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Cowboys Snap Counts vs Seahawks: Efficient Defense Beginning To Emerge

Want to know which Cowboys players were on the field for how many snaps? Look no further.

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Over six games, the Cowboys have averaged 56.3 snaps on defense per game. Do you know how many teams have averaged fewer snaps per game?

Zero. Nada. Zilch. For the fifth time in six games, the Cowboys defense played significantly fewer snaps than the offense, and that's a product of two things: The offense's ability to eat up the clock via long, sustained drives, but also the defense's new-found ability to get off the field quickly. Here's an overview of the snap counts for offense and defense over the first six games of the season:

Snap Count by Week
Titans Rams Saints Texans Seahawks
Offense 69 80 56 66 76 75
Defense 58 49 76 61 59 49

The Cowboys defense allowed just nine first downs all game, a key factor in getting off the field quickly. And that's something the Cowboys have really excelled at recently. After the Saints game, the Cowboys were ranked 11th with 19.5 first downs allowed per game, after the Texans game they moved up to 5th with 18.6 first downs allowed per game, today they rank 2nd in the NFL 17.0 first downs allowed per game.

After six games, it's probably fair to say that this is more than a fluke.

On to this week's snap count review, starting with the defense.

Cowboys' Defensive Snap counts vs Seahawks
Defensive Tackles Defensive Ends Linebackers Cornerbacks Safeties
Player Snaps Player Snaps Player Snaps Player Snaps Player Snaps
T. Crawford 37 Mincey 42 Durant 49 Scandrick 49 Wilcox 46
Hayden 27 Spencer 29 R. McClain
43 Carr 49 Church 41
Melton 24 Selvie 22 Wilber 13 Moore 34 Heath
T. McClain 10 Edwards 5 Hitchens 4 Patmon 3

Wilcox: one snap as the deep cover back on the final kneel down

If you've been following our weekly snap count reviews, this table may look fairly familiar. And that's because it's almost an exact copy of last week's table, with very little change in the top two rows. Anthony Spencer moves up ahead of George Selvie, but that's it.

It gets a little more interesting in the next two rows. Kyle Wilber gets more snaps than Anthony Hitchens this week, reversing their roles from last week. Somebody will come along with a brilliant explanation for that; for now, I have none. Lavar Edwards gets the nod ahead of Jack Crawford at DE, Tyler Patmon gets some NFL snaps, and Jeff Heath sees a little more action than in previous weeks.

Good to see Rolando McClain taking so many snaps alongside Justin Durant. That groin seems to be a-okay.

On to the offense:

Cowboys' Offensive Snap counts vs Seahawks
Player Snaps Player Snaps Player Snaps Player Snaps Player Snaps
Romo 75
Smith 75 Murray 53 Witten 75 Bryant 66

Leary 75 Clutts
14 Escobar 24 Williams 51

Frederick 75 Dunbar 13 Hanna 15 Beasley 30

Martin 75 Randle 9
Harris 12

Free 70

Street 12


Not many surprises here, this snap distribution follows what we've seen from the Cowboys over the course of the season so far. Murray was only in for 71% of the total snaps, his second lowest percentage of the season after 70% against the Titans, but quite a bit behind the 88% saw against the 49ers and the Saints.

Gavin Escobar caught one pass for a TD, and while one reception might seem low, we may have to accept that in a run-first offense that's only passed for more than 300 yards once in six games, there simply won't be many balls to go around.

Doug Free's injury doesn't appear too serious, according to Jerry Jones, and Free was back on the field for the final snap in the victory formation. And as much as we'd like to see Free back in full action next week, it was also good to see that Jermey Parnell subbed in seamlessly on five snaps, even delivering a pancake block on DeMarco Murray's 15-yard touchdown run.

And finally, to round things off, special teams:

Special Teams Aces
Player Snaps Player Snaps
Wilber 25 Harris 20
Heath 22 Dunbar 15
Spillman 20 Wilcox 15
Hanna 20 T. McClain 15

This week's ironman award goes to Jason Witten and the offensive linemen (excluding Doug Free), who all played 75 snaps on offense and added six snaps on special teams for 81 total snaps.

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