The Buffalo Bills traveled to Baltimore to take on the Ravens and... Well let’s just say they’ve had better days and leave it at that. This season has brought some new faces on both the player and coaching side of things. To get a better handle on what this all means, lets’ dive into the snap counts and see what they tell us about our 2018 Buffalo Bills. Data courtesy of Pro Football Reference.
Offense (64 snaps)
Dion Dawkins was taken off the field to cool off after an unnecessary roughness call. You may notice that the Bills have three guards in their starting offensive line. This is a fun quirk of prolonging the Ryan Groy and Russell Bodine battle. Namely, even the data sites aren’t 100% sure what’s going on yet.
The delay in getting to practice didn’t hurt Zay Jones as took the field on all but four snaps, leading the skill position players by a comfortable margin. Marcus Murphy was the primary backup to LeSean McCoy, seeing 23 snaps to Chris Ivory’s 7. Team captain Patrick DiMarco saw just one snap after being featured more prominently with the starters in the preseason.
Defense (80 snaps)
The Bills featured nickel packages heavily in 2017. Starting corners Phillip Gaines and Tre’Davious White were only joined by slot corner Taron Johnson about a fifth of the game. However, safety Rafael Bush saw 31 snaps with Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde only missing 7 plays between the two of them. It’s not quite a “big nickel” with Bush, who is approximately ten pounds heavier than Johnson.
For the linebackers, Tremaine Edmunds saw 100% of the snaps, replacing Preston Brown’s omnipresence on the field. Last year the Bills split snaps between Matt Milano and Ramon Humber with a 70/30 ratio. The 95/5 ratio in favor of Milano speaks volumes on how that competition is faring in 2018. Lorenzo Alexander hit the field over half the time, making rumors of his demise greatly exaggerated.
The defensive front has some surprises. Kyle Williams and Star Lotulelei hovered around the 50% mark. Williams was over 70% last year. Both Williams and Lotulelei may have been held back by injuries some. Speaking of lingering injuries, Trent Murphy’s pitch count played out as expected with 35% of snaps. Harrison Phillips was deemed ready for action, seeing the field about half the time. Eddie Yarbrough is once again the primary backup for defensive ends. Adolphus Washington received an extended audition. Despite heavy usage (32 snaps), the Bills’ coaching staff wasn’t feeling it, cutting Washington on Monday.
Special Teams (34 snaps)
In total, 36 players took at least one special teams snap on Sunday. Of these players, 24 saw more than five. Matt Milano saw 25 snaps or 74% in addition to his defensive work. Joining Milano at the 25 mark are your new core special teamers: Ramon Humber, Lafayette Pitts, Deon Lacey, Logan Thomas and Andre Holmes. Patrick DiMarco was on the field 20 times for special teams. Meanwhile special teams captain Taiwan Jones saw only 16.