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Bengals Week 16 snap counts: Offense gets new look, defense stays the same

The Bengals checked out some possibilities for the future of the team’s offense on Saturday night in Houston. On defense, not much changed as veterans continued to see the bulk of playing time.

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Cincinnati Bengals v Houston Texans Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Bengals’ offense had a very different look on Saturday night in Houston than in has had for much of the season. Those changes hurt the Bengals’ ability to move the ball and score points. But, it hopefully gave the coaches and ownership more intel as to how this team will look in the future. That was surely the gameplan on offense on Saturday night.

Clint Boling, Tyler Eifert, A.J. Green and Tyler Kroft were inactive on offense and that led to quite a bit of change. Cedric Ogbuehi started at left tackle, Andrew Whitworth at left guard and Jake Fisher at right tackle. Ryan Hewitt technically started at tight end, but it was C.J. Uzomah who saw the bulk of the playing time at that position.

Cody Core also started, at wide receiver in place of A.J. Green and weirdly only played 62% of offensive snaps, despite receiving an extremely high 14 targets. He caught eight of them for 39 yards, and it’s safe to see he had the opportunity to produce much more. To his credit, he was being covered by A.J. Bouye for the large majority of the game and Bouye is having a great season. He's Pro Football Focus' 4th best cornerback and has an 89.6 grade, putting him in their “high quality” category.

Another big change was Rex Burkhead receiving 49 offensive snaps, which was 78% of snaps played. Burkhead was much more effective than Jeremy Hill who played 13 snaps and generated only 8 yards on the ground. Burkhead tallied 42 yards rushing and 25 yards receiving.

On defense, change wasn’t as prominent. In fact, the veterans continued to play too much, in my opinion. Domata Peko played 56% of the defensive snaps; he had 4 tackles. Margus Hunt out-snapped Will Clarke (who had a good game). Wallace Gilberry was highly effective early on with 1.5 sacks in the first quarter. But oddly, he only played 20 snaps.

At linebacker, Vincent Rey played 100% of the defensive snaps with Karlos Dansby playing 70%, Nick Vigil playing 31% and Rey Maualuga playing 23%. P.J. Dawson was promoted from the practice squad and played his first game of the year, but only got in on special teams, as expected.

At cornerback, Darqueze Dennard actually started over Dre Kirkpatrick. But, Kirkpatrick only missed five total snaps and Dennard ended up back in the slot for most of his 28 snaps. That’s still far more action than Dennard has seen in recent weeks. The Bengals need to make a decision on his fifth year option this offseason, which will be hard to do since they’ve barely seen him play on the boundary, which is his intended position. In the slot, he hasn’t been particularly effective this year. If you're into Pro Football Focus grading, Adam Jones still ranks as the team's best cornerback (ranked 50th in the league), Josh Shaw is ranked as the 68th overall cornerback, Kirkpatrick comes in one spot later at 69th and Dennard is all the way down at 102nd.

Here are the Bengals’ Week 16 snap counts on offense and defense:

Bengals Week 16 snap counts

Position Player Snap Count Percentage of Time
Position Player Snap Count Percentage of Time
Offensive Line Kevin Zeitler 63 100%
Russell Bodine 63 100%
Cedric Ogbuehi 63 100%
Andrew Whitworth 60 95%
T.J. Johnson 5 8%
Jake Fisher 63 100%
Eric Winston 7 11%
Christian Westerman -- --
Tight End Tyler Eifert INACTIVE INACTIVE
C.J. Uzomah 61 97%
Quarterback Andy Dalton 63 100%
AJ McCarron -- --
Wide Receiver A.J. Green INACTIVE INACTIVE
Tyler Boyd 46 73%
Brandon LaFell 61 97%
James Wright 15 24%
Cody Core 39 62%
Alex Erickson 6 10%
Running Back Jeremy Hill 13 21%
Rex Burkhead 49 78%
Cedric Peerman 1 2%
Fullback/H-Back Ryan Hewitt 15 24%
----------------------- ---------------------------- ---------------- ----------------------
Defensive Tackle Geno Atkins 38 59%
Domata Peko 36 56%
Pat Sims 25 39%
DeShawn Williams 8 12%
Defensive End Margus Hunt 23 36%
Will Clarke 17 27%
Carlos Dunlap 45 70%
Michael Johnson 43 67%
Wallace Gilberry 20 31%
Linebacker Karlos Dansby 45 70%
Rey Maualuga 15 23%
Vincent Rey 64 100%
Nick Vigil 20 31%
Marquis Flowers -- --
P.J. Dawson -- --
Safety George Iloka 64 100%
Shawn Williams 64 100%
Derron Smith -- --
Clayton Fejedelem -- --
Cornerback Adam Jones 64 100%
Dre Kirkpatrick 59 92%
Josh Shaw 26 41%
Darqueze Dennard 28 44%