As is our weekly custom here at Buffalo Rumblings, we have updated our 2015 snap counts page with the latest play-time percentages from the Buffalo Bills' 14-13 win over the Tennessee Titans yesterday. A few trends stood out from this one.
- RB rotation: LeSean McCoy and Karlos Williams were sidelined by injury, and as a result, Boobie Dixon (38 snaps, 71.7 percent of total) saw the vast majority of the playing time in the backfield. It did not take long for Boom Herron (14 snaps) to leapfrog Cierre Wood (two) in the pecking order, however, and if McCoy and Williams continue to miss time, Herron's playing time could continue to rise. Buffalo's running game was not good in Tennessee, but Herron (nine carries, 28 yards) looked more explosive than the banged-up Dixon (seven carries, 19 yards) has.
- Goodwin's role: Not having Sammy Watkins in the lineup undoubtedly helped his situation, but Marquise Goodwin played a surprising amount of snaps (22 out of 53 total) in his 2015 season debut. By comparison, Chris Hogan played 23 snaps, giving the Bills four receivers that played at least 22 snaps in the game. Things will undoubtedly change when Watkins is healthy, but Goodwin's role is something to keep an eye on moving forward. On a bad passing day for the offense, Goodwin made a couple of nice plays in limited work.
- Less nickel: It's been a sneaky development, as it has been incremental and very gradual, but the Bills have been gradually using more base defense and less nickel. That means a slow, steady uptick in playing time for Manny Lawson - who has seen his playing time rise slightly each week - and less Nickell Robey, whose rep counts have declined each week save for a Week 3 outlier in which the Bills played a ton of snaps. Lawson played 36 snaps to Robey's 33 on Sunday, and Robey was exploited a couple of times by tall Tennessee slot receiver Justin Hunter. This trend may not continue, but it's something to monitor.
- A good day for Aaron: He had a bit of a scare in the first quarter, when he missed a quick series after aggravating the neck injury that had kept him out since Week 2, but when all was said and done, Aaron Williams played 60 of the 69 defensive snaps in Tennessee, and finished the game. After several weeks of missed playing time by the starters, it's looking like the Bills will have both starting safeties ready to start in consecutive games for the first time this season when Cincinnati comes to town next week. That might be fortuitous timing.
- Special teams tweaks: Injuries have forced the Bills to make a couple of changes to their special teams play-time percentages. Dixon, in particular, has seen a dramatic decrease in playing time thanks to his increased role on offense. Hogan has seen a similar decrease, as well, and the Bills have a long-term injury to handle with coverage staple MarQueis Gray on Injured Reserve. That last may explain a sudden uptick in teams snaps for Corey Graham, and definitely explains a career-high 11 teams snaps for Chris Gragg. Due to all the shuffling, the Bills now only have two players that have logged more than 60 percent of special teams snaps so far this season: Marcus Easley (70.1 percent) and Randell Johnson (66.7 percent).