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Buffalo Bills snap counts, preseason 2014: Panthers game update

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The Bills are now two-fifths of the way through their preseason schedule. Which young, under-the-radar players have played the most snaps this summer? Glad you asked.

Grant Halverson

Two preseason games are in the books, with the Buffalo Bills set to begin the first of three remaining exhibition contests a week from today in Pittsburgh. Lucky for us, two games is enough to start to get a better sense of player rotations within position battles, and which players the team is looking at the hardest as they think about the big-picture roster they must assemble on August 30.

Let's take a look at the snap counts from not only last night's 20-18 win over the Carolina Panthers, but the preseason as a whole thus far, to dive into those meaty topics.

Offense

Player Pos. Total NYG CAR PIT TB DET
Thad Lewis QB 56 32 24
Jeff Tuel QB 41 26 15
EJ Manuel QB 35 10 25
Dennis Dixon QB 2 0 2
Player Pos. Total NYG CAR PIT TB DET
Anthony Dixon RB 43 26 17
Bryce Brown RB 42 18 24
Fred Jackson RB 19 6 13
C.J. Spiller RB 17 5 12
Ronnie Wingo RB 4 4 0
Player Pos. Total NYG CAR PIT TB DET
Evan Rodriguez FB 30 13 17
Frank Summers FB 28 10 18
Player Pos. Total NYG CAR PIT TB DET
Robert Woods WR 65 33 32
Chris Hogan WR 45 21 24
T.J. Graham WR 34 25 9
Marcus Easley WR 32 18 14
Kevin Elliott WR 31 25 6
Mike Williams WR 27 10 17
Sammy Watkins WR 26 10 16
Chris Summers WR 25 14 11
Marquise Goodwin WR 12 0 12
Tori Gurley WR 12 6 6
Caleb Holley WR 11 9 2
Naaman Roosevelt WR 0 0 0
Player Pos. Total NYG CAR PIT TB DET
Chris Gragg TE 64 46 18
Lee Smith TE 33 14 19
Dominique Jones TE 26 16 10
Scott Chandler TE 19 0 19
Tony Moeaki TE 11 0 11
Player Pos. Total NYG CAR PIT TB DET
Seantrel Henderson OT 74 30 44
Erik Pears OT 72 28 44
Cyrus Kouandjio OT 63 41 22
Chris Hairston OT 35 13 22
Edawn Coughman OT 25 25 0
Player Pos. Total NYG CAR PIT TB DET
Chris Williams OG 71 27 44
Antoine McClain OG 61 41 20
Kraig Urbik OG 60 26 34
Cyril Richardson OG 51 29 22
J.J. 'Unga OG 26 13 13
Player Pos. Total NYG CAR PIT TB DET
Doug Legursky C 68 44 24
Eric Wood C 35 10 25
Macky MacPherson C 31 14 17
Jared Wheeler C 2 0 2

Keep an eye on that fullback battle. Summers has been ahead of Rodriguez all summer, but Rodriguez has made some excellent blocks when he's had opportunities, and he also might be a more viable option on special teams. (See below.)

Robert Woods may not be taking many reps with the first-team offense right now, but he's certainly getting a lot of playing time as one of the few receivers at the top of the depth chart to work both outside and in. Knowing that Chris Hogan is closing in on locking up a roster spot, given his extensive action with the first-team offense, that bundle of T.J. Graham, Marcus Easley, and Kevin Elliott is the group to watch. Also, the back-end receiver that has gotten the longest look is Chris Summers; he might be a prime candidate for the practice squad.

Unless Tony Moeaki starts to come on as he works his way back from injury, he may be in trouble. He didn't enter last night's contest until well into the fourth quarter.

Doug Marrone is playing the crap out of his first-team offensive line, with the exception of Eric Wood, who is the only truly known quantity up front. The only real battle for a starting job, however, seems to be at right guard, where Kraig Urbik and rookie Cyril Richardson continue to rotate into the second half of preseason games.

Doug Legursky has taken every second-team center rep thus far, spelling Wood. (He has then in turn been replaced by MacPherson.) The team may begin experimenting with other players in the pivot (Urbik) at some point, but it hasn't happened yet.

Defense

Player Pos. Total NYG CAR PIT TB DET
Jacquies Smith DE 58 29 29
Jarius Wynn DE 55 31 24
Ike Igbinosun DE 47 17 30
Manny Lawson DE 40 22 18
Bryan Johnson DE 39 17 22
Jerry Hughes DE 23 10 13
Mario Williams DE 22 8 14
Player Pos. Total NYG CAR PIT TB DET
Stefan Charles DT 61 25 36
Landon Cohen DT 52 21 31
Corbin Bryant DT 45 32 13
Damien Jacobs DT 36 13 23
Alan Branch DT 30 14 16
Kyle Williams DT 21 8 13
Marcell Dareus DT 21 8 13
Player Pos. Total NYG CAR PIT TB DET
Ty Powell LB 63 24 39
Jimmy Gaines LB 58 24 34
Preston Brown LB 53 33 20
Stevenson Sylvester LB 49 24 25
Randell Johnson LB 49 24 25
Nigel Bradham LB 26 12 14
Brandon Spikes LB 24 8 16
Xavius Boyd LB 24 12 12
Keith Rivers LB 17 6 11
Player Pos. Total NYG CAR PIT TB DET
Mario Butler CB 61 31 30
Bobby Felder CB 51 29 22
Ron Brooks CB 46 26 20
Ross Cockrell CB 44 17 27
Kamaal McIlwain CB 40 23 17
Michael Carter CB 33 8 25
Corey Graham CB 23 8 15
Nickell Robey CB 21 10 11
Stephon Gilmore CB 16 0 16
Leodis McKelvin CB 0 0 0
Player Pos. Total NYG CAR PIT TB DET
Jonathan Meeks S 71 24 47
Deon Broomfield S 59 11 48
Duke Williams S 48 33 15
Da'Norris Searcy S 31 19 12
Aaron Williams S 24 8 16
Jajuan Harley S 23 11 12
Kenny Ladler S 12 12 0
Derek Brim S 12 12 0

The battle for the fourth defensive end spot is flying under the radar, but Jacquies Smith, Jarius Wynn, and Ike Igbinosun have all flashed to the point where that decision might end up being a difficult one to make. The same is true at defensive tackle, where strong play from Landon Cohen and Corbin Bryant has pushed Stefan Charles and Alan Branch down into some third-team work early.

Linebacker has not turned out to be as volatile as it could have been. Brandon Spikes, Nigel Bradham, and Keith Rivers are the ones. Preston Brown, Stevenson Sylvester, and Randell Johnson are the twos. Ty Powell, Jimmy Gaines, and Xavius Boyd are the threes. Sylvester, Johnson, Powell, and Gaines are all in the mix for two to three spots on the final roster.

Ross Cockrell is an interesting story; his playing time increased in Carolina, but he spent a huge chunk of his time in the slot, and that's where the Bills are currently focusing his energies. That has meant good things for Ron Brooks, who now looks like a very strong bet to make the final roster thanks to a couple of good performances on the boundary. Keep an eye on Bobby Felder, too; he's working in ahead of Cockrell at this point, and might be a prime practice squad candidate.

If any one player that has spent most of his time with the second-teamers in camp has earned first-team reps, it's Duke Williams, who continued his strong play in Carolina replacing Da'Norris Searcy in the starting lineup. (Searcy missed most of last week's practices as he and his wife dealt with a pregnancy scare.)

Special Teams

Player Pos. Total NYG CAR PIT TB DET
Marcus Easley WR 20 10 10
Stevenson Sylvester LB 20 12 8
Ty Powell LB 20 10 10
Chris Hogan WR 19 9 10
Anthony Dixon RB 18 8 10
Jonathan Meeks S 18 9 9
Preston Brown LB 17 8 9
Duke Williams S 17 10 7
Evan Rodriguez FB 15 8 7
Ron Brooks CB 15 7 8
Kevin Elliott WR 14 7 7
Bryce Brown RB 14 8 6
Ross Cockrell CB 14 6 8
Frank Summers FB 12 6 6
Jimmy Gaines LB 12 8 4
T.J. Graham WR 11 7 4
Nickell Robey CB 11 5 6
Randell Johnson LB 10 6 4
Manny Lawson DE 10 6 4
Kenny Ladler S 8 8 0

This is an especially interesting chart to keep track of. Many of the names at the top of this list are currently stuck in position battle logjams at their respective offensive and defensive positions, and if the team is taking healthy looks at these players on coverage teams, it only bodes well for their chances of making the team. The presence of the much-discussed reserve running backs is a welcome sight, as is Lawson's name; he is such a valuable reserve for this team.

There are other players not on this list that will likely factor into special teams plans when the games start to count (chiefly Corey Graham), but for now, this chart may be vital to understanding which reserves have an edge over others in terms of having game-day utility as part of a 53-man squad.