One of the key roster questions heading into yesterday's game against the Chiefs centered on Brian Waters: Will he play, won't he play? If he plays, how much will he play?
So let's get that out of the way quickly: Brian Waters played on four series and got 18 of the 64 offensive snaps at right guard. Mackenzie Bernadeau had the remaining 46 snaps. But Waters' snapcount isn't the only one worth looking at. Today we’re going to review the all the snapcounts from Sunday’s game to get a better feel for what is happening all over the roster.
But before you look at the snap count distribution a little further down this post, try to answer the three questions below. You may be surprised by the answers:
- Which two players do you think had the most total snaps in the game? (Hint: when the pictures at the top of our articles are not gratuitous cheerleader shots, they are often relevant to the content of the post below them)
- One offensive player was only on the field for one offensive snap - and not in a position you'd normally expect him to play. Did you notice him?
- Did Anthony Spencer play more than half or less than half of the defensive snaps on Sunday?
Check out the snap distributions below, and let us know what your reactions are in the comments section. We'll get started with the offense:
|Cowboys' Offensive Snapcounts vs Chiefs
O-line: Did you see Phil Costa in the game yesterday? I certainly didn't. But he did get one snap in the second drive of the first quarter, though not as an offensive lineman. The screenshot below shows Costa trying to lead DeMarco Murray on a 2nd-and-1 on the Kansas City one-yard line. The play didn't work as planned and Murray lost a yard on the run.
Twitter user @ToddHebert pointed out to me that this isn't the first time Costa lined up at fullback: Costa apparently also lined up at fullback vs the Giants once, but Romo called a timeout and the Cowboys changed the the play.
Running Back: Remember when the Cowboys had a running-back-by-committee approach? Those were the days. Today, Murray is hogging the snaps, and Lance Dunbar didn't help his case for more playing time with the fumble. But you've got to wonder whether having Murray out there virtually all the time running head-first into walls of linemen is good for his continued health.
3rd Wide Receiver: Terrance Williams still has the edge over Dwayne Harris, but Harris is up to 11 snaps from four last week, while Williams is down to 26 from the 36 snaps he had against the Giants. Notably absent for the second straight game, and not even on the active list: Cole Beasley
Tight Ends: Hanna had a slight edge last week with 29 snaps to Escobar's 21, yesterday they were dead even with 22 snaps each.
On to the defense:
|Cowboys' Defensive Snapcounts vs Chiefs
|Defensive Tackles||Defensive Ends||Linebackers||Cornerbacks||Safeties|
What stands out the most here is that while the Cowboys had a moderate rotation going along the defensive line, there was none of that in the back seven. Claiborne came in for Durant in nickel packages; everybody else (Lee, Carter, Carr, Scandrick, Church, and Allen) played every single snap.
Remarkably, Nick Hayden played almost all snaps at 1-technique, leaving the field for only seven snaps. Not bad for a guy the Cowboys brought in off the street. Spencer appeared to be still quite rusty at times, but physically he seems fine, as his 34 snaps can attest. Those 34 snaps mean he played slightly over half of all 67 defensive snaps.
And finally, special teams:
|Special Teams Aces||Starters playing Special Teams
The table lists the snapcounts for the special teams aces with the most special teams snaps - as well as the starters who also saw special teams action. What the table doesn't show - and this is perhaps the most remarkable takeaway from this post - is that 35 players in total saw special teams snaps.
Every single defense player except DTs Long and Cohen saw special teams action - and that includes DeMarcus Ware, Morris Claiborne (3), and even Anthony Spencer (2).
On offense, the team wisely sat Romo, who was joined by the four skill guys (Bryant, Austin, Williams and Murray) as well as Leary, Frederick and Bernadeau. Everybody else was in on special teams.
Brandon Carr and Orlando Scandrick played 78 total snaps each, the most of all Cowboys players. This is particularly surprising in Scandricks's case, because somewhere between playing all those snaps, Scandrick found the time to get some stitches for a gash on his chin. Scandrick sustained the injury not while he blocked a kick at the end of the second quarter, but while celebrating the block - when he and Will Allen ran into each other.