The Buffalo Bills wrapped up their preseason tune-up by visiting their farm team, ahem, The Carolina Panthers. An off-the-field issue that needs no mention and poor play on the field led to a game that was very difficult to watch, let alone find any joy in. That said, we’ve got a job to do and that job is to analyze snap counts that likely don’t have much meaning to begin with. Next time you see this feature though, there should be plenty of good analysis.
Offense (55 snaps)
This won’t be the usual attempt at figuring out personnel tendencies. The overall feel of the game was to get a little more practice time for a select few players and fill out the rest of the team with guys who won’t be in Buffalo when the regular season begins. This likely doubles as a security blanket against injuring players who will make the 53, and allows them to put out some more film for other teams.
Spencer Brown for instance, it seems like some reps were given to help him get back into the swing of things as he continues recovering from injury. Similarly, James Cook likely hit the field just to get a few more snaps under his belt.
A couple position battles may not have been decided prior to the game. The tight end battle in particular could go a few different directions. There’s a case to be made for keeping any of the three who suited up. Quintin Morris has been getting some praise, but the homegrown Tommy Sweeney has more experience in the system. Of course O.J. Howard has the best resume of the three.
Defense (62 snaps)
On the defensive side of things it looks pretty similar, but maybe some numbers games impacted the total amount. For example, with nine corners on the roster, including Tre’Davious White who is still rehabbing his injury, it’s likely this contributed to some higher snap counts for a few players.
Kaiir Elam and Christian Benford both played half the game, which is a bit higher than fellow rookie James Cook on the offense. With Elam a potential starter it might be expected to have had him play fewer reps. This might be an example of how the numbers game impacted things.
Special Teams (17 snaps)
There might be some intriguing tidbits on special teams. Quintin Morris hit the field 82% of the time on special teams. Does this mean he’s unlikely to make the team as he was placed at a higher risk for injury? Or does it mean he was being given a shot to crack the roster by showing off a bit? Ja’Marcus Ingram and Nick McCloud played 71% and 65% of the time. Joe Giles-Harris, Andre Smith, and Josh Thomas also all played 65% of the time. Like with Morris, does this mean they’ve made it or will be gone by Tuesday?