The Arizona Cardinals defense was on the field for 68 snaps last Thursday in their 23-20 Week 14 win over the Minnesota Vikings. The usual suspects were the players never to leave the field, but we did see a little bit of a couple of players who have not gotten much work on defense this year -- linebackers Sean Weatherspoon and Alani Fua.
Here are the numbers for the defensive snap counts from Thursday.
Defensive backs: Justin Bethel, 68; Patrick Peterson, 68; Rashad Johnson, 68; Tyrann Mathieu, 68; Deone Bucannon, 68; Tony Jefferson, 42; Corey White, 5
Nothing new here. White has assumed the role Bethel had when Powers was healthy, playing as the seventh DB in their speed coverage sets. Bucannon we probably need to stop considering a safety. Even in Madden he is listed as teh starting linebacker (it took 3/4 of the season to get it that way). I thought perhaps we would see some of D.J. Swearinger to limit Jefferson's snaps, but he was apparently healthy enough to take his full load.
Linebackers: Kevin Minter, 51; Alex Okafor, 46; Markus Golden, 45; Dwight Freeney, 22; Sean Weatherspoon, 13; alani Fua, 5; Kareen Martin, 3
Minter is no longer a 'never leave the field' guy. Weatherspoon is beginning to creep into the rotation. There were a few less outside linebacker snaps than normal, as the Cardinals used a lot of dime sets with three down linemen -- Josh Mauro playing as a DT/OLB all at once. They used that set in dime sets for run support. It is their "big nickel". Fua got some snaps at OLB as well. He was paired with Dwight Freeney off the edge in their speed sets with seven defensive backs (including Bucannon).
Defensive line: Calais Campbell, 59; Ed Stinson, 44; Josh Mauro, 20; Red Bryant, 19; Rodney Gunter, 16; Xavier Williams, 10; Cory Redding, 9
Gunter continues to see his snaps low, but that appears to be because Williams is getting playing time. In base sets, the two rookies are splitting time at NT, much like Dan Williams and Alameda Ta'amu did in 2013. Bryant got more work than last week.