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Packers Snap Counts: Recapping the season so far through six games

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Let’s take a look at how playing time has broken down for the Packers through the early part of 2018.

Minnesota Vikings v Green Bay Packers Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers have just five players who have suited up for every snap on offense or defense this season, as the team has shuffled the deck on a handful of positions throughout this season. Three offensive linemen, one inside linebacker, and a safety make the cut, with a second safety coming up just one snap short through the team’s first six games of 2018.

That is just one of the sets of numbers that stand out so far this year. Injuries have clearly played a part at several positions, particularly wide receiver and cornerback, positions at which surprising names rank second. Then there are spots like running back and tight end that still leave some lingering questions about the strategy and decision-making of the coaching staff in dividing up playing time.

Here’s our overall look at how the snap counts have been split up through the first six weeks of the year.

Quarterbacks

Aaron Rodgers 420 (96.8%)
DeShone Kizer 14 (3.2%)
Tim Boyle 0

As we all remember, Rodgers suffered a knee injury in the first half of week one against the Chicago Bears, and Packers fans feared his season would be over right away. Kizer came in for the remainder of the half and committed two turnovers. Then Rodgers returned to the field after halftime, led a comeback victory, and has not missed a play since.

Running Backs

Jamaal Williams 202 (46.5%)
Ty Montgomery 144 (33.2%)
Aaron Jones 87 (20.0%)

Remember that Jones was suspended for the first two games of the season when you look at these numbers. But even since his return, it has been practically an even three-way split of the snaps at the running back position, with Jones lagging slightly behind the other two backs on several occasions. Still, Jones is averaging 5.9 yards per carry so far — even better than his 5.5 from a year ago — while Williams averages 3.8 and Montgomery 4.1.

Wide Receivers

Davante Adams 412 (94.9%)
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 217 (50.0%)
Geronimo Allison 211 (48.6%)
Randall Cobb 188 (43.3%)
Equanimeous St. Brown 95 (21.9%)
J’Mon Moore 42 (9.7%)

Injuries to Allison and Cobb have opened the door for some big rookie contributions, primarily from Valdes-Scantling. The target numbers still go Adams, Allison, Cobb, and MVS in order, but the rookie has clearly demonstrated that he deserves to get more playing time even when the veterans return from injury (hopefully this week in Los Angeles). St. Brown continues to play ahead of Moore when both are active.

Tight Ends

Jimmy Graham 357 (82.3%)
Lance Kendricks 131 (30.2%)
Marcedes Lewis 79 (18.2%)
Robert Tonyan 5 (1.2%)

Graham is on pace to crush the Packers’ single-season receiving records for tight ends, as we discussed over the weekend. He sits in a comfortable second place on the team in targets and catches this season while increasing his yards-per-reception average to 12.9, back over his career average of 12.3 and well ahead of his 9.1 average a year ago. Kendricks has pitched in a handful of catches while working heavily out of the backfield as an H-back, while Lewis has struggled to find playing time as the Packers continue to prefer 11 or 21 personnel.

Offensive Linemen

David Bakhtiari 434 (100%)
Lane Taylor 434 (100%)
Corey Linsley 434 (100%)
Bryan Bulaga 381 (87.8%)
Byron Bell 231 (53.2%)
Justin McCray 193 (44.5%)
Jason Spriggs 41 (9.4%)
Lucas Patrick 22 (5.1%)
Alex Light 0

The left side of the line has been steady and unchanged this season, with Bakhtiari continuing to play at an All-Pro level. The right side has been hit with injuries, however, as Bulaga has missed a little time in a few different games with a few different ailments. McCray’s injury seemingly cost him his starting job, as Bell has stepped in as the primary right guard in his absence.

Defensive Linemen

Kenny Clark 321 (84.3%)
Mike Daniels 250 (65.6%)
Dean Lowry 184 (48.3%)
Muhammad Wilkerson 115 (30.2%)
Montravius Adams 21 (5.5%)
Tyler Lancaster 3 (0.8%)

Clark’s workload is staggeringly high for a nose tackle this season, as the third-year pro has had to help shoulder a heavier load due to Wilkerson’s season-ending ankle injury. Lowry’s snap count will continue to rise as he also picks up snaps in the base and sub-base defenses, while Daniels’ snap totals are actually up just a tick from last year, when he played just under 60% of the team’s snaps.

Outside Linebackers

Clay Matthews 273 (71.7%)
Nick Perry 216 (56.7%)
Reggie Gilbert 174 (45.7%)
Kyler Fackrell 120 (31.5%)

The four-man rotation has seemed to work out well for the most part with all four players remaining healthy so far this season. Both Matthews and Perry are on pace to eclipse last year’s snap totals, but only by a bit — they both missed a few games a year ago but perhaps a heavier rotation with the backups is helping to keep them a bit healthier. Among this group, Fackrell actually leads the way with three sacks, all coming against the Buffalo Bills, while the other three each have 1.5.

Inside Linebackers

Blake Martinez 381 (100%)
Antonio Morrison 87 (22.8%)
Oren Burks (21.3%)
Korey Toomer 12 (3.1%)
James Crawford 1 (0.3%)

Martinez continues his run as the every-down inside linebacker after taking the field for 93% of the team’s snaps a year ago. This will absolutely put him in the running to cash in next year under the NFL’s Proven Performance Escalator program, which offers bonus money to players drafted in the third round or later who play more than 35% of a team’s snaps in two of their first three years or over their first three years overall. (Lowry and Morrison are the other two third-year players currently on pace to make the cutoffs, though Morrison’s current workload would likely take him out of the running by the end of the year.)

After missing the first few games, Burks is getting into the defense gradually, but he is clearly becoming the preferred option in the base defense over Morrison — a good choice given Burks’ far superior athleticism. Morrison can have a role on this team, as he is worthy of snaps in obvious run situations, but that should be all for him on defense. The other players remain special teams-only options for now.

Safeties

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix 381 (100%)
Kentrell Brice 380 (99.7%)
Jermaine Whitehead 131 (34.4%)
Josh Jones 4 (1.0%)
Raven Greene 0

The lack of snaps for Jones remains one of the most puzzling decisions of the season so far for the Packers, particularly given Brice’s struggles after the first week or two. Clinton-Dix is playing better than last year, to be sure, and especially so in recent weeks. However, he needs to still show more consistency to really be considered for a significant contract extension this offseason.

Meanwhile, Whitehead has worked his way into the “do-everything” defensive back role that the Packers have utilized going back to the Dom Capers days. Playing largely in the slot, he has been on the field for over a third of the team’s snaps, a helpful contribution given the injuries that have hit the cornerback position.

Cornerbacks

Tramon Williams 378 (99.2%)
Josh Jackson 235 (61.7%)
Kevin King 204 (53.5%)
Jaire Alexander 199 (52.2%)
Davon House 29 (7.6%)
Tony Brown 10 (2.6%)
Bashaud Breeland 0
Deante Burton 0

Williams continues to be a stalwart on defense, missing just three snaps all year. Meanwhile, King and Alexander both have struggled to remain healthy, leaving second-round rookie Josh Jackson to help clean up the missing snaps. Thankfully, King and Alexander’s absences have not overlapped much.

Breeland was signed a few weeks back as a free agent, but was unable to get fully healthy before the bye week thanks to a hamstring injury suffered early after signing. Hopefully a week off will be a benefit for him — his veteran presence could be a big boost to this unit that continues to see players moving in and out of the lineup.