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Falcons snap counts, Week 7: Who is responsible for this stale hell?

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What can we learn from Sunday night’s snap counts?

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at New England Patriots Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s talk about snap counts, because numbers can’t hurt you. Oh, wait, they can with context. I’m sorry.

Offense

Matt Ryan: 57

Andy Levitre: 57

Jake Matthews: 57

Alex Mack: 57

Wes Schweitzer: 57

Ryan Schraeder: 57

Austin Hooper: 52

Mohamed Sanu: 51

Julio Jones: 50

Devonta Freeman: 41

Taylor Gabriel: 35

Tevin Coleman: 19

Levine Toilolo: 19

Justin Hardy: 9

Derrick Coleman: 5

Andre Roberts: 4


Big takeaway here: The Falcons continue to ran fewer plays than their opponents, and when you’re making as little of your plays as Atlanta is, that’s an issue. The Falcons had 17 fewer plays than New England in all.

Hilariously, Austin Hooper had exactly as many receptions on the day as Andre Roberts had targets, and Hooper got more receptions than Tevin Coleman. Setting aside the play calling itself, which was frequently unfortunate, the odd inability to find a use for the league’s most explosive receiving back outside of Chris Thompson and a dynamic tight end is just plain bizarre. A bunch of short passes for Taylor Gabriel? Also not ideal.

Justin Hardy being marginalized in a passing attack, too, and if you’re going to settle for chunks of yardage and passes to sure-handed receivers, he should probably not be left out in the cold. Okay, I’m done ranting.

Defense

Keanu Neal: 74

Robert Alford: 73

Ricardo Allen: 73

Deion Jones: 72

De’Vondre Campbell: 72

Desmond Trufant: 71

Dontari Poe: 57

Grady Jarrett: 57

Brian Poole: 41

Vic Beasley: 35

Brooks Reed: 33

Adrian Clayborn: 32

Derrick Shelby: 30

Kemal Ishmael: 28

Courtney Upshaw: 20

Takkarist McKinley: 19

Joe Vellano: 18

Duke Riley: 7

Blidi Wreh-Wilson: 2


At this point, the Falcons just aren’t getting the consistent pass rush they need to, though that’s hardly the biggest problem they faced against New England. I’m getting concerned with the usage rates for Grady Jarrett and Dontari Poe, who are playing 75% of snaps on the average week. Poe was supposed to be able to rotate in and out a bit more, and with Courtney Upshaw easing back in and Joe Vellano on the field, he really hasn’t. Vellano is a hard worker and all that, but his run defense is an active liability, and the Falcons probably should’ve gotten Ahtyba Rubin out on the field in this one. They almost certainly will against the Jets, since the run defense continues to struggle.

Kemal Ishmael graded out poorly per Pro Football Focus, but I thought he looked decent for a converted linebacker thrust into a difficult matchup, and I expect he’ll hold his own with Duke Riley out for a few weeks. The Falcons really are working with a small margin of error on defense at this point, though, and need to be just a bit better as the offense tries to return to some semblance of normalcy.

Special Teams

Kemal Ishmael: 16

Jermaine Grace: 13

Damontae Kazee: 12

Eric Saubert: 12

Terron Ward: 12

Justin Hardy: 12

Derrick Coleman: 12

C.J. Goodwin: 11


The Falcons will continue to trot out Kemal Ishmael on special teams, because he’s so integral to that unit. That opens up the possibility that Jermaine Grace may actually get a few snaps on defense to spell him, but for now, Grace and fellow rookies Kazee and Saubert are putting in working for Keith Armstrong. May it lead them to more opportunities down the line.