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Bengals snap counts: Takeaways from Week 1

With our first look at the Bengals in a game, we can start to get an idea of how this team will divvy up playing time.

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Week 1 told us more than in usual seasons. Sure, you can’t gather everything about a team from preseason, but you can at least gather what the depth chart and how players will be rotated a little better.

We didn’t get that this season, so Week 1 actually has some trends starting to set for us. These could change as the season goes on, but for right now, there are some pretty surprising things to takeaway from Week 1.

Snap count takeaways from the Bengals’ loss to the Chargers:

  • For anyone new, we always start by taking a look at which team out snapped the other. You have probably been told at some point in your life that time of possession is a winning indicator, but how many offensive snaps you take seems to be a more telling stat (obvious exceptions exist with tons of big plays or turnovers that are returned for touchdowns). In Week 1 The Bengals offense ran 68 plays to the Chargers 74. If not for Cincinnati’s two turnovers in the fourth quarter, they probably would’ve done well here. Each team had 19 first downs and the Bengals converted 43 percent of their third downs while holding the Chargers to only 38 percent (as well as stuffing two fourth down attempts).
  • One of the biggest changes from last year was how often the Bengals spread things out. Players like Tee Higgins (15), Mike Thomas (15), and Auden Tate (15) saw a fairly significant amount of play considering A.J. Green (45, Tyler Boyd (55) and John Ross (57) were all healthy. The team even went five wide for some extended periods of time. It will be interesting to see if this trend continues.
  • C.J. Uzomah (49) seems to be the lead tight end ahead of Drew Sample (24). Sample worked out with Joe Burrow this offseason, so there was reason to believe that he could play a much larger role in the offense, but at least for Week 1, Uzomah is the guy at that position.
  • Andrew Brown, who was thrusted into a bigger role during training camp, only played seven snaps. Even with Geno Atkins out with injury and D.J. Reader out for a few plays, Brown didn’t get much of a chance to be out there. In fact, recently acquired Christian Covington (38) played over half of the game. It really shows where the coaches are with Brown at this point.
  • Linebackers saw an interesting split. Germaine Pratt (54) and Josh Bynes (53) saw a majority of the snaps, but rookie linebacker Logan Wilson (22) and Akeem Davis-Gaither (20) were both rotated in pretty regularly. It seemed like it was pretty common for them to be out there on third down as well. It is good to see Cincinnati working in some valuable experience for the young guys.
  • Cornerback was interesting before the game even began. The Bengals only had four active this week, which was odd given the team was also without Shawn Williams at safety. William Jackson (73) played almost all the game, and he looked like his old self. Darius Phillips (71) actually out snapped newcomer Mackensie Alexander (62). This mostly shows that Alexander is the nickel corner for this team and erases any doubt over who are the two boundary corners.
  • It is hard to say what the Bengals will do at safety quite yet. Williams was out with injury, but Jessie Bates III (73) and Vonn Bell (74) played virtually every snap. It is worth noting that Brandon Wilson played seven snaps. Does this mean that when Williams returns we could see more three safety looks, or will he he just take on those handful of snaps?

Bengals snap counts against the Chargers

# POS. NAME Snaps Percentage of snaps
# POS. NAME Snaps Percentage of snaps
83 WR Tyler Boyd 55 81
80 WR Mike Thomas 15 22
12 WR Alex Erickson 4 6
18 WR A.J. Green 45 66
85 WR Tee Higgins 15 22
19 WR Auden Tate 15 22
11 WR John Ross 57 84
73 OT Jonah Williams 68 100
68 OT Bobby Hart 68 100
74 OT Fred Johnson -- --
71 OG Shaq Callhoun DNP DNP
72 OG Xavier Su'a-Filo 40 59
60 OG Michael Jordan 68 100
77 OG Hakeem Adeniji -- --
66 C Trey Hopkins 68 100
53 C Billy Price 28 41
87 TE C.J. Uzomah 49 72
89 TE Drew Sample 24 35
82 TE Cethan Carter 1 1
9 QB Joe Burrow 68 100
5 QB Ryan Finley -- --
34 RB Samaje Perine -- --
28 RB Joe Mixon 40 59
25 RB Giovani Bernard 20 29
32 RB Trayveon Williams DNP DNP
96 DE Caros Dunlap 52 70
94 DE Sam Hubbard 58 78
91 DE Amani Bledsoe 10 14
90 DE Khalid Kareem 10 14
93 DT Andrew Brown 7 9
58 DE Carl Lawson 43 58
97 DT Geno Atkins DNP DNP
98 DT D.J. Reader 50 68
76 DT Mike Daniels 37 50
99 DT Christian Covington 38 51
55 LB Logan Wilson 22 30
57 LB Germaine Pratt 54 73
56 LB Josh Bynes 53 72
50 LB Jordan Evans -- --
51 LB Markus Bailey DNP DNP
59 LB Akeem Davis-Gaither 20 27
21 CB Mackensie Alexnder 62 84
38 CB LeShaen Sims DNP DNP
20 CB Torry McTyer DNP DNP
22 CB William Jackson 73 99
27 CB Tony Brown -- --
23 CB Darius Phillips 71 96
36 S Shawn Williams DNP DNP
24 S Vonn Bell 74 100
30 S Jessie Bates III 73 99
41 S Trayvon Henderson -- --
40 S Brandon Wilson 7 9