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Colts snap counts vs. Jaguars: Week 1

Indianapolis Colts v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

The Indianapolis Colts took a conservative approach to roster utilization to start the 2020 NFL season after an abbreviated offseason. Proven NFL veterans saw the heaviest share of the load while those who had less experience or not a part of the base units were often sitting on the sideline.

Given the state of the offseason, this isn’t a particularly surprising approach. With the outcome of the game as a backdrop, the decision creates some questions about the team’s confidence in its new players.


OFFENSE

It comes as no surprise that the starting offensive line played every snap together.

A Castonzo T 74 100%
Q Nelson G 74 100%
B Smith G 74 100%
M Glowinski G 74 100%
R Kelly C 74 100%

What was potentially interesting about the offensive line is that the coaching staff chose to bring in Danny Pinter as a sixth lineman on a few occasions, as opposed to adding a tackle like Le’Raven Clark. Pinter is a rookie who was getting some attention in training camp and who clearly has earned the early confidence of the coaching staff.

D Pinter G 5 7%

There were a few surprises on the offensive side of the football. Arguably, the first is that Philip Rivers came out of the game for a goal line play that featured Jacoby Brissett. The play failed miserably but there was no way to be sure whether the Colts has any plans to actually follow through with their indication that keeping Brissett involved was a possibility.

P Rivers QB 73 99%
J Brissett QB 1 1%

The backfield load was surprising for a variety of reasons. The first is that while Nyheim Hines is a terrific third down back and can be lined up all over the field, he wasn’t expected to be a primary carrier in the base offense or on early downs. Hines was leaned upon heavily throughout the game, even after Marlon Mack went down to injury, and even in short-yardage, inside run situations.

Given the preseason hype surrounding how large, powerful, and fast Jonathan Taylor has been in camp, it’s shocking to see Taylor get so little attention on offense — especially when you consider that he likely would have had even fewer opportunities if Mack stayed on the field. Also, it’s hard to understand why Taylor wouldn’t have been used in short-yardage.

N Hines RB 39 53%
J Taylor RB 26 35%
M Mack RB 11 15%
J Wilkins RB 1 1%

The biggest surprise from the receiving unit is that T.Y. Hilton saw fewer snaps than Parris Campbell. It’s also fair that Campbell’s big day and hot hand kept him on the field and it is surprising to see Hilton drop a couple of passes that helped stall important offensive drives late in the game.

P Campbell WR 61 82%
T Hilton WR 59 80%
Z Pascal WR 46 62%
M Pittman WR 39 53%

The least surprising offensive unit on the team was the tight end position. Jack Doyle saw the field for the vast majority of the opportunities and Mo Alie-Cox worked his way onto the field less frequently. With Trey Burton out and a lack of experience behind these two, Reich and the offense kept things simple.

J Doyle TE 54 73%
M Alie-Cox TE 29 39%


DEFENSE

One of the biggest disappointments for the Colts defense on Sunday was a lack of pop from the defensive line. The unit did manage a couple of sacks but pressure wasn’t particularly prevalent and a position that was considered a strength and arguably the deepest on the team didn’t look like it.

D Buckner DT 43 86%
D Autry DT 38 76%
J Houston DE 34 68%
G Stewart NT 30 60%
A Muhammad DE 23 46%
T Stallworth NT 13 26%
T Lewis DT 12 24%
B Banogu DE 7 14%

While Autry is a proven NFL veteran and comfortable playing outside, there appeared to be an expectation that he would play primarily in the base defense. For Ben Banogu to see the field for only 7 snaps at end and Tyquan Lewis to see 12 on the inside is a bit surprising.

One could argue that the split at linebacker was also a bit surprising. It wasn’t surprising to see Darius Leonard on the field for every snap but the split between Anthony Walker and Bobby Okereke was far more one-sided that might have been anticipated coming into the game.

D Leonard LB 50 100%
A Walker LB 43 86%
B Okereke LB 19 38%

While the cornerback workload was as expected, the performance was not inspiring. Xavier Rhodes had plenty of struggles, the same kind that led to his release by Minnesota. Rock Ya-Sin didn’t lock down his assignments in the way some thought he might in his second season. The biggest bright spot at corner was Kenny Moore, which is to be expected at this point.

R Ya-Sin CB 46 92%
X Rhodes CB 43 86%
K Moore CB 38 76%
T Carrie CB 11 22%

Another position that carried a lot of hype coming into the game was safety. Julian Blackmon was inactive for the game, which was expected, but George Odum and Tavon Wilson have received plenty of attention in the offseason and neither took the field on defense.

K Willis SS 50 100% M Hooker FS 50 100%


SPECIAL TEAMS

In a strange game where the Colts never punted but managed to lose, there weren’t many special teams snaps to go around. However, those who were relied upon most fit well within expectations. Rookie Jordan Glasgow joined Zaire Franklin and George Odum as primary special teams contributors while Matthews Adams and Ashton Dulin continue to keep their spot on the roster for their contributions in this areas as well.

J Glasgow LB 19 79%
Z Franklin LB 19 79%
G Odum FS 19 79%
M Adams LB 14 58%
A Dulin WR 14 58%
I Rodgers DB 9 38%
R Sanchez P 9 38%
E Speed LB 8 33%
T Wilson SS 7 29%
R Blankenship K 6 25%
L Clark T 5 21%
L Rhodes LS 5 21%
C Green G 5 21%