With some positions it matters a lot, but others it may not be as important. Looking at the snap counts on offense, defense, and special teams can tell a lot about the state of the 2019 Pittsburgh Steelers. Case in point, Ben Roethlisberger is usually one of the top leaders in offensive snaps for the Steelers. But with Ben’s season over as of half time of Week 2, the snaps by any quarterback have not reached the 50% mark.
Leading the way on offense as usual are the five offensive lineman. Tackles Matt Feiler and Alejandro Villanueva along with guard David DeCastro all have played 100% of the offensive snaps in 2019 according to profootballreference.com. Guard Ramon Foster missed one snap in Week 6, leaving him with 350 of the 351 possible snaps offense. Center Maurkice Pouncey missed 14 snaps in Week 1 against the Patriots and four snaps against the Cincinnati Bengals giving him 94.9% of snaps played on season.
Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster has the most snaps on offense outside of the linemen playing 86.9% of the time. After JuJu, there is a large drop in the percentages of snaps played with the next three players being Diontae Johnson at 63.5%, James Conner at 60.1%, and James Washington at 54.7% despite missing Week 6. The only other player on the offensive side of the ball with more than 50% of the snaps played is tight end Vance McDonald with 53.6%.
As for the defensive side of the ball, Terrell Edmunds leads the way playing 422 of the 434 snaps for a percentage of 97.2% The only game in which Edmunds did not play 100% of the snaps was against the Baltimore Ravens when the Steelers used an extra linebacker in place of Edmunds in certain packages. Since joining the Steelers in Week 3, Minkah Fitzpatrick has played all but one snap on defense giving him 65.7% despite not being on the Steelers for two games.
Closely behind Edmunds is cornerback Joe Haden who has played 94.5% of the snaps on defense. Bud Dupree has also logged 400 defensive snaps for 92.2%. Although not always considered a starter, rookie Devin Bush has played 89.2% of the snaps on defense, even more than outside linebacker T.J. Watt who has played 86.2%. Despite missing Week 6, Steven Nelson still has played 85.5% of the total snaps on the season due to the fact he had played all but one snap in the first five weeks of the season.
Because of the rotation used on the defensive line, Cameron Heyward leads the way for the season at the position with 73.5% of the snaps played. While Stephon Tuitt was logging right around 70% of the defensive snaps through Week 5, his season-ending injury will most likely cause an increase in Javon Hargrave’s 49.1% and Tyson Alualu’s 32.3% of snaps played on defense.
When it comes to the Steelers’ special teams play, Ulysees Gilbert III is leading the way on the season with 133 snaps played. He has also led the Steelers in special team snaps in every game in 2019. Special team aces Tyler Matakevich and Jordan Dangerfield have each logged 108 snaps. The only other player with 100 special teams snaps on the season is Benny Snell Jr. with exactly the century mark.
As the season wears on, seeing more and more players with 90% or more of the snaps on their respective side of the ball would mean positive things for the Steelers overall health going forward. In general, the quarterback, offensive line, and the defensive secondary are players who rarely leave the field. So if players at these positions are not logging a high number of snaps, chances are it will be from time missed due to injury.