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Skins Snaps & Stats: Redskins @ Falcons

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A look at the snap counts and stats for each player on the Redskins in the team's preseason opener against the Atlanta Falcons

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Redskins streak of consecutive wins in preseason openers (6 wins since 2010) was snapped last night when they fell to the Atlanta Falcons by a score of 23-17.  Washington lost the game for three reasons in my mind: a litany of penalty flags (14 for 123 yards), an inability to get anything going on the ground early (0 yards rushing by their top-3 RBs) in the game and a handful of big passing plays allowed by backup defenders (4 plays of 25 or more yards to the Redskins' one).

The final score is not very important in preseason matchups though.  That is especially so in preseason openers and finales when starters hardly play, if at all.  For example, in this game two of the teams' best five players (Trent Williams and Jordan Reed) did not play and only one of the 22 presumptive starters (Spencer Long) played more than 29% of the snaps, and that player's hold on his starting job is tenuous.  To add to that, nearly 70% of the starters (15 of 22) didn't even play 20% of the game.

When the starters were in, the Redskins moved the ball 30 yards down the field and gained two first downs on one drive.  Meanwhile, the Falcons starters only picked up a paltry two yards of offense on two drives.

Offense

The Redskins' offense played a total of 62 snaps and 38 of the team's 43 offensive players on the roster saw the field in Atlanta last night.

Starters Trent Williams, Jordan Reed and Jamison Crowder sat out with injuries and backups Kevin Bowen and Reggie Diggs were also inactive.  Running back Kelsey Young only played on special teams.  Josh Doctson and Derek Carrier are not counted on the roster and the position group numbers below because they are currently on the PUP list.  Silas Redd is not counted due to his suspension.

The usual skill-position starters (Cousins, Jackson, Garcon and Jones) only played on the contest's opening drive, which lasted eight snaps (13% of the offense's snaps).  That is the lowest snap total and percentage that the Redskins' starters have played in a preseason opener since both Gruden became head coach in 2014 and the NFL officially started to track snap data in 2012.  The previous lows were 10 snaps and 14% in Gruden's first preseason game in 2014 when the Redskins hosted the Patriots.

This is quite the contrast to the start of last year's exhibition season when the starters received a team record-high (again since 2012) of 18 snaps (27%).  Offensive line starters Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses and Kory Lichtensteiger did stay in for three drives and 17 snaps.

Quarterbacks (3)
Player (* - starter) Snaps Snap %
Nate Sudfeld 35 56%
Colt McCoy 19 31%
Kirk Cousins * 8 13%
  • The only preseason game in which Cousins, McCoy or Robert Griffin saw eight or fewer snaps was in Week 3 of the 2012 preseason when Cousins registered only five snaps.  Cousins did, however, become the only one of those three to put up a perfect completion percentage (5 for 5) in a game in which he attempted three or more passes.
  • Nate Sudfeld threw for more yards than Cousins did in his first preseason game and more than Griffin ever did in all but one exhibition game as a Redskin (2014 versus the Browns at home when he threw for 112 yards).  The downside for the Indiana product is that he was sacked on 16.7% of his dropbacks (3 sacks).  That sack percentage would've ranked him dead last among qualifying QBs last year.  Cousins and McCoy have never been sacked more than once in the preseason during their time in Washington.
Wide Receivers (12)
Player (* - starter) Snaps Snap %
Rashad Ross 45 73%
Maurice Harris 38 61%
Ryan Grant * 25 40%
Valdez Showers 20 32%
T.J. Thorpe 10 16%
Dez Stewart 8 13%
DeSean Jackson * 8 13%
Pierre Garcon * 8 13%
Kendal Thompson 5 8%
Jarvis Turner 4 6%
Jamison Crowder Inactive N/A
Reggie Diggs Inactive N/A
Josh Doctson PUP N/A
  • Starters Jackson and Garcon each caught one pass for five yards, with Garcon's reception going for a first down.  Garcon may be one of the worst starters in the league when it comes to making big plays, but he may also be one of the best number-two wideout in the league in terms of moving the chains with first-down grabs.  His 43 first downs ranked second on the team last season.
  • Rashad Ross and Ryan Grant had the most and the third most snaps in the group respectively.  No other wideout or tight end on the team had more targets, receptions and receiving yards than each of them did last night (5, 4 and 49 for Ross and 4, 3 and 31 for Grant).  Logan Paulsen was the only other player on the team with more than 13 yards receiving.  Ross' 45 snaps were the second highest number of offensive or defensive plays by a Redskin in the game. 
Tight Ends (5)
Player (* - starter) Snaps Snap %
Logan Paulsen 34 55%
Marcel Jensen 21 34%
Vernon Davis * 14 23%
Niles Paul 5 8%
Jordan Reed Inactive N/A
Derek Carrier PUP N/A
  • Logan Paulsen and Marcel Jensen made two of the Redskins biggest plays against the Falcons.  Paulsen had the team's longest play of the night with a 28-yard completion on a third quarter scoring drive and Marcel Jensen scored the Skins' only touchdown through the air.  Vernon Davis dropped a sure TD on his only target and Niles Paul caught one ball for five yards.
  • It was an eventful night for the tight end group, but not a very productive one.  The group combined for three catches for 39 yards, two first downs, one touchdown and one dropped TD on eight targets.  Jordan Reed has recorded more than three receptions in almost 70% of his games and finished with 45 or more yards in 11 of the last 15 contests he played in.  Get well soon, Jordan!

Running Backs (7)
Player (* - starter) Snaps Snap %
Robert Kelley 18 29%
Mack Brown 17 27%
Keith Marshall 13 21
Chris Thompson 8 13%
Matt Jones * 6 10%
Joe Kerridge 3 5%
Kelsey Young ST Only 0%
Silas Redd SUSP N/A
  • The team's top three runners (Matt Jones, Chris Thompson and Keith Marshall) combined to rush for a pathetic zero yards on eight carries.  The longest run between them went for just four yards.  Not one of the three RBs had a rushing average of better than 0.5, which represents by far the second worst mark by any of them in their careers (Jones had 0 yards in Carolina last year).  That is not a good omen for a club that ranked 30th, 30th and 32nd in yards per carry, PFF team rushing grade and rushing DVOA respectively last year.
  • At least backups Robert Kelley and Mack Brown were able to come in and save some face for the Redskins' anemic rushing offense.  Kelley and Brown ran the ball 14 times for 68 yards, a 4.9 yards per tote average and a touchdown.
Offensive Linemen (16)
Player (* - starter) Snaps Snap %
Takoby Cofield 46 74%
Spencer Long * 33 53%
Ty Nsekhe * 32 52%
Nila Kasitati 28 45%
Josh LeRibeus 24 39%
Arie Koundijo 21 34%
Austin Reiter 21 34%
Isaiah Williams 17 27%
Brandon Scherff * 17 27%
Morgan Moses * 17 27%
Korey Lichtensteiger * 17 27%
Shawn Lauvao 16 26%
Al Bond 13 21%
Cody Booth 8 13%
Kevin Bowen Inactive N/A
Trent Williams Inactive N/A

  • Ty Nsekhe started at left tackle for Trent Williams.  Spencer Long who is the current starter at left guard got some extended run in this game with 33 combined snaps at guard and center.  Takoby Cofield also got his fair share of work in this one.  The sophmore tackle out of Duke played more offensive or defensive snaps than any other Redskin in the opener.
  • The line allowed seven QB hits in addition to the three sacks that they gave up on Sudfeld.  One of the team's many penalties was attributed to Morgan Moses (holding for 10 yards).  Moses' 13 flags and nine penalties were the most and the second most on the team last year

Defense

Forty of the team's forty-one players combined to play on 68 total defensive snaps against the Falcons.  Jerrell Powe was the only inactive defender on the roster.  Junior Galette and Steven Daniels were both recently placed on injured reserve and as such they are not counted on the roster and in the position group numbers below.

Only front seven starters Ricky Jean Francois, Preston Smith and Chris Baker were on the field for more than 13 snaps and 19% of the defensive plays.  Josh Norman and Ryan Kerrigan, two of the Skins' other best and most highly-paid players, only combined for 6 snaps.  The majority of the starters played about 20% of the snaps, which is right in line with the 20, 22 and 18% of the snaps that the starters played in the 2012, 2013 and 2015 openers respectively.

Defensive Linemen (10)
Player (* - starter) Snaps Snap %
Matt Ioannidis 24 35%
Ziggy Hood 22 32%
Stephen Paea 21 31%
Kendall Reyes 20 29%
Ricky Jean Francois 20 29%
Corey Crawford 16 24%
Chris Baker * 16 24%
Anthony Lanier 15 22%
Kedric Golston * 11 16%
Jerrell Powe Inactive N/A
  • No defensive linemen on the Redskins were able to pick up a sack in Atlanta; Ziggy Hood and Kendall Reyes were able to each tally one quarterback hit though.  Anthony Lanier was sadly the only D-linemen that recorded a tackle (1).  Lanier also deflected a pass in the game.  The group fared better against the run as they gave up 79 yards on 28 carries for a 2.8 average.  Atlanta running backs only had one rush for over nine yards (15 yards).
  • Pro Football Focus gave rookie Matt Ioannidis positive grades in both run and pass defense.  Ioannidis was given the fourth-highest overall grade among interior defenders out of Thursday night's six games.
Inside Linebackers (7)
Player (* - starter) Snaps Snap %
Martrell Spaight 31 46%
Carlos Fields 25 37%
Su'a Cravens 24 35%
Terence Garvin 21 31%
Mason Foster * 12 18%
Will Compton * 12 18%
Perry Riley 11 16%
Steven Daniels IR N/A

  • The young inside backers Martrell Spaight and Su'a Cravens had a big day against the Falcons.  Spaight led the team with five total and solo tackles.  Cravens added three tackles of his own, two of which were for a loss.  Both players deflected a pass and chipped in with special teams tackles.  Maybe the future of the ILB position is brighter than we thought.
  • Special teams stalwart and former Steeler Terence Garvin also made his presence known.  Garvin made two tackles (1 for a loss), deflected a pass, forced a fumble and downed a Tress Way punt at the three-yard line.  The Upper Marlboro native averaged 11.6 total (11,15 and 9) and 8.6 solo (8, 9 and 9) special teams tackles in his first three years in the league.
Outside Linebackers (9)
Player (* - starter) Snaps Snap %
Trent Murphy 34 50%
Houston Bates 19 28%
Preston Smith * 18 26%
Ejiro Ederaine 15 22%
Mike Wakefield 14 21%
Willie Jefferson 9 13%
Shiro Davis 7 10
Ryan Kerrigan * 3 4%
Lynden Trail Unlisted ?
Junior Galette IR N/A

  • Preston Smith looked borderline dominant across his 18 snaps in the game.  He recorded multiple pressures and a tackle in the first three series.
  • Trent Murphy tied for the defensive team-lead in snaps and tallied two tackles (1 for a loss).  Fellow projected backup OLB Houston Bates also notched two tackles.  The NFL game charters look to be in preseason mode too, as they failed to record Lynden Trails snap totals.  However, based on the math he looks to have been on the field for about 16 defensive snaps and maybe an even higher total on special teams.
Cornerbacks (9)
Player (* - starter) Snaps Snap %
Quinton Dunbar 34 50%
Greg Toler 30 44%
Kendall Fuller 27 40%
Jeremy Harris 26 38%
Deshaun Philips * 21 31%
Lloyd Carrington 16 24%
Mariel Cooper 10 15%
Bashaud Breeland * 7 10%
Josh Norman * 3 4%
  • Quinton Dunbar was absolutely abused in this game by ex-Redskins receiver Aldrick Robinson.  Robinson caught passes of 47 and 68 yards on the second-year converted wide receiver.  This was in all likelihood Dunbar's worst game as a pro.  Dunbar tied for the team lead in defensive snaps and finished the game with two solo tackles.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, backup corners Dashaun Philips and Greg Toler had themselves a pretty decent outing.  Philips started the game in the slot over rookie Kendall Fuller and made two tackles.  Both he and Toler deflected a pass.  Toler also prevented an Atlanta touchdown.
Safeties (6)
Player (* - starter) Snaps Snap %
Duke Ihenacho 31 46%
Will Blackmon 30 44%
Geno Matias-Smith 27 40%
Deshazor Everett 25 37%
David Bruton * 13 19%
DeAngelo Hall * 12 18%
  • Duke Ihenacho finished with the second most total and combined tackles on the team (4).  He outplayed his backup safety partner, Will Blackmon, who was at least partly responsible for some of the big passing plays allowed by the Redskins' defense.  Blackmon did, however, also finish with four total tackles.  Fellow backup, Geno Matias-Smith, made an impression by making three tackles and recovering a fumble.
  • David Bruton, who also happens to be a former Denver Bronco like Duke Ihenacho, is one of the current starting safeties.  He was flagged for a holding penalty and recorded one tackle on 13 snaps.  He is also known for being a special teams ace, but he only received two teams snaps.

Special Teams

  • Carlos Fields (2), Su'a Cravens and Jeremy Harris recorded solo special teams tackles.  Martrell Spaight and Kendall Fuller each chipped in with one assist.  That just didn't cut it though for a unit that allowed a 101-yard kickoff return for a touchdown on the only kickoff that the Falcons returned.  Atlanta also averaged 7.6 yards per punt return on five tries. 
  • Tress Way booted the ball up and down the field on Thursday night, as he punted for a whopping total of 376 yards on 7 punts.  He averaged 53.7 yards per attempt with a net average of 48.3 yards.  Four of his seven kicks led to the Falcons being pinned down inside their own 20-yard line.  This may very well have been Way's best game as an NFL player.

*All statistics are courtesy of NFL Gamebooks, NFL GSIS and Pro Football Focus*