2020 is so hard, isn’t it? The injuries and weekly fluctuations are just tough to keep track of. That is why we bring you this weekly article that trawls through the 500+ defenders who play in the NFL each and every week.
READ: NFC IDP Snap Counts: Week Ten
Baltimore Ravens – 58 snaps
Lineman Calais Campbell missed the game, so Justin Ellis (47) was asked to play a much larger role with Broderick Washington (18) also seeing action.
Yannick Ngakoue (25) played a limited role. In fact, all the Ravens pass rushers were used sparingly. Matthew Judon (36) led the way but Pernell McPhee (27), Jaylon Ferguson (19), and Tyus Bowser (12) all saw the field.
Patrick Queen (56) played nearly every snap, but Malik Harrison (40) again saw a big workload against the Patriots’ run-heavy gameplan.
Buffalo Bills – 73 snaps
Linebacker AJ Klein (67) again had a big day. Tremaine Edmunds (73) also racked up tackles as the Bills played a high snap count.
Cincinnati Bengals – 73 snaps
DE Sam Hubbard (45) made his first appearance since week five on the edge. Carl Lawson (49) racked up five pressures but failed to get a sack on the other side. Khalid Kareem (26) was back to third-wheel status.
Cornerback saw come enforced changes. Darius Phillips and LeShaun Sims missed the game so Tony Brown (71) and Jalen Davis (51) came in. Brown had a ton of tackles – mainly because he was targeted 13 times. He’s so bad he’s a fifth-string corner for the Bengals.
Cleveland Browns – 57 snaps
This was a low-volume week for the Browns. But somehow the defensive line managed to nearly all record sacks from low-pressure counts. These things happen sometimes.
DEs Myles Garrett (46) and Olivier Vernon (45) managed four pressures (two each) with Garrett getting the sack.
DTs Sheldon Richardson (35) and Larry Ogunjobi (36) did even better with three sacks from four pressures.
Safety Ronnie Harrison (57) appears to be in control of the second safety spot with Karl Joseph playing only on special teams this week and Sheldrick Redwine in as the third safety when Andrew Sendejo (45) took a knock.
Denver Broncos – 72 snaps
This defense is generally weak – but the interior line is showing promise. Dre’Mont Jones (47), DeShawn Williams (39) are both playing well. DeMarcus Walker (44) has flashed too. It’s worth noting that this is a deep rotation though. Sylvester Williams played 31 snaps at the nose, and McTelvin Agim saw 21 snaps too. When Shelby Harris returns from injury, everyone will take a hit.
Houston Texans – 65 snaps
Corner Bradley Roby returned from injury to play 65 snaps. When that’s cause for celebration, you know you’re in trouble. This is a bottom-five defense.
Whitney Mercilus also returned to play 45 snaps on the edge. Jonathan Greenard slipped back to just 23.
Both LBs remain excellent IDPs. Zach Cunningham and Tyrell Adams (both 65) have been extremely efficient.
Indianapolis Colts – 65 snaps
The story of this game was the linemen smashing the Titans. DeForest Buckner (47) and Denico Autry (37) were the main culprits. But Grover Stewart (34) was good too. Even Justin Houston (36) managed to flash and he’s been in a five-week-long slump.
Safety Khari Willis (61) led the team in tackles. After a slow start to the season, he’s been red hot recently as an IDP. He should be started as a top-24 option but he’s getting a little overlooked because he’s still quite far down the season-long scoring charts.
Jacksonville Jaguars – 65 snaps
The worst pass-rushing team in the NFL did it again – just four combined pressures this week with Josh Allen (46) providing two of them. K’Lavon Chaisson (31) remains a posterchild for rookies faring poorly in 2020. He has eight pressures from 195 pass-rush snaps now. That is abysmal.
Remember when rookie corner CJ Henderson (64) had a great week one? That was a long time ago. He’s been mostly poor ever since. But you can probably still find people who think he’s been good because they remember the week one headlines.
DT Doug Costin missed this game – a week after seeming to steal Taven Bryan’s job. Bryan played 50 snaps today.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs enjoyed their bye week.
Las Vegas Raiders – 71 snaps
Much-maligned LB Cory Littleton missed the game, so Nicholas Morrow (71) stepped in to play next to Nick Kwiatkoski (66). Morrow was ineffective.
DE Clelin Ferrell (49) managed another couple of pressures. He is up to 24 now with zero sacks, which is pretty amazing. Maxx Crosby (49) managed a sack from his four pressures. He’s up to six sacks from 20 pressures.
DT Maurice Hurst missed his second game in a row. Maliek Collins (43) has played 101 snaps in that time. But has done very little with them.
Safety Jeff Heath played just 34 snaps but amazingly hauled in two picks – “amazingly” because he’s awful. He was on the field as Erik Harris (39) was limited. Jonathan Abram (69) is playing a ton but it is in the Raiders’ two-deep scheme which (predictably) makes him inefficient.
Los Angeles Chargers – 58 snaps
A week after being benched, LB Kenneth Murray (52) played nearly every snap. He let an easy interception go right through his fingers though. Oops.
Nick Vigil recovered a fumble and returned it for 44 yards – but he played just ten snaps. Don’t be suckered in.
Miami Dolphins – 63 snaps
Star DT Christian Wilkins missed this game. So, Zach Sieler (52) played more than he normally would, although he has averaged over 50 snaps in his past four games now. Rookie Benito Jones also made his debut with 11 snaps.
LB Jerome Baker played just 38 snaps in this game – his lowest all season. Weirdly it was the best he’s played for a while too. Maybe he got hurt and the news didn’t make it out. Elandon Roberts (37) helped pick up the slack.
New England Patriots – 65 snaps
The Patriots remain the lowest volume defense in the NFL. For the second game in a row unheralded Terez Hall (55) has been the team’s top LB. He’s worth adding in very deep leagues although you should not expect more than low-end LB3 numbers while Ja’Whaun Bentley is out injured. Rookie Josh Uche (21) played his highest snap count so far in the hybrid LB/edge Dont’a Hightower role.
The real winner though was Kyle Dugger who played 56 snaps at safety and produced off the back of it too.
Chase Winovich is firmly back in favor too. He saw 65 snaps. Before this game, he’d averaged 29 per game.
New York Jets
The Jets enjoyed their bye week.
Pittsburgh Steelers – 60 snaps
We saw Avery Williamson’s Steelers debut this week but he played just 11 snaps. Robert Spillane (45) led the way with Vince Williams (34) slightly over half the snaps. Note that adds up to just LB 90 snaps in 65 team snaps. The discrepancy was due to the Steelers adjusting for the Bengals’ pass-heavy offense that uses a lot of four and wide sets.
In the secondary, we saw Joe Haden and Steven Nelson (both 60) play perimeter corner with Cameron Sutton (50) in the slot. But Antoine Brooks (28) also played mostly in the slot.
Minkah Fitzpatrick (60) held his normal role at deep safety, with Terrell Edmunds (59) playing in front of him. Then Marcus Allen (20), Sean Davis (5), Jordan Dangerfield (5) all had a role along with additional corners James Pierre (5) and Justin Layne (5). It was a fascinating gameplan.
Tennessee Titans – 70 snaps
Jadeveon Clowney (52) returned after missing last week. Harold Landry (64) remains the top edge and Derick Roberson (11) fell back to being a bit-part player. Sadly, the brilliantly named Wyatt Ray did not make the field.
Good luck everyone!