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Falcons vs. Jets snap counts: Who was on the field as Atlanta beat out New York

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Snap counts! Get yer snap counts!

Atlanta Falcons vs  New York Jets Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

The Falcons beat the Jets, and as always, we like to take a look at who played key roles in the victory. This week’s most surprising turn by a long shot was Vic Beasley at linebacker

Offense

Matt Ryan: 66

Jake Matthews: 66

Andy Levitre: 66

Alex Mack: 66

Wes Schweitzer: 66

Ryan Schraeder: 66

Mohamed Sanu: 60

Julio Jones: 59

Austin Hooper: 50

Devonta Freeman: 40

Levine Toilolo: 31

Taylor Gabriel: 31

Tevin Coleman: 29

Derrick Coleman: 14

Justin Hardy: 9

Marvin Hall: 6

Ty Sambrailo: 1


The Falcons are exhibiting very clear preferences on offense these days. Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, and Austin Hooper are intended to be the primary pass-catching weapons, with Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman splitting the work at running back and getting some work in the passing game, as well. Your secondary weapons are Taylor Gabriel and Levine Toilolo, with a tiny sprinkle of Justin Hardy, Marvin Hall, and perhaps Andre Roberts to fill things out. It’s a fairly lean group of personnel, all things considered.

That’s healthy up to a point—if you’re not going to engage in Kyle Shanahan-esque shenanigans, you might as well get the ball to your best players—but the Falcons at this point are marginalizing players who might be useful for them. Justin Hardy is a sure-handed, quality target and Marvin Hall is legitimately intriguing, and both have produced in limited snaps this season. Taylor Gabriel, who can be lethal if he has space to work, is getting plenty of snaps but barely any looks, and I’m wondering how long that will continue before they either get serious about finding creative ways to get open or swap Hardy in for more snaps. Right now, the Falcons just don’t look like they have enough after Julio and Sanu, which is concerning.

Eventually, I’d expect Eric Saubert to get more work, but it may not be until very late in the year or even 2018. This is a minor knock—the Falcons played better on offense, generally, on Sunday—but it’s something to watch as we go forward.

Defense

Robert Alford: 61

Ricardo Allen: 61

Keanu Neal: 61

De’Vondre Campbell: 61

Deion Jones: 61

Desmond Trufant: 54

Dontari Poe: 47

Grady Jarrett: 47

Brian Poole: 43

Vic Beasley: 38

Adrian Clayborn: 37

Takkarist McKinley: 25

Derrick Shelby: 22

Ahtyba Rubin: 21

Brooks Reed: 18

Courtney Upshaw: 9

Kemal Ishmael: 4

Damontae Kazee: 1


Interestingly, the Falcons barely played Kemal Ishmael, and they trotted out Vic Beasley as the starting strong side linebacker, instead of simply listing him as a starting linebacker. Beasley did well in this game, overall.

With Beasley there, the Falcons rotated in Adrian Clayborn, Takk McKinley, and Derrick Shelby at end quite a bit, with some decent results. If this is a glimpse at how they intend to function while Duke Riley is out, it was a pretty promising one, and it means Sean Weatherspoon may not actually play. It also begs the question of why the Falcons moved Ishmael to linebacker if they don’t actually trust him to play there in case of injury, but I digress.

As anticipated, Rubin’s snaps came at the expense of Upshaw’s, because the former is a brilliant run-stopper and the latter is simply a quality one. We’ll hope Rubin is totally healthy against the Panthers and Cowboys

It’s interesting to see Brooks Reed getting the fewest snaps of all the defensive ends on this roster, especially after he started the season so hot. As long as Takk continues to look good and Clayborn’s around, though, I’d expect that kind of usage pattern.

Special Teams

Kemal Ishmael: 27

Sharrod Neasman: 25

Damontae Kazee: 22

C.J. Goodwin: 22

Jermaine Grace: 22

Derrick Coleman: 21

Justin Hardy: 16

Matt Bosher: 16

Terron Ward: 15

Robert Alford: 12

Brooks Reed: 11

Ty Sambrailo: 10


When you look at this, you realize Robert Alford is playing an insane number of snaps. He played 100% of the snaps on defense and close to half the special teams snaps, as well. Other than that, it’s the usual cast of characters, plus Brooks Reed receiving more special teams snaps than is typical.