clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Snap counts following the Steelers Week 1 win show quality rotation at several defensive positions

New, comments

The Pittsburgh Steelers said they wanted to focus on rotating defensive players to keep them fresh, and although this isn't news, they actually achieved that goal for once.

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

In 2015, there was a lot of talk on a weekly basis surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers and their defensive rotations. Mike Tomlin would talk about spelling Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt along the defensive line, as well as the ongoing outside linebacker rotation with Bud Dupree, Arthur Moats, James Harrison and Jarvis Jones. However, after all that lip service, things rarely changed.

Fast forward to 2016, and for once the team achieved some semblance of a rotation, in regards to snap counts. The two positions which are most commonly discussed are at both of the aforementioned positions: defensive line and outside linebacker. In the team's Week 1 win over the Washington Redskins, they did a good job rotating players to keep everyone as fresh as possible.

At outside linebacker, Arthur Moats played in 33 defensive snaps and Jarvis Jones saw 42 defensive snaps, while the team's backups also saw double-digit snap totals. Anthony Chickillo played in 15 snaps, while James Harrison played in 26.

You might be wondering how the right side OLBs played more total snaps than the left, and that would result in the Steelers ongoing use of subpackaged which don't have the standard four linebackers on the field. There were times when Harrison lined up as an inside linebacker and other players flexed to the edge. The team relied on Jones, Harrison and Moats as their linebacker anchors, all while keeping the players fresh.

Along the defensive line it was Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt who consistently played nearly every snap in 2015. Although capable, the hope is to help spell those players from time-to-time, and they were able to do that on Monday night. Heyward played in 43 defensive plays and Tuitt added 47 to his record, but the backup Ricardo Mathews saw double-digit snaps with 16. Even at nose tackle, the team played rookie Javon Hargrave (13) and Daniel McCullers (10) nearly the same amount of plays.

The Steelers likely used this rotation to keep everyone fresh in the season opener, but it also shows an ability and trust from the coaching staff to the players to go out and execute the game plan, regardless of your title of a "starter" or not.

See the complete list of snap totals below:

Steelers Snap Counts

  • Share & more
    • Copy Link to Table to Clipboard
Off. Def. ST
Player Pos Num Pct Num Pct Num Pct
Jesse James TE 68 100% 0 0% 11 44%
David DeCastro G 68 100% 0 0% 6 24%
Ramon Foster G 68 100% 0 0% 6 24%
Alejandro Villanueva T 68 100% 0 0% 6 24%
Maurkice Pouncey C 68 100% 0 0% 0 0%
Marcus Gilbert T 68 100% 0 0% 0 0%
Ben Roethlisberger QB 68 100% 0 0% 0 0%
Antonio Brown WR 66 97% 0 0% 0 0%
DeAngelo Williams RB 56 82% 0 0% 0 0%
Eli Rogers WR 47 69% 0 0% 1 4%
Sammie Coates WR 44 65% 0 0% 11 44%
David Johnson TE 17 25% 0 0% 0 0%
Xavier Grimble TE 16 24% 0 0% 0 0%
Darrius Heyward-Bey WR 15 22% 0 0% 10 40%
Fitzgerald Toussaint RB 8 12% 0 0% 6 24%
Daryl Richardson RB 2 3% 0 0% 2 8%
Lawrence Timmons LB 1 1% 53 91% 4 16%
Robert Golden FS 0 0% 58 100% 7 28%
Ross Cockrell CB 0 0% 58 100% 3 12%
Michael Mitchell FS 0 0% 57 98% 4 16%
William Gay CB 0 0% 57 98% 4 16%
Stephon Tuitt DE 0 0% 47 81% 8 32%
Sean Davis DB 0 0% 46 79% 14 56%
Ryan Shazier LB 0 0% 44 76% 4 16%
Cameron Heyward DE 0 0% 43 74% 10 40%
Jarvis Jones LB 0 0% 42 72% 1 4%
Arthur Moats LB 0 0% 33 57% 6 24%
James Harrison LB 0 0% 26 45% 3 12%
Ricardo Mathews DT 0 0% 16 28% 2 8%
Anthony Chickillo LB 0 0% 15 26% 18 72%
Javon Hargrave DT 0 0% 13 22% 3 12%
Daniel McCullers NT 0 0% 10 17% 1 4%
Artie Burns DB 0 0% 9 16% 9 36%
Vince Williams LB 0 0% 7 12% 15 60%
L.J. Fort LB 0 0% 4 7% 16 64%
Shamarko Thomas SS 0 0% 0 0% 15 60%
Chris Boswell K 0 0% 0 0% 13 52%
Chris Hubbard G 0 0% 0 0% 11 44%
Tyler Matakevich LB 0 0% 0 0% 9 36%
Jordan Dangerfield SS 0 0% 0 0% 9 36%
Greg Warren LS 0 0% 0 0% 8 32%
Jordan Berry P 0 0% 0 0% 8 32%
Ryan Harris T 0 0% 0 0% 6 24%
B.J. Finney C 0 0% 0 0% 5 20%