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D.J. Swearinger gets significant playing time in Cardinals debut on defense

A look at the defensive snaps for the Cardinals in Week 15.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals played 64 defensive snaps on Sunday night against the Philadelphia Eagles. With no Rashad Johnson, things were shifted around in the secondary. It means a full-time load for Tony Jefferson, who played every snap, and significant playing time for D.J. Swearinger, signed off the streets just a couple of weeks ago.

Let's see how the defensive snap counts played out.

Defensive backs: Tony Jefferson, 64; Tyrann Mathieu, 64; Patrick Peterson, 64; Deone Bucannon, 64; Jerraud Powers, 54; D.J. Swearinger, 52; Justin Bethel, 10

Mathieu didn't miss any playing time because he was hurt on the last defensive play of the game. Powers left the game a little early. He was returning from an injury, so Bethel got some looks late in the game. Swearinger took over the role Jefferson had before, coming in as the nickel safety, as Mathieu slides down to slot corner. It was his firts action on defense since being signed. He played six special teams snaps against the Vikings. The Cardinals played a lot of nickel on Sunday.

Linebackers: Kevin Minter, 54; Alex Okafor, 47; Markus Golden, 35; Dwight Freeney, 20; Sean Weatherspoon, 10

Of course, Bucannon actually should be listed here, but we still classify him as a safety, so there's that. Weatherspoon has clearly earned himself a limited role in some nickel packages.

Defensive line: Calais Campbell, 51; Frostee Rucker, 33; Ed Stinson, 28; Josh Mauro, 26; Rodney Gunter, 15; Red Bryant, 13

Gunter's limited number of snaps is more evidence the Cardinals did not use much of their base defense. They used a lot of big nickel, where they have six DBs (including Bucannon) and three down linemen with one edge rusher. Mauro is the third down lineman. In regular nickel, they go with two down linemen and two edge pass rushers.