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Buffalo Bills snap counts from NFL preseason Week 1 vs. Panthers

Wondering how much a certain player was on the field for the Bills during their preseason loss to Carolina? Wonder no more.

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Keeping track of snap counts is a far less interesting exercise during preseason action than it is during the regular season, but we're going to do it for the Buffalo Bills this exhibition season, anyway. Why? Because there is always something to learn from hard data. The snap counts from last night's 25-24 preseason loss to Carolina is no exception.

That said, the surprises in these numbers are few and far between. You'll come away with a pretty good idea of the rotation, and which players have seen extended looks over others to this point, but not a lot more. The numbers are affected by the large number of players that sat out last night's contest, as well.

Here's what stood out to me:

Offense (81 snaps)

Player Pos. Snaps PT %
Tyrod Taylor QB 25 30.9%
EJ Manuel QB 24 29.6%
Matt Cassel QB 20 24.7%
Matt Simms QB 12 14.8%
Bryce Brown RB 29 35.8%
Karlos Williams RB 26 32.1%
LeSean McCoy RB 15 18.5%
Bronson Hill RB 11 13.6%
Jerome Felton FB 8 9.9%
Chris Hogan WR 35 43.2%
Robert Woods WR 33 40.7%
Dezmin Lewis WR 27 33.3%
Marquise Goodwin WR 23 28.4%
Deonte Thompson WR 23 28.4%
Sammy Watkins WR 18 22.2%
Andre Davis WR 15 18.5%
Tobais Palmer WR 13 16.0%
Chris Gragg TE 35 43.2%
MarQueis Gray TE 30 37.0%
Nick O'Leary TE 26 32.1%
Charles Clay TE 18 22.2%
Matthew Mulligan TE 16 19.8%
Darryl Johnson OT 47 58.0%
Cyrus Kouandjio OT 43 53.1%
Cordy Glenn OT 20 24.7%
Seantrel Henderson OT 20 24.7%
Tyson Chandler OT 19 23.5%
Terren Jones OT 18 22.2%
John Miller OG 45 55.6%
Cyril Richardson OG 42 51.9%
William Campbell OG 36 44.4%
D.J. Morrell OG 18 22.2%
Kraig Urbik C 45 55.6%
Alex Kupper C 36 44.4%
Eric Wood C 20 24.7%

There isn't a ton to see here that's surprising. Felton's number is low, but perhaps only so that the Bills could run multiple-tight end looks to see more of the players there. (They used an extra tight end on roughly 40 percent of snaps last night.) Davis deserves more reps at receiver, but my hunch is that the Bills are trying to hide him from the eyes of other teams' scouts. If you're thinking the Bills will keep a fourth tackle, Darryl Johnson is the clear clubhouse leader, though he struggled against Carolina.

Defense (66 snaps)

Player Pos. Snaps PT %
Jeremy Towns DL 36 54.5%
Andre Fluellen DL 32 48.5%
Justin Hamilton DL 29 43.9%
Jarius Wynn DL 20 30.3%
Marcell Dareus DL 16 24.2%
Corbin Bryant DL 15 22.7%
IK Enemkpali ER 28 42.4%
Michael Buchanan ER 21 31.8%
Andrew Hudson ER 19 28.8%
Mario Williams ER 16 24.2%
Jerry Hughes ER 16 24.2%
Randell Johnson ER 12 18.2%
B.J. Larsen ER 12 18.2%
Manny Lawson ER 11 16.7%
Cedric Reed ER 6 9.1%
Erik Williams ER 5 7.6%
Tony Steward LB 50 75.8%
Ty Powell LB 26 39.4%
A.J. Tarpley LB 24 36.4%
Preston Brown LB 16 24.2%
Nigel Bradham LB 16 24.2%
Ronald Darby CB 36 54.5%
Mario Butler CB 32 48.5%
Rod Sweeting CB 24 36.4%
Ron Brooks CB 23 34.8%
Merrill Noel CB 20 30.3%
Stephon Gilmore CB 16 24.2%
Lavelle Westbrooks CB 12 18.2%
Nickell Robey CB 6 9.1%
Duke Williams S 27 40.9%
Kenny Ladler S 19 28.8%
Wes Miller S 19 28.8%
Bacarri Rambo S 18 27.3%
Jonathan Meeks S 16 24.2%
Corey Graham S 16 24.2%
Aaron Williams S 16 24.2%

It was, at least to me, mildly surprising to see Enemkpali see such a large amount of playing time right away. Sure, he's familiar with the defensive scheme, but the Bills also had a stable of equally-unproven and talented edge rushers that had put in the work for months, only to lose reps to the guy who punched Geno Smith. Seemed a little weird to me. Johnson, in particular, seemed to sacrifice snaps to the Enemkpali cause. The other surprising number? A huge amount of playing time for Steward, the sixth-round rookie who saw twice as much playing time as any other Bills linebacker last night. Take a look at that safety competition, too - that's about as even as rep-splitting can be. That fourth safety job is wide open.

Special Teams

Rather than take a full accounting of everyone's snaps on special teams, which we do in the regular season but is not strictly necessary in the preseason, let's instead just run through a list of numbers that stood out to me.

  • RB Bryce Brown (16 snaps): That's a lot of field time for Brown, who blocked on kick returns and covered kicks, as well. If he can play special teams, that will obviously help his cause, but he'll need to prove a lot to surpass Boobie Dixon in that phase.
  • TE Chris Gragg (12), MarQueis Gray (10), Nick O'Leary (9): As far as the backup tight end race goes, special teams contributions will be considered as a tie-breaker. Gragg did not play much teams for Danny Crossman last year, but he was the beneficiary of a fairly long look on Friday night.
  • ER Randell Johnson (14): Enemkpwa may have stolen Johnson's reps on defense, but Johnson played far more special teams snaps than the rest of the edge-rushing contingent. He's the best athlete out of that group, and he had some solid teams play at the outset of the 2014 season, as well.
  • LB Tony Steward (11), A.J. Tarpley (11): If the Bills are going to keep a fourth traditional linebacker on the roster, it's probably going to be one of these two guys. Steward played more than twice as many snaps as Tarpley on defense, which bodes well for him, but neither holds an advantage over the other on special teams yet.
  • CB Mario Butler (15): One of training camp's biggest surprises so far is Butler, who might be the favorite to make the team as the sixth cornerback for now. If he does, he won't play on defense much, so he'll have to play on teams, and the team has thus far afforded him an opportunity to earn a role there.
  • S Jonathan Meeks (12), Bacarri Rambo (11), Kenny Ladler (9): Just as with Butler, the Bills' fourth safety will have to contribute on special teams on game days. Rambo had a nice tackle and Meeks has been a mainstay for Crossman when healthy in years past, but it's worth pointing out that the little-discussed Ladler ran with the first-unit return and coverage units last night.