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.
- WR Tavon Austin
- LB Mark Barron
- WR K.D. Cannon
- OT Andrew Donnal
- OLB Samson Ebukam
- LB Nic Grigsby
- CB Mike Jordan
- TE Johnny Mundt
- QB Dan Orlovksy
- OLB Ejuan Price
- OLB Robert Quinn
- CB Nickell Robey-Coleman
- CB Kayvon Webster
So with that much roster attrition, obviously the playing time was going to be skewed especially at cornerback and outside linebacker.
PS Week 2 @ Raiders - Offense
With the Andrew Whitworth-Rodger Saffold-John Sullivan trio still limited in action, the offensive line snap rotation leads the way with six of the seven most active players. If you look at the combined totals over the first two games, it grows to seven of the top eight adding G Cody Wichmann. Suffice to say, the effort to identify which OL make the 53-man roster could easily be seen as the top personnel priority right now. One random OL note? Pretty clear some of OT Pace Murphy’s Week 1 snaps went to OT Michael Dunn. Keep an eye on this next week.
At wide receiver, you had six wide receivers rotate heavily: Josh Reynolds and Sammy Watkins in their first action as Rams along with Robert Woods, Pharoh Cooper, Cooper Kupp and Mike Thomas. It begs the question...is this the Rams’ WR depth chart for the 53-man? We know Austin was out, but given how the offense performed in his absence, it’s not unfair to consider how unnecessary he now seems. And does the Nelson Spruce train still have anyone on board? Consider this: Watkins, Thomas and Reynolds showed up and pushed Spruce and WR Paul McRoberts out of the picture. Not to draw too heavily from the first two preseason games, but you could make a case that the final two preseason games are less about validating that six-man rotation and more about validating a case against it.
Fair to say the running back spot is a three-man rotation between Just Todd Gurley, Malcolm Brown and Justin Davis?
At tight end and fullback, the Cory Harkey Experiment is going to be an interesting one to watch over the final two preseason games. One factor making it so? Rookie Sam Rogers doesn’t seem to have any real role on the offense. He’s been heavily involved on special teams (see below), but has gotten less work on offense than RB De’Mard Llorens and WR Brandon Shippen...
PS Week 2 @ Raiders - Defense
Was this CB Troy Hill’s make or break audition? With CB Kayvon Webster and preseason week 1 hero CB Mike Jordan sidelined along with CB Trumaine Johnson hardly needed in a preseason game (he logged just nine snaps, less than 16% of the defensive work), Hill was in line for a big game. The result? Yikes. It’s worth considering that while fans are fairly not impressed with Hill’s play in the first two games, he was the go-to as the first pick from the depth. That, if nothing else, speaks to the coaching staff’s preference which matters more than anything re: the 53-man roster. I doubt we see Hill log a 90%+ rate next week, but the roster battle here should be at the fore of the defensive storylines.
No Quinn. No Ebukam. No Price. Limited work from fellow starter Connor Barwin. And with OLB Carlos Thompson out for a few weeks with an injury, the position certainly opens up a bit for opportunity right now. The question is whether that opportunity has anything to do with the Week 1 roster if Quinn, Ebukam and Price are all ready to go.
And keep an eye on the work rates for S Marqui Christian, DT Tanzel Smart and S Isaiah Johnson. The amount of work they’ve gotten in the first two games (all > 40% in both games, Christian > 50%) suggest there could be something there come September.
PS Week 2 @ Raiders - Special Teams
Not sure where to draw the line for those who are legitimately in the mix for the 53-man based solely on teams.
Is it the top five after two games who have a combined ST rate > 40%? That would include Rogers (the most active special teams contributor which all but suggests he’s locked in for the 53-man), LB Andy Mulumba, Harkey, Christian and CB Dominique Hatfield.
Does it stretch to the 30% line to add four other contributors in LB Folarin Orimolade, TE Temarrick Hemingway, S John Johnson and the injured Thompson?
Or does it go all the way to the 25% mark? That would put RB Lenard Tillery, LB Kevin Davis, LB Josh Forrest, LB Cassanova McKinzy and CB Kevin Peterson in contention.
I’m not sure, but we know that a handful or so of these candidates are going to make the roster solely for this area. I’m going to be very interested in the snap counts that come out after next weekend to see how this is shaping up.
And one factor to remember, there are no intermediate cuts this year. Unlike previous years in which NFL teams would trim the roster from 90 to 75 after the third preseason game and then 75 to 53 after the final preseason contest, this year avoids that initial round of cuts and goes directly from the 90-man to the 53-man by 4pm ET/1pm PT on September 4. So rotation over these next two games will likely reflect an internal strategy for all 32 teams on how to adjust to the rule change. Will those players who are essentially 75-90 just see their playing time erased? Will they instead get more time than they would have a year ago?
We’ll see how things shake out in Week 3.
As always, drop your observations on the playing time from this week as well as anything you’re seeing moving forward from the preseason snaps trends as they develop.