According to 1075 The Fan’s Kevin Bowen, there’s a few snap count notes to take note of from the Indianapolis Colts’ ugly Week 10, 10-6 win in Germany against their longtime arch-nemesis New England Patriots:
Some #Colts snap notes:— Kevin Bowen (@KBowen1070) November 13, 2023
-Josh Downs (knee) was limited to 14 total snaps
-Jonathan Taylor outsnapped Zack Moss 50 to 9. Taylor had 24 touches. Moss had 1.
-Zaire Franklin: 69-of-69 snaps, 15 tackles
-Shaq Leonard: 48 snaps, 9 tackles
-E.J. Speed: 33 snaps, 3 tackles
Of course, rookie wideout Josh Downs, who’s had an impressive debut campaign to date, was a game-time decision coming in and was clearly limited with his knee injury.
Therefore, the clearly diminished snap counts aren’t surprising given his shaky health. That being said, he still managed to have one of the best catches of 2023 so far for the Colts—and a critical one late in the win.
Meanwhile, the disparity in snaps (and touches) between star workhorse Jonathan Taylor and breakout back Zack Moss isn’t necessarily surprising (i.e., this was eventually going to become Taylor’s backfield again), but it came a little sooner than expected. Despite only rushing for 2 yards on Sunday, Moss is still 5th in the league for most rushing yards this season with 617 total rushing yards. It’s possible that with either team struggling to score and have many big plays, the Colts were hoping that Taylor might be able to break one off after a hot start—as the clearly more explosive option of the two backs.
At linebacker, Zaire Franklin continues to thrive at ‘Mike’ in Gus Bradley’s defensive scheme, with a whopping 15 tackles (12 solo) on Sunday. Franklin is currently the league’s leading tackler on the season with 117 tackles (76 solo). While he’s shined at linebacker, it’s been a stark contrast to former 4x NFL All-Pro Shaquille Leonard, who’s clearly experienced some diminished play, production, and playing time so far this season—coming off two back surgeries and having yet to regain his prior ‘The Maniac’ form.
To be fair, Leonard did play a season-high 70% of snaps on Sunday, compared to E.J. Speed’s 48%, However, there was certainly a key missed tackle attempt that he’d like to forget against Zeke Elliott in space. At this point, given how less fast, athletic, and flexible Leonard looks compared to Speed out there, he really doesn’t have much ground to stand on being upset that he’s being subbed out in obvious passing or nickel down situations.