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Cowboys’ offensive snap counts: 2017 year-end totals

Who played this year on the Cowboys’ offense?

NFL: New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Here are the year-end totals of snaps counts for the Dalals Cowboys 2017 offense.

Passing Game

This year we looked at the production of the wide receivers and tight ends on a per-snap basis. You can compare to the totals from 2016. This is a very long table.

Player Game Snaps Targets Catches Percent Yards TDs Yds/Snaps 2016 Snaps 2016 Yds 2016 Y/S
Dez Bryant NYG 67 9 2 22% 43 0 0.64
At DEN 66 16 7 44% 59 1 0.89
At AZ 41 2 2 100% 12 1 0.29
LAR 58 13 5 38% 98 0 1.69
GB 64 8 5 63% 52 1 0.81
At SF 54 10 7 70% 63 1 1.17
At WASH 60 6 4 67% 39 0 0.65
KC 46 11 6 55% 73 0 1.59
At ATL 52 8 4 50% 39 0 0.75
PHI 54 14 8 57% 63 0 1.17
LAC 49 5 3 60% 37 0 0.76
WASH 57 7 5 71% 61 1 1.07
At NYG 49 5 3 60% 73 1 1.49
At OAK 58 4 2 50% 59 0 1.02
SEA 62 6 3 50% 43 0 0.69
At PHI 54 8 3 38% 24 0 0.44
Total 891 132 69 52% 838 6 0.94 688 796 1.16
Terrance Williams NYG 38 7 6 86% 68 0 1.79
At DEN 49 5 4 80% 17 0 0.35
At AZ 33 4 3 75% 47 0 1.42
LAR 47 6 4 67% 34 0 0.72
GB 55 3 2 67% 14 0 0.25
At SF 41 3 0 0% 0 0 0.00
At WASH 41 3 2 67% 36 0 0.88
KC 55 9 9 100% 141 0 2.56
At ATL 45 4 1 25% 9 0 0.20
PHI 40 7 4 57% 35 0 0.88
LAC 32 5 4 80% 54 0 1.69
WASH 47 3 2 67% 21 0 0.45
At NYG 35 6 3 50% 25 0 0.71
At OAK 41 5 3 60% 19 0 0.46
SEA 58 4 4 100% 43 0 0.74
At PHI 34 4 2 50% 5 0 0.15
Total 691 78 53 68% 568 0 0.82 746 594 0.80
Cole Beasley NYG 52 5 3 60% 32 0 0.62
At DEN 57 8 4 50% 33 0 0.58
At AZ 25 1 1 100% 4 0 0.16
LAR 31 6 3 50% 17 0 0.55
GB 37 6 4 67% 23 2 0.62
At SF 34 2 1 50% 24 0 0.71
At WASH 27 3 2 67% 8 0 0.30
KC 45 6 4 67% 24 2 0.53
At ATL 40 3 2 67% 23 0 0.58
PHI 32 4 2 50% 7 0 0.22
LAC 42 3 2 67% 19 0 0.45
WASH 38 3 2 67% 14 0 0.37
At NYG 29 5 3 60% 59 0 2.03
At OAK 41 5 1 20% 15 0 0.37
SEA 44 3 2 67% 12 0 0.27
Total 574 63 36 57% 314 4 0.55 603 833 1.38
Brice Butler NYG 35 3 1 33% 30 0 0.86
At DEN 22 2 1 50% 18 0 0.82
At AZ 7 2 2 100% 90 1 12.86
LAR 22 2 2 100% 12 1 0.55
GB 22 2 2 100% 57 0 2.59
At SF 23 0 0 0% 0 0 0.00
At WASH 18 1 0 0% 0 0 0.00
KC 27 3 1 33% 6 0 0.22
At ATL 22 1 1 100% 30 0 1.36
PHI 18 2 2 100% 19 0 1.06
LAC 16 2 1 50% 5 0 0.31
WASH 12 1 0 0% 0 0 0.00
At PHI 19 2 2 100% 50 1 2.63
Total 263 23 15 65% 317 3 1.21 429 219 0.51
Ryan Switzer At SF 11 1 1 100% 2 0 0.18
At WASH 12 1 1 100% 7 0 0.58
At PHI 26 5 4 80% 32 0 1.23
Total 49 7 6 86% 41 0 0.84 NA NA NA
Noah Brown At AZ 8 1 1 100% 13 0 1.63
PHI 9 1 1 100% 14 0 1.56
WASH 16 1 1 100% -2 0 -0.13
At NYG 24 2 0 0% 0 0 0.00
At OAK 18 1 1 100% 8 0 0.44
SEA 11 2 0 0% 0 0 0.00
At PHI 22 1 0 0% 0 0 0.00
Total 108 9 4 44% 33 0 0.31 NA NA NA
Jason Witten NYG 74 9 7 78% 59 1 0.80
At Den 71 13 10 77% 97 1 1.37
At AZ 47 4 1 25% 3 0 0.06
LAR 71 2 1 50% 9 0 0.13
GB 73 10 8 80% 61 0 0.84
At SF 63 4 4 100% 54 1 0.86
At WASH 68 5 3 60% 31 0 0.46
KC 66 1 1 100% 5 0 0.08
At ATL 62 7 7 100% 59 0 0.95
PHI 60 1 1 100% 7 0 0.12
LAC 55 7 7 100% 43 0 0.78
WASH 68 5 1 20% 8 1 0.12
At NYG 63 2 1 50% 20 1 0.32
At OAK 65 5 4 80% 47 0 0.72
SEA 74 9 5 56% 39 0 0.53
At PHI 68 3 2 67% 17 0 0.25
Total 1048 87 63 72% 559 5 0.53 1017 673 0.66

What you can see from this is that only Brice Butler improved from 2016 in yards per snap. He was also the only one with more than a yard per snap, at 1.21.

Dez Bryant fell off from 1.16 yards per snap to .94 yards per snap, even as his overall yards increased. But he also caught an inefficient 52% of his targets. The Cowboys somehow need to make significant adjustments here.

The guy who really fell off the cliff was Cole Beasley, and with his decline, the overall passing game really suffered. He was highly efficient in 2016, but was not even passable in 2017, with only .55 yards per snap. In 2016, that number was 1.38. His catch percentage also declined significantly. Most attributed the drop to double teaming. If that’s true, the Cowboys need to make adjustments so Beasley can’t easily be doubled.

Terrance Williams’ production was similar in yards per snap, but was down in overall yards. And he didn’t catch a single touchdown.

Noah Brown was nearly worthless as a receiver, while Ryan Switzer was essentially used for only one game - the last one in Philly when Cole Beasley was rested.

Jason Witten’s production also declined again. Dallas needs to use 2018 to transition to another tight end sharing the snaps, if not starting to take over if he proves more productive. Rico Gathers needs to be that guy. If he fails, the Cowboys will need to draft someone the following season.

Offensive Line

Here are the numbers.

Player Pos Age Games Gm1 Gm2 Gm3 Gm4 Gm5 Gm6 Gm7 Gm8 Gm9 Gm10 Gm11 Gm12 Gm13 Gm14 Gm15 Gm16 Total Season Percent
Travis Frederick C 26 16 74 71 47 71 74 75 68 67 63 63 55 68 63 65 74 68 1066 1066 100%
La'el Collins T 24 16 74 71 47 71 74 75 68 67 63 63 55 68 63 65 74 68 1066 1066 100%
Zack Martin G 27 16 74 71 47 71 74 63 68 67 63 63 20 68 63 65 74 68 1019 1066 96%
Jonathan Cooper G 27 13 71 74 75 68 67 63 63 55 68 63 65 74 30 836 1066 78%
Tyron Smith T 27 13 74 71 47 71 74 63 68 61 55 68 63 41 3 759 1066 71%
Chaz Green G/T 25 6 74 71 47 12 6 46 256 1066 24%
Byron Bell T 28 4 17 63 71 68 219 1066 21%
Joe Looney C 27 6 2 12 1 36 3 38 92 1066 9%

The story here is how the injuries to Tyron Smith, and the total failure of his backups, really hurt Dallas’s season. Bob Sturm’s end-of-season Decoding Linehan article needs to be read to show how much of a difference the loss of Tyron Smith (and Ezekiel Elliott) made for the Cowboys’ offense. (Smith made the Pro Bowl despite playing in only 71% of the snaps.)

Travis Frederick and La’el Collins played 100% of the snaps. Collins kept going despite his own back issues near the end of the season. Frederick was voted to the Pro Bowl again. Zack Martin played 96% of the snaps, and got voted All-Pro again.

Jonathan Cooper was probably the best free-agent signing of last offseason. He would have played more than 78% of the snaps had the coaches realized he was much better than Chaz Green at guard and started him earlier in the season.

Chaz Green and Byron Bell got most of the work backing up Smith, but they were awful. Bell got three holding calls in the final game. Green had one of the worst days as an offensive lineman in Cowboys’ history in the Atlanta game, nearly getting Dak Prescott killed. Neither should be back next year.

The only backup who played well was Joe Looney, who is a free agent but might be worthwhile to re-sign for a couple more years.

Quarterback

Player Pos Age Games Gm1 Gm2 Gm3 Gm4 Gm5 Gm6 Gm7 Gm8 Gm9 Gm10 Gm11 Gm12 Gm13 Gm14 Gm15 Gm16 Total Season Percent
Dak Prescott QB 24 16 74 71 47 71 74 63 68 67 63 60 55 68 63 65 74 68 1051 1066 99%
Cooper Rush QB 23 2 12 3 15 1066 1%

The one thing about Dak everyone can agree on - he was was durable. He took some nasty hits without Smith in the game, and hurt his hand in one game. But he only missed 15 snaps on the year, and those came in garbage time.

Running Backs

Player Pos Age Games Gm1 Gm2 Gm3 Gm4 Gm5 Gm6 Gm7 Gm8 Gm9 Gm10 Gm11 Gm12 Gm13 Gm14 Gm15 Gm16 Total Season Percent
Ezekiel Elliott RB 22 10 60 63 43 64 64 50 58 62 66 59 589 1066 55%
Rod Smith RB 23 15 2 4 3 1 3 13 3 1 39 31 34 27 29 35 7 232 1066 22%
Alfred Morris RB 29 14 8 1 3 5 9 6 1 21 24 20 36 33 27 8 202 1066 19%
Keith Smith FB 25 15 2 2 5 7 13 13 11 1 6 1 3 7 9 10 15 13 118 1066 11%
Darren McFadden RB 30 1 1 1 1066 0%

Ezekiel Elliott’s six-game suspension was the issue here. In his place, Alfred Morris and Rod Smith did a decent job, and Smith will likely be back to be Zeke’s primary backup next year.

Wide Receivers

Player Pos Age Games Gm1 Gm2 Gm3 Gm4 Gm5 Gm6 Gm7 Gm8 Gm9 Gm10 Gm11 Gm12 Gm13 Gm14 Gm15 Gm16 Total Season Percent
Dez Bryant WR 29 16 67 66 41 58 66 54 60 46 52 54 49 57 49 58 62 54 893 1066 84%
Terrance Williams WR 28 16 38 49 33 47 55 41 41 55 45 40 32 47 35 41 58 34 691 1066 65%
Cole Beasley WR 28 15 52 57 25 31 37 34 27 45 40 32 42 38 29 41 44 574 1066 54%
Brice Butler WR 27 13 35 22 7 22 22 23 18 27 22 18 16 12 19 263 1066 25%
Noah Brown WR 21 13 5 8 7 19 5 8 9 7 16 24 18 11 22 159 1066 15%
Ryan Switzer WR 22 14 2 6 2 8 3 11 12 6 4 2 2 4 3 26 91 1066 9%

This group declined significantly this year, and their most productive receiver per snap - Brice Butler - is a free agent. The Cowboys are going to have to figure this group out and get things fixed.

Tight Ends

Player Pos Age Games Gm1 Gm2 Gm3 Gm4 Gm5 Gm6 Gm7 GM8 Gm9 Gm10 Gm11 Gm12 Gm13 Gm14 Gm15 Gm16 Total Season Percent
Jason Witten TE 35 16 74 71 47 71 73 63 68 66 62 60 55 68 63 65 74 68 1048 1066 98%
James Hanna TE 28 16 21 9 14 30 20 23 14 10 10 32 7 19 20 12 10 24 275 1066 26%
Geoff Swaim TE 24 15 9 0 7 4 9 22 17 10 10 7 10 22 12 20 13 172 1066 16%
Blake Jarwin TE 23 1 3 3 1066 0%

Jason Witten played way too many snaps again. His production no longer warrants this. The coaches are going to have to sit him next year, assuming he comes back, which won’t be an easy task. Rico Gathers is likely to be much more explosive.