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Snap Judgments: Lions @ Redskins Snap Counts

A look at the snap counts for each player on the Redskins for the team's preseason game against the Detroit Lions

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Another meaningless preseason win, another pair of major injuries, another Robert Griffin injury, another special teams ace lost, another coaching blunder, etc, etc.  Days, months and years go by, but inexplicably very little seems to change with the Washington Redskins.

We do, however, need to take this all with a grain of salt and remember that this is still the preseason, a preseason that is only halfway complete.  We need to consider that the team was without its three best players in last night's game (arguably four of its best five depending on how highly you think of Junior Galette).  It's also a team that is adjusting to new coaches in important roles on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.

That's not to say that I think that the 2015 incarnation of the Redskins will be a good one, I don't.  But I have a hard time coming up with a unit or aspect of the team that is definitively worse off than it was last year.

Last night was far from what you want to see out of a preseason game, but contrary to reports the sky is in fact not falling.  Please refrain from looking at 2016 mock drafts and freaking out over sensationalized articles written by the national media.

Rebuilding rosters this poor takes time and Scot McCloughan just got here eight months ago.  The team is actually heading in the right direction, perhaps at a seemingly glacial pace, but it is.  Nobody wants to hear this, but more time and patience are still needed.

Offensive Snaps and Takeaways:

  • Ty Nsekhe saw a team-high 45 offensive snaps this week.  He was closely followed by fellow backup linemen Tom Compton (42 snaps), Josh LeRibues (40 snaps), Arie Koundijo (40 snaps) and Spencer Long (40 snaps).  LeRibeus, Koundijo and Long lead the team with 81 total offensive snaps (60%) in the preseason.
  • The Redskins' first-team units were outscored by a mark of 3-0.  They have been outscored 10-3 so far this preseason.  Scoring in exhibition games is not something that Robert Griffin has done a lot of lately, especially when it comes to scoring touchdowns.  Griffin has not led the starting offense on a touchdown drive in the preseason since the August 25th, 2012 matchup against the Indianapolis Colts.  That means that it's been almost three years to the date since he's done so!
  • The offense took 70 snaps against the Detroit Lions on Thursday night.  Robert Griffin and the rest of the starters were on the field for 16 of those snaps (23%).
  • You might be surprised to learn that Griffin actually played less snaps (16 to 18) and attempted less passes (5 to 8) than he did in last week's preseason opener, despite playing for two additional series (4 to 2) against the Lions this week.  Griffin's 16 snaps, 23% snap percentage and 5 attempts were his lowest such totals ever in the second week of the preseason (2012-2015).
  • I do think that Jay Gruden erred in leaving Griffin out there as long as he did, but at the same time I sympathize with him because up until last night everyone was calling for Griffin to get more work in the preseason.
  • Gruden's biggest mistake may have been to start Willie Smith at left tackle when they could've plugged Tom Compton or Morgan Moses in on the left side.  I'm honestly not even sure why the team held Smith in high enough regard to sign him in the first place.  I admit that I don't know much about him other than that he's somewhat of a journeyman, he has been horribly rated by PFF in each year that he has seen significant snaps, that he's a poor athlete and that he got embarrassed last night.  That, however, is enough for me to welcome the day when Scot McCloughan shows him the door.
  • The Redskins first-team offense was only able to manage a pathetic nine total yards of offense (15 yards if you don't count a special teams offsides penalty).  Either way you cut it, that comes out to less than one yard per snap (.56 or .94).   
  • The battle for the backup third-string tight end job appears to be a two-man race at the moment between Je'Ron Hamm and Chase Dixon.  Hamm out-snapped Dixon by a count of 33 to 28 last night, but Dixon's 72 total preseason snaps are not far from being double that of Hamm's total of 44.  Dixon has also received more special teams snaps (9 to 4), pass-blocking snaps (4 to 1) and has produced slightly more as a receiver (2 receptions for 37 yards to 1 reception for 23 yards).  The team seems to prefer Hamm, as he has seen more work with the starting offense in camp and in the games, but these trends are certainly noteworthy.
  • The aforementioned battle now appears to be for the third-string tight end spot, as the Redskins just traded a fifth round-pick for uber-atheltic 49ers tight end Derek Carrier.  Carrier boasts a SPARQ score in the 96th percentile of all tight ends per Player Profiler.

Defensive Snaps and Takeaways:

  • For the second week in a row the Redskins defense faced the opposition on 56 snaps.  The starting unit was on display for 29% of those plays (2 series and 16 snaps).  That is the lowest snap total, snap percentage and number of series that the first-team defense has seen in the second week of the exhibition season since preseason snap data became available in 2012. 
  • Rookie Martrell Spaight was at it again in this one, as he led the team in defensive snaps for the second week in a row.  Spaight currently leads the team in defensive snaps and total snaps through two weeks of the preseason (86 snaps).
  • Preston Smith, who finished with the third most defensive snaps last week, had the second most this time around with 31 snaps.  Kysheon Jarrett and Smith rank second and third in total preseason defensive snaps (62 and 61 snaps).
  • Bryan McCann again saw the most action in the slot, as all eight of his coverage snaps came inside.  Kyshoen Jarrett also got his fair share of slot work again (eight of sixteen coverage snaps).  Jeron Johnson spent half of his time in coverage against slot receivers as well (six of twelve snaps).
  • The Redskins didn't only keep to form on offense; the defense did its part too by missing tackle after tackle.  The team missed nine defensive tackles in the game, with four of those being attributed to starters David Amerson (2), Keenan Robinson and Duke Ihenacho.  Washington has missed a total of 19 tackles on defense this preseason, the most in the NFL.  They are one of only six teams to have played twice as of this writing, but that still doesn't quite take the sting out the fact that they lead the league in tackling futility. 
  • Don't ask me how the run defense has been so good despite all of the missed tackles, but it has.  The defensive starters have only allowed 19 rushing yards on 10 attempts so far in the exhibition season.  That's good for an average below two yards per carry (1.9).  They have not allowed a run of more than five yards and have only allowed three successful runs (30% success rate allowed as defined here).
  • Both Houston Bates and Jackson Jeffcoat notched a sack and were graded positively by PFF for the second consecutive week.  They are doing their best to make it difficult for Scot McCloughan to cut them.

Special Teams Snaps and Takeaways:

  • Washington special teamers were on the field for 25 snaps.  
  • Linebacker Houston Bates has flashed big-play potential so far and that has earned him more time on both defense and special teams.  He led the team with 14 special teams snaps this week.  His 24 total preseason snaps in this department are the most on the team.
  • Matrell Spaight, Kyshoen Jarrett and Da-mon Cromartie-Smith are tied for second on the team with 21 special teams snaps through the first two games.
  • Deshazor Everett, Adam Hayward, Colin Lockett and Trent Murphy were each credited with a solo tackle on special teams by the NFL Gamebook, while Jeron Johnson, Terrance Plummer, Trenton Robinson and Darrel Young each assisted on a tackle.
  • The Redskins lost a star special teams player for the second week in a row when Adam Hayward suffered a torn ACL against the Lions.  Losing Paul and Hayward is a massive blow to a special teams unit that was ranked last by both PFF and Football Outsiders in 2013 and that was ranked 28th and 29th by the sites respectively last year.  These injuries likely increase the chances that players like Spaight, Jarrett, Robinson, Jeffcoat and Bates make the team.