest of the season even when Davis heals up?
The bigger surprise for the back-of-the-depth chart work here was that S Marqui Christian who signed to the roster fringe in late September got three defensive snaps. If Davis misses more time, I wonder if Christian could see his defensive assignments grow.
Here’s your top 10 special teams participants for the season:
The next two names on that list are P Johnny Hekker and LS Jake McQuaide, so that top 10 is your special teams core for the season, though TE Temarrick Hemingway and Christian would be in the mix based on recent weeks.
So projecting into 2017...what changes could take place? Remember, LB Daren Bates was part of the core before joining the Raiders in free agency this offseason. Is Chase Reynolds’ work rate enough to suggest he’s irreplaceable? Cody Davis’ numbers took a dip because of the injury this week, but between his ST work and his depth at safety, is he a lock moving forward? And how much of the youth in the top 10 sticks past 2016?
As always, drop your observations on the playing time from this week as well as anything you’re seeing from the season snaps.