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Buffalo Bills snap count notes from preseason opener against Minnesota Vikings

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There are a few interesting tidbits from the playing time some guys received on Thursday

Before the game becomes too distant a memory, let’s take a look at the Buffalo Bills’ snap counts during their 17-10 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday. Only the top five players per position are listed here.

Quarterback

Nathan Peterman - 38
T.J. Yates - 20
Tyrod Taylor - 17

No major surprises here, as Peterman saw the bulk of the work after entering the game near the end of the third quarter. The Bills only held the ball for four minutes in the third, so it’s possible the Yates/Peterman split could have been closer, but going forward it wouldn’t be a surprise if Peterman separates even more.

Running Back

Joe Banyard - 17
Cedric O’Neal - 17
Jonathan Williams - 12
Jordan Johnson - 11
Taiwan Jones - 10

LeSean McCoy sat out the game, while Williams exited with a hamstring injury that shouldn’t affect his availability moving forward. In addition to his 17 snaps at running back, Banyard also tied for second with 12 special-teams snaps and looked like he might stick on the roster in that capacity. Jones also had 12 special teams snaps, but an ill-advised penalty for making a tackle on a fair catch doesn’t bode well for his chances.

Wide Receiver

Dezmin Lewis - 35
Brandon Reilly - 25
Daikiel Shorts - 22
Walt Powell - 18
Andre Holmes - 15

Sammy Watkins played 14 snaps in his final game in a Bills uniform. Zay Jones only played eight, while Anquan Boldin didn’t suit up at all. On the other side of the coin, Lewis seems to be earning a longer look at his in-game abilities, and caught a touchdown pass from Peterman in the fourth quarter. The Bills can release Holmes as part of a series of moves to acquire another third-round draft pick; if they do, Lewis would be the guy to stick as an over-sized receiving target.

Tight End

Logan Thomas - 31
Jason Croom - 28
Nick O’Leary - 21
Charles Clay - 17

Thomas and Croom seem to be locked in competition for the final roster spot at tight end, barring what I would now consider the unexpected signing of Gary Barnidge. Interestingly, O’Leary saw 11 special teams snaps; it could be a signal for an increased role in that capacity for the top reserve at tight end.

Offensive Line

Cameron Jefferson - 44
Jordan Mudge - 38
Ryan Groy - 35
Dion Dawkins - 32
Vladimir Ducasse - 32

Jefferson’s 44 snaps was tops for the Bills on either side of the ball. Mudge is another guy who could supplant a player that would need to be cut for a compensatory pick (Ducasse), so a few more games with a high snap count from him could be telling.

Defensive Line

Jake Metz - 42
Eddie Yarbrough - 33
Adolphus Washington - 29
Marquavius Lewis - 28
Ian Seau - 27

Metz led all Bills defenders in snaps. Yarbrough started the game in place of the injured Shaq Lawson, and after recording a sack and two pressures seemingly locked up his spot as a primary reserve at defensive end. Lewis also recorded a sack in the fourth quarter (after a roughing the passer flag in the third); if he plays well enough for the rest of the preseason to supplant Ryan Davis as the second reserve defensive end, the Bills will have their comp pick.

Linebacker

Matt Milano - 38
Gerald Hodges - 31
Reggie Ragland - 24
Jacob Lindsey -14
Carl Bradford - 11

Sixth-round pick Tanner Vallejo left the game with a shoulder injury after only six snaps. Fellow draftee Milano saw the bulk of the action, while Ragland played in his first live game since the 2015 NCAA National Championship. The battle for a roster spot and playing time in the linebacker rotation is still very much undecided. The balance among the top three should remain, while Vallejo should earn some playing time over the next few weeks as well.

Cornerback

Marcus Sayles - 34
Shareece Wright - 31
Bradley Sylve - 31
Greg Mabin - 27
Charles James II - 24

Ronald Darby played 10 snaps in his final game with the Bills, while James saw a good amount of action prior to being released for Jumal Rolle. Kevon Seymour was held out of the game due to injury, but his roster spot is relatively safe. The top four players on this list are fighting for one or two roster spots, so the balance should remain until someone can separate from the pack.

Safety

Shamiel Gary - 31
Trae Elston - 31
B.T. Sanders - 23
Baccarri Rambo - 22
Joe Powell - 9

Gary led the Bills with 14 special teams snaps, while Rambo saw 12 himself. That said, Elston was impressive with the second team and Powell managed an interception despite only nine snaps on defense. It’ll be interesting to see if they see more playing time going forward, as well as whether they can siphon some of the special teams snaps away from Gary and Rambo.