Falcons vs. Cardinals: Offensive and defensive snap counts, observations

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Who got time on the field last Sunday?

It is a couple of days later than I would have liked to have done this (lots of things are going that way right now), but here are the playing time breakdowns from Sunday's game between the Arizona Cardinals and Atlanta Falcons.

Offensive snap counts

Arizona ran only 51 offensive plays, compared to Atlanta's 79. However, there were, according to the league, 54 offensive snaps.

Carson Palmer and almost all the starting offensive line got all 54 snaps. The lone starting lineman not to was right tackle Eric Winston, who split time with Bobby Massie. Winston saw 33 snaps, while Massie got the other 21. Nate Potter, who was used as a tackle eligible, came in for six plays.

For the running backs, Andre Ellington led the way with 33 snaps (17 touches), followed by Stepfan Taylor with 19 (14 touches) and Alfonso Smith with four snaps (no touches).

Among the receivers, Larry Fitzgerald did not see the most snaps. Michael Floyd had 53, Fitz had 49, Andre Roberts 22, Teddy Williams three, Jaron Brown two and Patrick Peterson was on offense for one snap (when he had a 13-yard reception).

At tight end, Jim Dray once again saw the most work. Rob Housler seemed to not play at all in the first half. Dray got 42 snaps, while Houlser got 26 and rookie D.C. Jefferson got 10 snaps in.

Observations:

There was one pregame observation and that was with Kory Sperry being inactive. Jefferson had been inactive for many weeks. Jefferson either has passed up Sperry, or Bruce Arians is simply giving the young players a chance to make an impact. Since the tight end position has really given the team nothing, putting Jefferson in over Sperry was not going to hurt anything.

The split time between Winston and Massie at right tackle is interesting. Winston has not been great by any means, but the reason for Massie getting on the field is weird to me. It is a right tackle rotation, a position where you don't typically run guys in and out of. It is almost like the preseason where you are doing open competition. However, Massie has not been told (or is not saying) that is the reason for the playing time. The coaching staff has said they want to see him continue to get work, but won't commit to his being active every week.

Defensive snap counts

There were 83 defensive snaps -- a lot!

There were four iron men, as is almost always the case. Safety Yeremiah Bell, cornerback Patrick Peterson and linebackers Daryl Washington and Karlos Dansby never left the field. They usually don't.

The defensive backfield did not change much. Bell and Peterson played every snap. Tyrann Mathieu played 82 of 83. Jerraud Powers was on the field for 81. After that, Rashad Johnson got 52 snaps and Javier Arenas got 12 snaps.

At linebacker, the rotating was obviously off the edge. John Abraham played 53 snaps, Matt Shaughnessy 44, Marcus Benard 36, Dontay Moch 19 and Jasper Brinkley one.

On the defensive line, Calais Campbell led the way with 70 snaps, followed by Darnell Dockett with 67. After that, Frostee Rucker got 29 snaps, Alameda Ta'amu got 19 and Dan Williams played 18 snaps.

Observations:

The biggest change we saw was that Mathieu started the game. He and Johnson switched roles. Johnson came in for nickel packages, but he still went to safety while Mathieu slid down into the slot, where the team loves having him play.

I am beginning to wonder if Dansby or Washington will ever leave the field. Their play is why Kevin Minter can't even sniff playing time on the defensive unit.

Benard is getting more playing time. Moch played, which was surprising. He was inactive last week and there were a couple of interesting things said during the week of practice. Arians said the Moch wouldn't be ready this past weekend, but he played. Moch himself said that he was fine, he wasn't on any injury report and he said that reporters had to talk to the coach about why he didn't play.

Outside of that, I am interested in seeing the team's depth chart updated. Will Mathieu stay the starter at free safety? Is Ta'amu now the primary nose tackle?

These will be answered in the weeks to come, for sure.

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