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Falcons snap counts and notes from another loss, ah dangit, another loss

What can we learn from the snap counts this week? Not a ton, but the well isn’t dry just yet.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Atlanta Falcons Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons dropped one in the final seconds, which you may have heard. As always, we’re mining the snap counts to see if the team did anything interesting en route to the loss, and as is often the case, they didn’t do anything mind-blowing.

Still, there are takeaways for the likes of Brandon Powell and Allen Bailey, and you’ll find them below.

Offense

Matt Ryan: 75

Jake Matthews: 75

James Carpenter: 75

Chris Lindstrom: 75

Kaleb McGary: 75

Alex Mack: 74

Julio Jones: 59

Calvin Ridley: 58

Hayden Hurst: 55

Todd Gurley: 53

Luke Stocker: 35

Brandon Powell: 25

Russell Gage: 24

Brian Hill: 17

Keith Smith: 14

Olamide Zaccheaus: 11

Jaeden Graham: 8

Matt Gono: 8

Christian Blake: 5

Ito Smith: 3

Matt Hennessy: 1


The most interesting note was that Powell got significant run in this one, mostly in relief of Russell Gage when he left with his early game injury. That would seem to indicate that the Falcons have specific injury replacements in mind for each of their top three receivers, and Powell is the preferred choice to replace Gage. He had a quiet day, earning two targets and catching one pass for 4 yards, but that’ll be something to keep an eye on going forward.

Otherwise, things lined up much like they always do, with Gurley snagging the majority of snaps at running back, Julio, Ridley and Gage otherwise dominating the receiving group, and Hayden Hurst running away with the tight end snaps. The only other significant note is that Hennessy stepped in for Mack at center when he was briefly injured, as you’d expect, and that Stocker had a larger role than normal on a day where the offense didn’t really get rolling. That may or may not be a coincidence.

Defense

Foye Oluokun: 62

AJ. Terrell: 61

Ricardo Allen: 61

Kendall Sheffield: 60

Grady Jarrett: 57

Keanu Neal: 55

Deion Jones: 53

Dante Fowler Jr: 52

Isaiah Oliver: 45

Steven Means: 42

Allen Bailey: 33

Mykal Walker: 26

Tyeler Davison: 23

Takk McKinley: 22

Charles Harris: 14

Sharrod Neasman: 6

Jacob Tuioti-Mariner: 5

Edmond Robinson: 3

LaRoy Reynolds: 1

Austin Edwards: 1


Oluokun has become one of the team’s most important defenders, and he was the only one to play every snap against the Lions. His emergence bodes well for this team’s future, and the fact that he and Terrell in particular look like good-to-great players makes the next regime’s daunting defensive rebuild look just a bit less daunting.

With Takk not exactly back at 100%, the defensive line rotation ended up looking very interesting. As anticipated, Allen Bailey once again got more run than Tyeler Davison, especially late with the Lions needing to pass. It was interesting on a day where the pass rush really stalled out badly again that Charles Harris couldn’t get more run, but Means has been solid all year and deserves the expanded role. The problem, over and over again, is that nobody except Jarrett can consistently impact the quarterback, which becomes especially glaring late in the game when a team is inevitably trying to pass their way to victory and the Falcons have no answers. I’m not sure that’s a problem that can be solved this year with this personnel.

That’s also true of the coverage, which inevitably broke down late in the game. I’m still waiting to see Isaiah Oliver and Kendall Sheffield’s target counts for this week, but it’s not like T.J. Hockenson was getting loose on those guys. With the year already lost, it’s still really important that Oliver and Sheffield continue to get the chance to take their lumps so they can hopefully be better-positioned to succeed in 2021. Neither one has been great in 2020, but there’s still time for that to change.

There are some pieces to build around here, but the closer look the Falcons get at their youngest, most promising guys the rest of the way, the better.

Special Teams

Sharrod Neasman: 19

Keith Smith: 13

Jacob Tuioti-Mariner: 13

LaRoy Reynolds: 13

Tyler Hall: 13

Jaeden Graham: 10

Luke Stocker: 10


The usual suspects, with the note that Hall is carving out a significant special teams role since joining the active roster. I’m not sure if he sticks around or not, but I’d love to see him become a fixture here and compete for a job in the cornerback corps in 2021.

The only other note here is that it was a fine week from Sterling Hofrichter, who punted 4 times an averaged over 45 yards per punt. He’s actually last in the NFL in that metric thus far in 2020, but that’s not telling the full story because Hofrichter is often being asked to punt on short fields. I’m confident he’ll be solid at worst the rest of the way and well into the future.