Here’s a closer look at the snap count from the Detroit Lions’ decisive Week 16 loss to the Carolina Panthers, and some observations about what that means.
Jared Goff: 66 (100% of Attack Snap)
Dandre Swift: 37 (56%)
Jamal Williams: 16 (24%)
Justin Jackson: 14 (21%) — 19 Special Teams Snaps (66%)
56% of Swift’s offensive snaps was his highest percentage of playing time since the season opener. He has seen his role gradually increase week by week as his ankle feels more and more comfortable.
That said, his playing time probably saw an extra boost after Jamal Williams was injured in the second half. Coach Dan Campbell didn’t have an update on Williams after the game, but told reporters Monday I hope we can get an update on his condition at the press conference.
Shane Zylstra: 29 (44%) — 11 (38%)
Block Light: 27 (41%) — 10 (34%)
James Mitchell: 19 (29%) — 10 (34%)
Garrett Griffin: 10 (15%) — 7 (24%)
Shane Zylstra made the most of it by having the most playing time of the year, scoring all three of Detroit’s touchdowns. Detroit were in pass mode for most of the game, so it’s no surprise that the converted receiver was the game’s most reliable tight end.
That said, both James Mitchell (2 catches, 31 yards) and Brock Wright (1 catch, 11 yards) were involved in the action. Goff clearly trusts the entire tight end group to play when needed.
Garrett Griffin replaced the injured fullback Jason Cabinda. That said, the Lions occasionally lined him up as a traditional tight end or wideout, so only five of his snaps were taken as a true fullback.
Amon La St. Brown: 55 (83%)
DJ Chark: 49 (74%)
Josh Reynolds: 40 (61%)
Caliph Raymond: 21 (32%) — 3 (10%)
Jameson Williams: 11 (17%)
The distribution of wide receivers was about the same as last week.Despite playing from behind every game, the Lions were actually slightly behind. Descent The role of first-round rookie Jameson Williams, who only saw one target in every game. Williams has, so far, never seen him take more than 13 offensive snaps in a game. At this point, it’s safe to say that Williams won’t develop into a full-time role this season.
Taylor Decker: 66 (100%)
Penay Sewell: 66 (100%) — 3 (10%)
Dan Skipper: 2 (3%) — 3 (10%)
Matt Nelson: 0 (0%) — 3 (10%)
With so few opportunities to run the ball and only a few trips to the red zone, the Lions made little use of their six offensive line look against the Panthers. Instead, they utilized a special tight end (Griffin) at their disposal.
Frank Lagnow: 66 (100%)
Jonah Jackson: 66 (100%) — 3 (10%)
Evan Brown: 66 (100%) — 3 (10%)
Logan Stenberg: 0 (0%) — 3 (10%)
For the second game in a row, the Lions put together an entire first offensive line. Unfortunately, it was one of their weakest performances this year, especially from an interior player.
Alim McNeil: 49 (72%)
Isaiah Buggs: 46 (68%) — 1 (3%)
Benito Jones: 19 (28%) — 7 (24%)
Detroit knew that the Panthers would run the ball a lot, so they increased playing time for all of their inside defenders. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to slow Carolina’s rushing offense, which set a franchise record with 320 yards.
John Kominsky: 55 (81%) — 7 (24%)
Aidan Hutchinson: 52 (76%) — 6 (21%)
Ohara Romeo: 41 (60%) — 7 (24%)
James Huston: 14 (21%) — 15 (52%)
Josh Pascal: 13 (19%)
The Lions’ best run-defensive edge defender stayed the longest in the game, for obvious reasons, but none played their best on Saturday.
That said, it’s good to see Romeo Okwala carrying a heavier load and showing that he’s almost beyond his Achilles injury. Clearly still shaking off the rust.
James Houston saw his sack streak come to an end, partly because his snap count dropped. The Lions defense rarely made obvious pass downs, but Houston made an impact by creating pressure and drawing holding penalties. Despite the low number of snaps, he finished with his 87.0 PFF grade, the best elite in the team’s defense.
Alex Anzalone: 68 (100%)
Malcolm Rodriguez: 42 (62%) — 4 (14%)
Derrick Burns: 17 (25%) — 8 (28%)
Crisboard: 7 (10%) — 26 (90%)
Anthony Pittman: 2 (3%) — 26 (90%)
Josh Woods: 0 (0%) — 26 (90%)
With Derrick Barnes back in play, he basically took the role away from Jarad Davis (who wasn’t promoted this week) and Chris Boad. Still, it was Malcolm Rodriguez who saw most of LB2’s looks on this day, but it was a day the rookie will never forget.
Jerry Jacobs: 68 (100%) — 10 (34%)
Will Harris: 51 (75%)
Jeff Okuda: 44 (65%)
Mike Hughes: 24 (35%) — 16 (55%)
Amani Orwalier: 0 (0%) — 3 (10%)
It was a terrifying day for No. 1 cornerback Jeff Okuda. Not only did he miss his two tackles for each of his PFFs, but he also gave up receiving on both targets, including his bomb on a crucial third down for 47 yards. Eventually, the Lions pulled him out of the game and replaced him with Mike Hughes. According to MLive, Campbell said of the move:
“Look, Jeff’s fine. Things happen. Jeff’s back and ready to go.”
Elsewhere, the Lions have pledged to keep three-quarters of the game in the nickel package. That said, it was Hughes who finished with the team’s highest PFF run grade (70.1).
Kirby Joseph: 68 (100%) — 12 (41%)
Ifeatu Melifonwu: 66 (97%)
CJ Moore: 2 (3%) — 26 (90%)
Brady Breeze: 0 (0%) — 19 (66%)
Despite Campbell saying that both Melifonwu and Moore would play safe roles this week, Melifonwu was almost the only one to make a safe first career start. It was a rough outing for a second-year player as he was always out of position and had two missed tackles. That said, he finished with a team-high eight tackles, one in a loss.
It’s unclear if starting safety DeShon Elliott will miss any more with a shoulder injury, but it’s clear the Lions missed him on Saturday.
Jack Fox: 10 (34%)
Scott Daly: 7 (24%)
Michael Badgley: 5 (17%)