Tabulating snap counts in preseason games is a full-time job for the spotters, with so many players getting action on both plays from scrimmage as well as special teams. The Detroit Lions used 76 different players in Friday night’s preseason opener against the Atlanta Falcons.
There were a select few healthy Lions who did not participate in the exhibition: TE T.J. Hockenson, LB Alex Anzalone, S C.J. Moore and rookie TE James Mitchell. All the other players who sat out were idled in practice with minor injuries or remain on the PUP or NFI lists.
Tom Kennedy led all Lions offensive players with 43 snaps. He saw 12 passing targets, making the most of his time with QB David Blough, who played 42 snaps. The reserve offensive linemen dominated the rest of the top snap counts; Kendall Lamm played 42 while Dan Skipper, Evan Brown, Tommy Kraemer and Logan Stenberg all hit 40.
The starters on offense played the opening drive, 10 total plays. D’Andre Swift saw six reps at RB while Jamaal Williams had four.
In the crowd competing for tight end spots behind Hockenson, Brock Wright dominated with 29 snaps. Wright was followed by:
- Devin Funchess – 21
- Shane Zylstra – 18
- Derrick Deese Jr. – 18
- Nolan Givan – 14
- Garrett Griffin – 13
It will be extremely interesting to see where those reps fall in the next preseason matchup, presumably with Mitchell entering the mix as he gets healthier from the leg injury he suffered last year at Virginia Tech. Note that Zylstra played the most special teams reps of the group (11) while Deese did not appear on special teams.
As with the offense, the defensive starters appeared on just one drive and 13 total plays. Cornerback Will Harris played just seven after leaving early with a hand injury. That forced Jeff Okudah onto the field for an extra few plays. Okudah logged 18, the same quantity as CB Bobby Price and one behind Saivion Smith.
Starting LBs Derrick Barnes and Malcolm Rodriguez played beyond the first drive. Rodriguez (21 snaps) and Barnes (19) split reps with Anthony Pittman (22), Chris Board (21), Shaun Dion Hamilton (19) and Josh Woods (14).
Jarrad Davis played primarily at off-ball LB in his 26 reps but also worked in some SAM reps, a pass-rushing role in this defense.
The most reps went to rookie safety Kerby Joseph and running mate JuJu Hughes, who each played 43 snaps. Reserve DT Bruce Hector (34) was the only other defender to top 30 reps.
Rookie CB Chase Lucas was on the field for just seven snaps. Mark Gilbert led all Lions defenders with 16 special teams reps to pair with his 22 plays on D.