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Buffalo Bills Snap Count Notes, Week 1

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In its best move since announcing that they'd make coaches' film available to fans, the NFL is now including play time percentages - i.e. real snap count data - in the game book for every game this season. Here are a few interesting notes on that front with respect to the Buffalo Bills' 48-28 season-opening loss to the New York Jets.

  • Five players were on the field for all 63 offensive snaps: quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and offensive linemen Cordy Glenn, Andy Levitre, Eric Wood and Kraig Urbik.
  • Right tackle Erik Pears and Chris Hairston split the reps at right tackle in an effort to ease Pears back into the lineup. Pears took 40 snaps, while Hairston snagged the other 23. That ratio should skew in Pears' favor in the coming weeks.
  • It's clear that the Bills are going to be relying on three receivers, predominantly, from this point forward: Stevie Johnson, Donald Jones and Scott Chandler. Johnson only missed three plays despite his lingering groin issues, while Jones missed four and Chandler five. Even before getting injured, David Nelson was not used nearly as frequently, getting in on 30 of the first 49 snaps.
  • It would have been interesting to see how the rep breakdown between Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller had played out if Jackson had not gotten injured. As it was, Spiller took 43 reps, while Jackson took 16. It will also be interesting to see if Spiller's play time percentage increases at all, or if the team will continue to annoyingly supplement him with Tashard Choice.
  • As far as offensive bit players go: Lee Smith got 17 snaps playing the role of blocking tight end. Numbers for Ruvell Martin (15 reps) and Choice (eight) were skewed by injuries, but Choice could actually see an increase in reps over the next month.
  • On the defensive side of the ball, no player was on the field for every snap. Nick Barnett, Stephon Gilmore, Jairus Byrd and Mario Williams were each present for at least 90 percent of the reps.
  • Along the defensive line, Williams was the virtual mainstay at end, while Chris Kelsay (39, 57 percent of reps) actually was on the field more than Mark Anderson (34, 50 percent of reps). Inside at tackle, both Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus took 75 percent or more of the reps, with Spencer Johnson (26 percent) and Alex Carrington (22 percent) were rotated in.
  • Unsurprisingly, Barnett was the only true mainstay at linebacker, missing just one snap on the afternoon. Kelvin Sheppard got 66 percent of the reps, blowing out the other three linebackers that saw field time: Bryan Scott (49 percent), Arthur Moats (41 percent) and Nigel Bradham (9 percent).
  • The team appears to be trying to get Da'Norris Searcy from work in the same way they are Bradham, as Searcy stole 13 reps largely from George Wilson, who only got 85 percent of reps himself. At cornerback, the Bills snuck Terrence McGee in for 18 reps (26 percent of field time); expect that percentage to increase soon, particularly if Buffalo's young trio of Gilmore, Aaron Williams (71 percent) and Leodis McKelvin (32 percent) continue to struggle.
  • Finally, on special teams, no player saw more reps than McKelvin (87 percent), but Searcy (84 percent) and Chris White (84 percent) came close. Other players that saw at least 60 percent of special teams snaps: Martin, Corey McIntyre, Carrington (... must have been all those kick block attempts...) and Justin Rogers. Those, ladies and gentlemen, would be the Bills' "core specialists" for now.