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Bills 45, 49ers 16: Week 6 snap count notes

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Justin Hunter is on the rise

Snap counts are available for Sunday’s win over the 49ers, and here are our insights from the most recent data:

Pos. Player Total SF
QB T. Taylor 361 67
QB E. Manuel 17 13
QB C. Jones H
RB L. McCoy 285 49
RB M. Gillislee 68 18
RB R. Bush 11 3
RB J. Williams 15 8
FB G. Gronkowski 8 N/A
FB J. Felton 93 30
TE C. Clay 329 61
TE N. O'Leary 102 38
TE J. Dray 30 N/A
WR S. Watkins 82 IR
WR R. Woods 317 54
WR M. Goodwin 241 50
WR G. Salas 36 IR
WR B. Tate 15 4
WR W. Powell 144 27
WR J. Hunter 57 46
OT C. Glenn 224 72
OT C. Kouandjio 145 I
OT J. Mills 375 79
OT S. Henderson H
OT M. Ola 7 7
OG R. Incognito 376 79
OG J. Miller 376 79
OG R. Groy 42 11
C E. Wood 371 74
C G. Ikard H
C P. Lewis I
TOTAL 376 79
Pos. Player Total SF
DT K. Williams 321 43
NT M. Dareus I
NT C. Bryant 187 13
DE A. Washington 124 8
DE L. Douzable 187 42
DT J. Worthy 69 17
LB P. Brown 404 58
LB Z. Brown 357 52
LB B. Spikes 45 16
LB R. Humber 18 12
OLB J. Hughes 384 53
OLB L. Alexander 260 32
OLB L. McCray 125 21
OLB B. Albright N/A
CB S. Gilmore 397 54
CB R. Darby 323 61
CB N. Robey-Coleman 247 60
CB C. White 86
CB K. Seymour 49 7
S A. Williams 307 51
S C. Graham 397 51
S D. Williams 87 10
S J. Meeks 28
S R. Blanton 74 10
S C. Anderson IR
TOTAL 407 61

Justin Hunter, on the rise?

Last week, offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn indicated that he wanted to get Buffalo’s recently-signed wide receiver more involved with the offense. The Bills did just that, playing him on 58 percent of their offensive snaps. He eclipsed Walter Powell’s role after only a single week.

The six-foot-four, 200 pound receiver is, in some respects, the prototype Doug Whaley has sought for years. He pairs his impressive size with a 4.45 forty yard dash and elite jumping abilities. That said, he never worked out for the Tennessee Titans, in part because he never played the physical brand of receiving that is so often attributed to a “size” receiver, and in part because of dropped passes and lapses in concentration.

Since joining the Bills, he’s made himself useful to the team, and Tyrod Taylor probably appreciates that he’s willing to improvise when the play breaks down. The Bills probably appreciate having a size and speed receiver on the team, with Sammy Watkins on ice.

Gilmore takes a seat

Say what you will about Stephon Gilmore’s play this season (there have been ups and downs). Same with the responsibility for the blown coverage that led to a 52 yard touchdown reception by Torrey Smith. On Sunday, Gilmore (who had played 99% of snaps this season) sat for seven plays. Meanwhile, Nickell Robey-Coleman (who has had a renaissance to his rookie year form of late) was on the field for all but one of Buffalo’s defensive plays.

It’s astonishing enough that Robey-Coleman played the whole game, since he’d never played more than 60 percent of snaps this season. If we want to speculate about why Gilmore sat, we’d have to watch the film. Was he taken off the field early when the game became a laugher? Or was there a point in the game where he was asked to come off the field?

As usual, your average Buffalo personnel grouping for week six:

2.0 DL, 1.74 OLB, 2.26 ILB, 3.0 CB, 2.0 S

Return of the Manuel package

I don’t really have much of import to say on this topic. But EJ Manuel returned to the field outside of garbage time, he carried the ball on the zone read for positive yardage, and he contributed one of his trademark hard counts later in the game. I love that he’s found a niche as Buffalo’s Blake Bell, even after Greg Roman left the team. I hope he enjoys his role, too.

Defensive line shuffling continues

Each week we try to draw conclusions about which defensive linemen are falling in and out of favor based on their week-over-week snaps. At this point, I think it’s time to punt on that and admit that the Bills are using some sort of matchup-based system to assign their linemen to the field. A week after playing a (fairly impressive) season-high 31 snaps, Adolphus Washington only appeared on a season-low eight. Leger Douzable hit a high of 42 snaps, while Corbin Bryant saw his lowest of the season (13). Kyle Williams is a lock for 70 to 80 percent of the defensive snaps, but beyond that, it appears that Washington and Douzable may rotate as one defensive lineman, while Corbin Bryant is used as a run stuffing nose tackle and Jerel Worthy is brought in for pass rush supplements. Some film study may be in order.

#TheAutumnOfNickOLeary

I’m co-opting Chris’s hashtag here with my own remark about The Gloveless Wonder’s sudden display of competence as Buffalo’s number two tight end. O’Leary’s 38 snaps was a season high, as was playing 48 percent of the offensive plays. He caught both of his targets for good yardage, and laid key blocks on numerous big runs against the 49ers.

Three years ago, O’Leary was a key safety valve in a young Jameis Winston’s Heisman season. Last year, he looked out of his element, unathletic, and not really NFL caliber. In the past three weeks, he’s made some spectacular catches and held his own as a blocker. Could O’Leary have finally integrated the technique that made him a desirable dual-threat tight end back in 2013? Buffalo would sure appreciate it.