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Lions Week 16 snap counts: Injuries create opportunities

The Detroit Lions were blown out by the Minnesota Vikings, 27-9 on Sunday. Let’s take a look at the Lions’ snap counts and how injuries have created opportunities for younger players on the roster.

Matthew Stafford 60 80%
Matt Cassel 15 20%

In his first game action since Week 1, Cassel took the field late in the fourth quarter and played exactly like we remembered him playing. He was 5 of 11 for 45 yards passing.

Theo Riddick 33 44%
Zach Zenner 27 36% 19 56%
LeGarrette Blount 22 29%
Nick Bellore 6 8% 20 69%

The Lions had 75 offensive plays and utilized a sixth offensive lineman 21 times on Sunday. On Blount’s 15 opportunities (11 rushes and four passing targets), 14 of them had an extra offensive lineman on the field. Blount plus extra offensive lineman equals Blount getting the ball.

As I noted in my Naughty and Nice list, despite the extra help blocking up front, Blount averaged 2.6 yards per carry and had two receptions for minus-5 yards.

Not to be outdone, Riddick led the backfield in snaps, yet only managed minus-2 yards on three carries and four receptions for 7 yards (1.8 yards per catch).

Meanwhile, Zenner received a third of the backfield snaps and produced 45 yards on eight carries (5.6 yards per carry) and two receptions for 22 yards (11 yards per catch).

There is a stark contrast in backfield production between these three players.

Wide receiver

Andy Jones 62 83% 14 48%
Kenny Golladay 58 77%
TJ Jones 52 69%
Brandon Powell 15 20% 11 38%

Nursing a chest injury, Golladay saw a dip in his average opportunities and was likely the catalyst for an increased opportunity for Andy Jones who saw career-high snaps.

TJ Jones snaps have stayed relatively consistent since the departure of Golden Tate and Powell continues to be somewhat of an afterthought in this offense.

Golladay also had one snap on defense — the final play of the first half that most Lions fans will want to forget.

Tight end

Levine Toilolo 46 61% 7 24%
Jerome Cunningham 20 27% 3 10%
Luke Willson 13 17% 4 14%

Willson went down early with an injury, opening up an opportunity for Cunningham, although he was only targeted once. As mentioned in the running backs section, the Lions also offset this situation by utilizing a sixth offensive lineman 21 times — one more time than Cunningham saw the field.

Taylor Decker 75 100%
Graham Glasgow 75 100% 3 10%
Kenny Wiggins 75 100% 3 10%
Rick Wagner 75 100% 3 10%
Frank Ragnow 74 99% 3 10%
Joe Dahl 14 19% 3 10%
Tyrell Crosby 8 11% 3 10%

Of the 21 times the Lions deployed a sixth offensive lineman, eight went to Crosby and 13 to Dahl. Dahl’s other snap was at guard, filling in for Ragnow after he took a snap off for an equipment repair — the entire sole of his shoe came off.

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