Each week we’ll take a look at the composition of the Steelers wins and losses (and ties too) by examining the team’s snap counts on offense and defense. Here’s a look at the makeup of last week’s game.
Most of the usual suspects on offense played the entirety of the game, including the offensive line and Ben Roethlisberger. Antonio Brown only left the field for one snap, is par for the course when you’re arguably the best player on the field.
The major bump in playing time this week came for a few players, most notably James Conner, who was playing in place of Le’Veon Bell.
However, a few others snuck onto the field more than we perhaps initially thought they would. Xavier Grimble was the beneficiary of Vance McDonald being ruled out. The “X-Man” would play a quarter of the game in two tight end sets.
Another surprise, perhaps, was Chukwuma Okorafor, the Steelers swing tackle, who also saw about a fifth of the total snaps in various jumbo packages.
On defense, the outside linebacker rotation is completely gone so far in 2018. With only three outside linebackers on the depth chart, T.J. Watt played nearly the entire game. (And rightfully so, as he racked up four sacks!)
Bud Dupree also saw a big bump in playing time. Sean Davis continues to play every snap, this time from the free safety position. The big boys upfront still get spelled at times while Jon Bostic periodically left the field as rookie Terrell Edmunds got the start at strong safety, but Morgan Burnett also got a nice share of playing time after being banged up for most of the preseason.
Second-year corner Cameron Sutton came into the game when Joe Haden hurt his hamstring. Mike Hilton’s playing time shows a commitment to using more defensive backs, but another glaring number is NT Dan McCullers ten reps: he had 13 over the course of four total games last season.
Statistics courtesy of the National Football League