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Patriots vs Texans snap counts: Harvey Langi and Kony Ealy lead short-handed New England defense

The Patriots needed all hands on deck for the defense.

Other than the previously reported New England Patriots that were held out from the game against the Houston Texans, the team opted to not play CB D.J. Killings and CB Will Likely. Every other Patriot played.

Ted Karras has the inside lane as the top interior line back-up

Karras played 63 snaps (80%) of the snaps at various positions on the inside, along with 10 snaps on special teams. He’s the easy top choice to be the swing back-up for Joe Thuney, David Andrews, and Shaq Mason on the inside. Rookie OT Conor McDermott also played 63 snaps with the team struggling for depth at tackle; he’s a likely practice squad candidate.

The other top back-up linemen include OT Cole Croston (63 snaps), OG Jamil Douglas (56 snaps), and OC James Ferentz (50 snaps). They joined Karras and McDermott as the primary second-string offensive line.

Austin Carr needs more production from his snaps

After leading the offense in snaps against the Jaguars (66 snaps), Carr tied for the lead in snaps against the Texans with 63 snaps. He has 8 catches for 75 yards and a touchdown across those 129 snap, which is fine production, but an undrafted player really needs to steal the show when given so many chances to make the roster. He remains a firm practice squad candidate.

Devin Lucien (51 snaps) was the only other wide receiver to see heavy snaps. Tony Washington (17 snaps), Malcolm Mitchell (15 snaps), and K.J. Maye (5 snaps) were the other depth receivers to see time.

D.J. Foster is building his resume

Even if the Patriots can’t keep Foster on the roster, the team is doing their best to help their running back put together some quality game tape. Foster led the running backs with 32 snaps, ahead of Brandon Bolden (19 snaps) and Dion Lewis (15 snaps). He’s the last one on the depth chart, but he’s putting together the performances that someone like Carr would need to make the team.

Harvey Langi and Kony Ealy set the edge

Langi led the defense with 49 snaps, followed by Ealy with 42. The Patriots were extremely shallow at the position so they didn’t have much of a choice, but these two players are likely the top back-ups to Trey Flowers and, when healthy, Deatrich Wise Jr. Langi’s role could also be considered the same as what the team envisions for LB Dont’a Hightower or LB Shea McClellin on the edge.

Caleb Kidder (21 snaps) helped out on the defensive front, as did Adam Butler (24 snaps). Trevor Bates (28 snaps), David Harris (24 snaps), Kyle Van Noy (22 snaps), Jonathan Freeny (20 snaps), and Elandon Roberts (18 snaps) were the active linebackers.

Vincent Valentine made a big debut

After missing the first week of the preseason, the Patriots asked Valentine to shoulder a heavy load and to play 33 snaps (52%). That was more than Butler, Alan Branch (24 snaps), Malcom Brown (24 snaps), or Lawrence Guy (20 snaps). These five are making a strong case to all make the roster.

Cyrus Jones had a quieter outing

After a disastrous outing against the Jaguars, Jones was much more productive against the Texans. He allowed just one catch for three yards on two targets over his 37 snaps and was outstanding on special teams. He made a strong case to make the team.

So did Justin Coleman (37 snaps) who had two pass breakups on the day. Jonathan Jones (10 snaps) and Kenny Moore (7 snaps) were more distant contributors at cornerback.

The following players played 15 or more snaps on special teams:

Jonathan Freeny (25 snaps), James O’Shaugnessy (21 snaps), Harvey Langi (21 snaps), Jordan Richards (21 snaps), Kenny Moore (20 snaps), Trevor Bates (17 snaps), Justin Coleman (16 snaps), Cyrus Jones (15 snaps), Jason Thompson (15 snaps)

O’Shaugnessy showed why he has the inside edge at tight end, while Langi is settling in as the ideal depth edge defender with his added value on special teams. Jordan Richards could make the team again just because of his special teams value.