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Bills-Giants Hall of Fame Game 2014: snap counts, defense

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Here, we take a peek at snap counts from the Bills-Giants preseason game to extrapolate some insight into the team's position battles on defense.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills will be back on the practice field at St. John Fisher College this evening as they continue their prep for the 2014 season. Before we turn our attention back to Pittsford, however, let's take one final look at the Bills-Giants Hall of Fame Game to pore over rep counts. That will lend some insight into position battles, and the special teams reps are of particular interest, as well.

DE

  • Jarius Wynn (31)
  • Jacquies Smith (29)
  • Manny Lawson (22)
  • Bryan Johnson (17)
  • Ike Igbinosun (17)
  • Jerry Hughes (10)
  • Mario Williams (8)

We were particularly interested in the breakout between Wynn, Smith, Igbinosun, and Johnson. The results were not that surprising; it's looking like Wynn and Smith will get the longest looks at earning the fourth defensive end job.

DT

  • Corbin Bryant (32)
  • Stefan Charles (25)
  • Landon Cohen (21)
  • Alan Branch (14)
  • Damien Jacobs (13)
  • Marcell Dareus (8)
  • Kyle Williams (8)

Cohen might be a name to keep an eye on; reporters have said nice things about the recent tackle signing, and he's being worked in at the same level as Charles, everyone's favorite "sleeper" this summer.

LB

  • Preston Brown (33)
  • Stevenson Sylvester (24)
  • Ty Powell (24)
  • Jimmy Gaines (24)
  • Randell Johnson (24)
  • Xavius Boyd (12)
  • Nigel Bradham (12)
  • Brandon Spikes (8)
  • Keith Rivers (6)

Rivers did not see much work, which was slightly surprising; Spikes played every nickel rep with the first-team defense. The rest of the position remained something of a free-for-all; Brown is obviously going to be sticking, and he saw a ton of playing time, but Powell, Sylvester, Gaines, and Johnson appear to be on relatively even footing at the moment.

CB

  • Mario Butler (31)
  • Bobby Felder (29)
  • Ron Brooks (26)
  • Kamaal McIlwain (23)
  • Ross Cockrell (17)
  • Nickell Robey (10)
  • Michael Carter (8)
  • Corey Graham (8)

Buffalo was shorthanded here with Stephon Gilmore and Leodis McKelvin healthy scratches; they were quick to pull Graham and Robey. That led to a lot of early snaps for Ron Brooks, who acquitted himself well. It's a bit surprising to see such a low number for Cockrell, given how much the team's other draft picks played (aside, of course, from Sammy Watkins). Felder is a name to keep an eye on; he's had a couple of nice practices, and that sixth cornerback job isn't set in stone.

S

  • Duke Williams (33)
  • Jonathan Meeks (24)
  • Da'Norris Searcy (19)
  • Kenny Ladler (12)
  • Derek Brim (12)
  • Deon Broomfield (11)
  • Jajuan Harley (11)
  • Aaron Williams (8)

Williams and Meeks were going to play a lot anyway, and Williams looked to be head and shoulders above the rest of the team's backup defenders, which is a good sign. Ladler, Brim, Broomfield and Harley are going to have a tough time earning a job on this team.

Special Teams

Below is a list of non-linemen that played at least five snaps on special teams in Canton.

  • LB Stevenson Sylvester (12)
  • LB Ty Powell (10)
  • S Duke Williams (10)
  • S Jonathan Meeks (9)
  • LB Preston Brown (8)
  • LB Jimmy Gaines (8)
  • S Kenny Ladler (8)
  • CB Ron Brooks (7)
  • DE Manny Lawson (6)
  • DE Bryan Johnson (6)
  • CB Ross Cockrell (6)
  • CB Nickell Robey (5)
  • CB Michael Carter (5)
  • S Derek Brim (5)

Sylvester was a special teams mainstay in Pittsburgh, so it's not surprising that he led the Bills in teams snaps on Sunday. This is a very linebacker-heavy list, as expected, and that will serve as another means to separating the group of young players on the second and third units. Robey's name sticks out like a sore thumb here; he didn't play teams for the Bills last year, but appears to have diversified his portfolio as a viable punt returner option.