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Cowboys’ defensive snap counts: DeMarcus Lawrence was the only Cowboy who came to play defense in loss to Broncos

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Who played, and who produced, for the Dallas Cowboys defense? In our weekly look at the snap counts, we’ll evaluate whether Dallas is using it’s players well, and how well each of them is producing.

Dallas Cowboys v Denver Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

This was not a good game by the Dallas defense, which they lost to Denver 42-17.

Defensive Overview

In a sharp contrast to the first game, when Dallas held the inept Giants offense to three points and 233 net yards, most of which came with the game out of reach in the second half, Dallas got pummeled by Denver for 380 yards. Trevor Semian was 22 of 32 for 231 yards and four touchdowns, with a 116 quarterback rating. On the ground, Denver rushed 39 times for 178 yards, at a 4.6 yard per carry clip. Denver also won the time of possession 33:50 to 26:10. The Denver offense looked almost exactly like the Dallas Cowboy offense of 2016.

Since New York also did nothing on offense Monday night against Detroit, it appears the Dallas defense was helped a lot by its first opponent and has much work to do.

Dallas was a bit undermanned, but this cannot excuse or explain the poor play. Let’s look at the snaps.

Defensive Line

Who played on the defensive line?

Player Pos Age Games Gm1 Gm2 Total Season Percent
Maliek Collins DT 22 2 50 48 98 133 74%
Stephen Paea DT 29 2 39 46 85 133 64%
DeMarcus Lawrence DE 25 2 34 45 79 133 59%
Benson Mayowa DE 26 2 29 40 69 133 52%
Tyrone Crawford DE 28 2 23 37 60 133 45%
Taco Charlton DE 23 2 26 33 59 133 44%
Brian Price DT 23 2 10 33 43 133 32%
Charles Tapper DE 24 2 11 25 36 133 27%

The pecking order matched the first game pretty closely, but Tyrone Crawford moved up a slot ahead of Taco Charlton, and Brian Price overtook Charles Tapper. Both of the latter got more plays than the first week. DeMarcus Lawrence was one of the few impact players, with two sacks, one of which forced a fumble that Dallas recovered on the Denver three-yard line and led to one of Dallas’s two touchdowns.

Here are the production numbers:

  • DeMarcus Lawrence, 5 solo tackles and 2 assists, 2 sacks for 29 yards, a tackle for loss, a quarterback hit, and a forced fumble.
  • Benson Mayowa, two solo tackles and two assists
  • Brian Price, three tackles
  • Stephen Paea, one tackle, and one tackle for loss
  • Taco Charlton, one tackle, and one tackle for loss
  • Charles Tapper, one tackle
  • Maliek Collins, one tackle assist, one quarterback hit, and a fumble recovery
  • Tyrone Crawford, one tackle assist

Pro Football Focus loved DeMarcus Lawrence’s game, giving him a 93.7 overall grade. They liked Maliek Collins second, giving him an 82.5 grade, Tyrone Crawford at 80.7, and Taco Charlton at 76.5.

Unfortunately, Lawrence is set to become a free agent after this season. Is Dallas going to get a pass rush from the rest of these guys? This week, Damontre Moore returns to see if he can provide any more juice.

The other thing of note is Brian Price showing up on the stat sheet with three tackles, as he’s the newest member of the line.

Linebackers

Here are the numbers.

Player Pos Age Games Gm1 Gm2 Total Season Percent
Sean Lee LB 31 2 56 77 133 133 100%
Jaylon Smith LB 22 2 36 68 104 133 78%
Damien Wilson LB 24 2 17 23 40 133 30%
Justin Durant LB 32 2 2 1 3 133 2%
Kyle Wilber LB 28 1 0 3 3 133 2%

Naturally, Sean Lee is playing 100% of the snaps. But did anyone pay attention during the game that Jaylon Smith was in on 68 of 77 snaps? That’s a higher percentage than he played week 1, and it completely shut out Justin Durant again. Of course, Lee wasn’t satisfied.

Here are the tackling numbers.

  • Jaylon Smith, 3 tackles and 7 assists.
  • Sean Lee, 8 tackles and 1 assist, and 1 tackle for loss
  • Damien Wilson, 2 tackle assists
  • Kyle Wilber, 1 tackle (in 3 snaps)

Secondary

The Cowboys had a lot of turnover from the Giants game to this one. Orlando Scandrick was ruled out after the surgery to his broken hand. He’s expected back next week against Arizona. Chidobe Awuzie was expected to hold down one outside cornerback spot, but left after five plays with hamstring issues. Nolan Carroll made it through 25 plays before leaving under the concussion protocol (after being hit by Jeff Heath). To replace them, Jourdan Lewis, who didn’t play in pre-season or the first game, had to play 65 snaps on the outside. Xavier Woods, who got no snaps in game one, then had to play the slot. Kavon Frazier played fewer snaps than the first game.

Here were the snaps.

Player Pos Age Games Gm1 Gm2 Total Season Percent
Jeff Heath S 26 2 56 77 133 133 100%
Byron Jones S 25 2 56 76 132 133 99%
Anthony Brown CB 24 2 50 77 127 133 95%
Nolan Carroll CB 30 2 56 25 81 133 61%
Jourdan Lewis CB 22 1 0 65 65 133 49%
Chidobe Awuzie CB 22 2 38 5 43 133 32%
Xavier Woods S 22 1 0 34 34 133 26%
Kavon Frazier S 23 2 18 10 28 133 21%
Orlando Scandrick CB 30 1 9 0 9 133 7%

What about production?

  • Anthony Brown had 7 tackles, and a pass defensed
  • Jourdan Lewis had 6 tackles, and an interception that he returned 25 yards. It helped set up Dallas’ second touchdown.
  • Kavon Frazier had 3 tackles (in 10 snaps)
  • Jeff Heath had 2 tackles and 1 assist, and a pass defensed
  • Byron Jones had 2 tackles

Brown may have made a lot of tackles, but Pro Football Focus didn’t like his game at all, giving him a 38.3 grade.

As good as the Dallas defensive front was in places, the secondary was lit up, and Brown coughed up six receptions on the ten passes thrown into his coverage, but he wasn’t the only member to suffer. Nolan Carroll gave up a catch every time he was targeted, and even Jourdan Lewis, who notched a pick on a miscommunication, also gave up a touchdown and 75 percent catch rate.

It was not a good game for Dallas’s secondary. The team has to hope the new players have a quick learning curve.

Special Teams

We don’t care about who blocks for field goals, who snaps, and who kicks and punts, since these are constants. We just want to know who has the most snaps on the kick off and punt special teams units.

Here are the snaps.

Player Pos Games Gm1 Gm2 Total Season Percent
Kyle Wilber LB 2 19 27 46 54 85%
Damien Wilson LB 2 19 27 46 54 85%
Kavon Frazier S 2 18 19 37 54 69%
Jeff Heath S 2 17 20 37 54 69%
Rod Smith RB 2 17 19 36 54 67%
Xavier Woods S 2 13 17 30 54 56%
Geoff Swaim TE 2 12 15 27 54 50%
Anthony Brown CB 2 11 15 26 54 48%
Byron Jones S 2 14 12 26 54 48%
Keith Smith FB 2 6 19 25 54 46%
James Hanna TE 2 6 16 22 54 41%
Ryan Switzer WR 2 8 10 18 54 33%
Nolan Carroll CB 2 13 2 15 54 28%
Chidobe Awuzie CB 2 13 2 15 54 28%
Noah Brown WR 1 0 11 11 54 20%
Sean Lee LB 2 1 8 9 54 17%
Jourdan Lewis CB 1 0 8 8 54 15%

Impact plays? Here is the production.

  • Dan Bailey kicked a 56-yard field goal
  • Chris Jones punted five times for an average of 49.8 yards, with two inside the 20
  • Ryan Switzer finally returned a punt for 19 yards
  • Jeff Heath had two special teams tackles, one that caused a fumble
  • Kyle Wilber and Rod Smith had one tackle each
  • No Cowboy returned a kick off
  • Punt coverage was okay, with one return of two going for 20 yards.
  • Denver’s one kickoff return was 25 yards.
  • Noah Brown and Jourdan Lewis made their debuts on special teams

2016 Defensive Snap Counts

Defensive snaps, game one - New York Giants