Our previous reviews of the snap counts over the last few weeks had become a little predictable: by and large, the same players had the same share of the snaps in each game. And that was a good thing. But with injuries to Justin Durant, Ronald Leary, and Tony Romo yesterday, the snap counts saw some very unwelcome variation. Overall though, snap counts were largely in line with the previous weeks
|Snap Count by Week|
The defense had eight snaps in overtime, which puts the number of snaps in regulation at 59, perfectly in line with where it's been over the previous games. The offense added four futile snaps in OT, which puts their regulation snaps at 61, the second-lowest total of the season.
On to this week's snap count review, starting with the defense.
|Cowboys' Defensive Snap counts vs Redskins
|Defensive Tackles||Defensive Ends||Linebackers||Cornerbacks||Safeties|
|T. Crawford||42||Mincey||53||R. McClain||63||Scandrick||67||Church
The Cowboys again spent most of their snaps in a nickel defense, but the big news is the season-ending injury to Justin Durant. With Durant out, Bruce Carter joined Rolando McClain in the nickel defense, and Kyle Wilber was brought in on rushing downs. Anthony Spencer got more than 30 snaps for the first time since his return, so that's good news, but the stat sheet only shows two tackles and a QB hit for Spencer.
On to the offense:
|Cowboys' Offensive Snap counts vs Redskins
Again, not many surprises here, especially for the key players. Murray was in for 66% of the snaps, the lowest percentage of the season. Ronald Leary missed the overtime snaps after suffering a groin injury. He'll undergo further tests today to determine his status.
And finally, on to special teams:
|Special Teams Aces|
Barry Church walks away with this week's ironman award, having played a total of 77 snaps, 64 on defense and 13 on special teams.
Outside of the kicking game, it's been a while since there was a significant contribution from special teams. Last night, the Cowboys had a cumulative starting field position of 214 yards, 82 yards less than the Redskins, who had a cumulative starting field position of 296 yards.
Bill Parcells used to say that a 100-yard advantage in field position, or "hidden yardage," was worth seven points (others may use the same formula, he's just the one I associate this with). Here's a look at the hidden yardage differential so far this season:
|Field Position Differential
A lot of things go into winning games, and hidden yardage is just one of them. Nevertheless, winning the hidden yardage battle doesn't hurt, and the Cowboys have been struggling with that over the last four games. The Arizona game would be a good time to see that get back on track.