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Packers Week 1 Snap Counts: Nitro package is here to stay, Montgomery is a workhorse

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The Packers used their three-safety package almost exclusively on Sunday.

Seattle Seahawks v Green Bay Packers Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

On Sunday, the Green Bay Packers defeated the Seattle Seahawks 17-9, largely on the strength of a terrific defensive performance. Seattle picked up just twelve first downs in the game, running just 49 offensive plays to the Packers’ 82.

A look at the snap counts from the week one contest shows that the Packers used six defensive backs on almost every play, an indication that the Nitro package is indeed going to be the team’s base defense moving forward. Therefore, it may be time to revise the nomenclature of Morgan Burnett’s position in the defense, as he filled the “moneybacker” role as a coverage linebacker throughout the entire game.

Likewise interesting is the frequency (or lack thereof) with which the Packers used a two-tight end personnel group on offense. Check out those items and more in the team’s snap counts.

OFFENSE (82 plays)

To nobody’s surprise, Aaron Rodgers started and played all 82 snaps.

Offensive Line

David Bakhtiari 82, Lane Taylor 82, Corey Linsley 82, Jahri Evans 82, Kyle Murphy 82

The Packers’ starting offensive line was on the field for each and every offensive snap, and after giving up four sacks in the first half — a few of which were at least partially on Rodgers — they pitched a shutout in the second half.

Wide Receivers

Jordy Nelson 76, Davante Adams 67, Randall Cobb 63, Trevor Davis 6, Jeff Janis 3

Despite all the talk about using two tight ends with regularity, the Packers still stuck with a three-receiver, one-tight end, one-running back personnel group for much of Sunday’s game. Cobb ended up with by far the most targets, seeing 13 passes thrown his way. This breakdown also shows why the Packers felt no need to keep more than five wideouts on the 53-man roster for week one, with players outside the top three only getting nine total snaps.

Tight Ends

Martellus Bennett 67, Lance Kendricks 21, Richard Rodgers 5

See above. Bennett and Kendricks took the field together on a handful of occasions, but rarely. Still, they offer valuable flexibility as both players are able to split out wide as well as play on the line. This may have been matchup-based, however, especially after Jeremy Lane was ejected from the game and the Seahawks had to go to their third and fourth cornerbacks frequently.

Running Backs

Ty Montgomery 74, Aaron Ripkowski 22, Jamaal Williams 6

The rumors of a timeshare between Montgomery and Williams can be put to rest. With pass protection a priority against the fearsome Seahawks pass rush, Montgomery still took almost every snap as the tailback, only taking a few plays off for rest early and to nurse a tweaked ankle late. He had a total of 23 touches, 19 on the ground and four through the air for a total of 93 yards and a touchdown. For fantasy purposes, Williams should be viewed as a handcuff only until something changes in the backfield.

DEFENSE (49 plays)

Cornerbacks

Davon House 49, Quinten Rollins 46, Damarious Randall 40, Kevin King 6, LaDarius Gunter 2

The Packers used their typical three-cornerback nickel unit throughout much of the game, with House lined up wide left, Randall wide right, and Rollins in the slot. King came in for Randall on the boundary for a handful of plays when the third-year corner had to go to the locker room for cramps. Thankfully, Randall returned for the end of the game and should be fine moving forward.

Safeties

Morgan Burnett 49, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix 49, Kentrell Brice 47

While the corners saw three players over 40 snaps, the safeties did as well. This illustrates how heavily the Packers used the Nitro package with Burnett at inside linebacker, as Brice was the de facto starting strong safety throughout the game. All told, the Packers basically used the Nitro grouping on practically every play, with only a handful of exceptions.

Inside Linebackers

Blake Martinez 42, Jake Ryan 5, Joe Thomas 5

It was perhaps a surprise to see who was aligned next to Burnett most in the Nitro — Martinez, who appeared to be behind Ryan in the pecking order at inside linebacker, was the other primary player at that position. Ryan did have a nice tackle for loss against the run early in the game, but Martinez also had a TFL and had no noticeable breakdowns in coverage.

Outside Linebackers

Clay Matthews 43, Nick Perry 42, Kyler Fackrell 12, Ahmad Brooks 6

The Packers did not use rookie Chris Odom on defense, leaving them with a four-man rotation on the outside. It ended up turning into a three-man rotation, as Brooks left the game in the first half with a concussion. Fackrell spelled both starters, but they were likely kept fresh by both the small number of offensive snaps for Seattle — due in large part to regular three-and-outs forced by the Packers’ defense — and the relatively lengthy drives by the Green Bay offense.

Defensive Linemen

Mike Daniels 38, Kenny Clark 37, Dean Lowry 15, Ricky Jean Francois 6

Daniels has not taken as many third-down snaps in the past few years as one might expect from a player with his pass-rushing ability, but he was at over 75% of the team’s total snaps on Sunday. He put together one of the most stunning stat lines of his career: seven total tackles, 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble, another tackle for loss, and four additional hits on the quarterback.

Clark joined Daniels as the primary interior tackle, and he was noticeable even though he didn’t fill up the stat sheet as much. He did come up with a big knockdown of a Russell Wilson pass on a third down, and remained a generally immovable object in the middle. The team filled in on occasion with Lowry and Jean Francois, who would be likely to see more snaps in games that the defense is on the field longer.