Seven games into the 2019 regular season, the New England Patriots have yet to taste defeat: the latest team to fall victim to the unbeaten world champions were the New York Jets, who hosted the Patriots at MetLife Stadium on Monday night. New England emerged victoriously with a final score of 33-0 after dominating from start to finish — a fact that allowed the team to rotate its personnel on a regular basis.
With that in mind, let’s dig a little deeper into the snap count numbers from the game to get an impression of how the Patriots used their players.
Total snaps: 82
OC Ted Karras (82; 100%), OG Shaq Mason (82; 100%), OT Marshall Newhouse (82; 100%), OT Marcus Cannon (80; 98%), OG Joe Thuney (78; 95%), QB Tom Brady (77; 94%), WR Julian Edelman (73; 89%); WR Phillip Dorsett II (72; 88%), TE Benjamin Watson (62; 76%), RB James White (44; 54%), WR Jakobi Meyers (42; 51%), TE Eric Tomlinson (38; 46%), RB Sony Michel (31; 38%), RB Brandon Bolden (18; 22%), WR Gunner Olszewski (15; 18%), OG Jermaine Eluemunor (6; 7%); RB Damien Harris (5; 6%), QB Jarrett Stidham (5; 6%), OG James Ferentz (5; 6%), LB Elandon Roberts (3; 4%); WR Matthew Slater (2; 2%)
New England’s offense was on the field for 82 snaps, with three players going wire-to-wire: center Ted Karras, right guard Shaq Mason and left tackle Marshall Newhouse did not miss a snap. The other candidates to never leave the field meanwhile — right tackle Marcus Cannon, left guard Joe Thuney, quarterback Tom Brady — were all pulled late in the fourth quarter and with the team up comfortable against an overwhelmed opponent.
At the wide receiver position, meanwhile, Jakobi Meyers served as the number three option: with Josh Gordon missing the game because of injury, the team turned to the undrafted rookie and he again showed his value as a rotational option by catching all five of the passes thrown his way for 47 yards — tying Julian Edelman for second most on the team behind only James White’s 59 receiving yards.
Benjamin Watson, on the other hand, was the number one tight end. The recently re-signed veteran played 62 snaps and was involved both as a blocker and in the passing game; unlike fellow tight end Eric Tomlinson who saw most of his action as a fullback-type lead blocker in the running game. All in all, though, the position’s usage was not much different as it was over the first six games of the season with Ryan Izzo and Matt LaCosse in the lineup.
Total snaps: 61
FS Duron Harmon (49; 80%), FS Devin McCourty (47; 77%), LB Kyle Van Noy (46; 75%), CB Jason McCourty (45; 74%), CB Stephon Gilmore (45; 74%), CB Jonathan Jones (44; 72%), LB Jamie Collins Sr. (44; 72%), LB Dont’a Hightower (42; 69%), SS Terrence Brooks (40, 66%), CB J.C. Jackson (35; 57%), DT Lawrence Guy (34; 56%), DT Danny Shelton (34; 56%), DT Adam Butler (25; 41%), DE Shilique Calhoun (21; 34%), LB Ja’Whaun Bentley (21; 34%), DE John Simon (21; 34%), DE Chase Winovich (20; 33%), DE Deatrich Wise Jr. (19; 31%), LB Elandon Roberts (17; 28%), CB Joejuan Williams (16; 26%), DT Byron Cowart (6; 10%)
When the Patriots first played the Jets this season in Week 3, their defense was on the field for just 51 snaps while the personnel was heavily rotated. With the team jumping to an early lead again on Monday night and essentially controlling the contest from the third quarter on, a similar approach was taken. As a result, no player was on the field for more than 80% of defensive snaps with safety Duron Harmon’s 49 leading the unit.
The rotation was on display at all positions, with the players usually not leaving the field — the starting secondary around Devin McCourty and Stephon Gilmore, as well as one or two linebackers — also receiving some snaps off. In turn, some of the younger options were able to see playing time: rookie cornerback Joejuan Williams and rookie defensive tackle Byron Cowart both saw the field, with Williams getting the most extensive look of his career.
Another player to stand out was Elandon Roberts. The team captain did not just play 17 defensive snaps in his usual role as an early-down inside linebacker, he also was used on offense and special teams: Roberts played three snaps as a fullback and was the lead-blocker on a Sony Michel touchdown run in the fourth quarter; he also played 11 snaps in the kicking game as a member of the Patriots punt and kick return and kickoff coverage units.
Total snaps: 27
RB Brandon Bolden (22; 81%), WR Matthew Slater (22; 81%), DE Shilique Calhoun (22; 81%), SS Nate Ebner (22; 81%), SS Jordan Richards (21; 78%), P Jake Bailey (20; 74%), CB Jonathan Jones (17; 63%), DE Chase Winovich (17; 63%), LS Joe Cardona (14; 52%), SS Terrence Brooks (12; 44%), LB Ja’Whaun Bentley (11; 41%), LB Elandon Roberts (10; 37%), DE John Simon (9; 33%), WR Gunner Olszewski (6; 22%), LB Jamie Collins Sr. (7; 26%), DT Lawrence Guy (7; 26%), FS Devin McCourty (6; 22%), OC Ted Karrras (5; 19%), OG Shaq Mason (5; 19%), OT Marshall Newhouse (5; 19%), OT Marcus Cannon (5; 19%), OG Jermaine Eluemunor (5; 19%), CB J.C. Jackson (5; 19%), DT Danny Shelton (5; 19%), K Mike Nugent (5; 19%), CB Joejuan Williams (4; 15%), LB Dont’a Hightower (2; 7%), DT Adam Butler (2; 7%), WR Julian Edelman (1; 4%), RB James White (1; 4%), WR Jakobi Meyers (1; 4%), TE Eric Tomlinson (1; 4%)
The Patriots used 32 players in the kicking game against the Jets, with five of them playing exclusively on special teams: the three specialists — kicker Mike Nugent, punter/kickoff specialist Jake Bailey, long snapper Joe Cardona — as well as Nate Ebner and Jordan Richards. This is no unusual usage for the two safeties: they have yet to see any playing time on defense this season, and it seems unlikely they will anytime soon.
Did not play
With the Patriots comfortably ahead, the team was able to use the full depth of its roster and also insert some younger players into the lineup: rookies Jarrett Stidham, Byron Cowart and Damien Harris, for example, saw some action in the fourth quarter and with New England already up by 33 points. But while Stidham and Cowart have seen the field before, third-round pick Harris played the first five snaps of his NFL career.
WR Josh Gordon, TE Ryan Izzo, TE Matt LaCosse, RB Rex Burkhead, DE Michael Bennett, SS Patrick Chung, OT Korey Cunningham
When the Patriots released their final injury report of the week, they already ruled Josh Gordon (knee/ankle), Matt LaCosse (knee) and Ryan Izzo (concussion) out. On Sunday, Rex Burkhead (foot) was added to the list that also includes the suspended Michael Bennett. Finally, the team also deactivated Patrick Chung (chest/heel) as well as healthy scratch Korey Cunningham ahead of Monday night’s game.