Here are the snap counts from the Patriots 22-17 victory over the Jets.
The Patriots offensive line played the entire game
LT Nate Solder, LG Joe Thuney, OC David Andrews, RG Shaq Mason, and RT Marcus Cannon played all 73 offensive snaps, as did QB Tom Brady. The stability on the offensive line has done wonders for the pass protection and the run blocking. OT Cameron Fleming played 15 snaps (21%) as an extra blocker.
WR Malcolm Mitchell played less than you might have thought
WR Chris Hogan (67, 92%), WR Julian Edelman (66, 90%), and TE Martellus Bennett (58, 79%) played most of the game, especially as TE Rob Gronkowski (7, 10%) left with a back injury. But WR Malcolm Mitchell (34, 47%) was a rotational player with FB James Develin (25, 34%) and WR Danny Amendola (17, 23%). Maybe Mitchell will see a larger role moving forward.
The Patriots gave their running backs even snaps
RB LeGarrette Blount (27, 37%), RB James White (26, 36%), and RB Dion Lewis (23, 32%) played even splits. Blount actually played more than most would have expected since the Patriots typically give just 20% of snaps to running backs that can’t catch the ball against the Jets.
I think we can expect a fairly even split with this trio moving forward with some variation based on defensive strengths.
LB Dont’a Hightower is back as a full time starter
One week after rotating in and out of the roster, Hightower played all 57 defensive snaps. He was paired with LB Shea McClellin (31, 54%), LB Kyle Van Noy (28, 49%), and LB Elandon Roberts (4, 7%). McClellin and Van Noy have actually been pretty solid the past two weeks with McClellin stopping the run and Van Noy playing on passing downs. Roberts had a nice tackle for loss in his short number of snaps.
The secondary has settled down on a starting five
SS Patrick Chung (57, 100%), CB Malcolm Butler (57, 100%), CB Eric Rowe (56, 98%), and FS Devin McCourty (56, 98%) were the starters, with CB Logan Ryan (44, 77%) as the nickel against the Jets receivers. FS Duron Harmon (19, 33%) played a reduced role since the Jets don’t use tight ends in the receiving game. S Nate Ebner played one snap.
Jabaal Sheard returned to the defensive end rotation
Trey Flowers (36, 63%) led defensive ends, ahead of Rob Ninkovich (32, 56%) and Chris Long (30, 53%). Sheard only played 25 snaps (44%), but it’s a good sign that he’s back in the rotation and he did a good job in his limited time. Both McClellin and Van Noy also contribute on the edge as the Patriots favored a 5-1 front.
Vincent Valentine played an expanded role at defensive tackle
DT Malcom Brown (36, 63%) and DT Alan Branch (35, 61%) continue to play a high number of snaps, but rookie Vincent Valentine (23, 40%) doubled his typical usage. Valentine needed the experience as Branch might be suspended and Valentine will have to step up into a starting role.
The following players saw 15+ snaps on special teams:
LB Shea McClellin (22), ED Geneo Grissom (22), S Nate Ebner (21), CB Jonathan Jones (18), S Brandon King (17), RB Brandon Bolden (17), LB Barkevious Mingo (17)