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Falcons snap counts from a 24-10 win over the Panthers

Notes and news from the snap counts for the first game of the season.

Carolina Panthers v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

We finally put the preseason behind us and watched the Falcons win a game on Sunday. What do the snap counts tell us about the game?

Nothing overly surprising, as it turns out, though there are still worthwhile notes concerning how the team divvied up playing time. Let’s get to the counts.


Desmond Ridder: 52 (100%)

Jake Matthews: 52

Matthew Bergeron: 52

Drew Dalman: 52

Chris Lindstrom: 52

Kaleb McGary: 52

Drake London: 47

Mack Hollins: 33

Bijan Robinson: 33

Kyle Pitts: 32

Tyler Allgeier: 29

Jonnu Smith: 26

MyCole Pruitt: 25

Keith Smith: 10

Scotty Miller: 10

KhaDarel Hodge: 7

Parker Hesse: 7

Godwin Igwebuike: 1

You would not know that the Falcons played their top receiving weapons quite a bit in this one, given that they primarily wound up blocking. Having a pair of starters who can do that well ensures they’re still mighty useful players even when the team isn’t slinging it, even if that’s not necessarily the most efficient version of this offense. The good news is that the team clearly recognizes that and we shouldn’t see many repeats of this past Sunday’s extremely conservative gameplan through the air.

The team’s pecking order at tight end was reinforced in the first game, where the team parked John FitzPatrick, called up Parker Hesse off the practice squad to chip in a few snaps on offense, and gave most of the work to (in descending order) Kyle Pitts, Jonnu Smith, and MyCole Pruitt. For a guy who originally joined up partway through the 2023 season, Pruitt has taken on a major role; it’s a credit to his strength as a blocker that he’s supplanting Hesse and FitzPatrick, at least for now.

The split between the backs, meanwhile, was pretty even. This was not a surprise to those of us who saw Allgeier having a major role in an offense that has plenty of touches for a pair of talented backs, and it’s likely to be the norm unless one of Robinson or Allgeier is struggling. This has the makings of the league’s most effective running back tandem, and throwing Cordarrelle Patterson back into the mix is going to make it truly unfair.

Otherwise, there are few surprises here, and we got a first look at this offensive line together for a full game. The upshot? Pass protection is a work in progress and perhaps a concern, while the run blocking is going to be stellar once again.


Richie Grant: 77 (100%)

Tre Flowers: 77

Kaden Elliss: 77

A.J. Terrell: 77

Troy Andersen: 76

Dee Alford: 72

Jessie Bates: 72

Calais Campbell: 51

Bud Dupree: 50

Grady Jarrett: 49

David Onyemata: 40

Lorenzo Carter: 34

Albert Huggins: 25

Zach Harrison: 23

Ta’Quon Graham: 23

Arnold Ebiketie: 18

Jaylinn Hawkins: 5

Nate Landman: 1

There’s quite a bit to unpack here.

First of all, the Falcons can’t ask Campbell to play that much all that often this year. He was fine and looked like classic Campbell on a couple of plays, but wasn’t the major factor he can be with fewer snaps and better situational usage. It’s worth noting that he only played 51 or more snaps once a year ago and four times in 2021; getting him somewhere between 30-40 in high-leverage situations makes much more sense to me. That should directly lead to larger roles for younger players like Graham, Harrison, and Ebiketie, who all got much more limited run.

It’s surprising, by the way, to see Huggins out-snapping Harrison and Graham. Huggins is very clearly a Ryan Nielsen guy—they were both in New Orleans the previous two seasons—but I have yet to see him deliver in a way that suggests he should be out-snapping Graham and Harrison early on, especially after the Panthers ran right at him Sunday. That was reflected in his Pro Football Focus grade, a defense-low 38.7, and makes you wonder why the team was so keen to let go of Joe Gaziano.

Another thing that should change in the weeks ahead: The zero playing time on defense for DeAngelo Malone and comparatively limited playing time for Arnold Ebiketie. The duo were two of the team’s more effective pass rushers a year ago—I realize that’s not saying much—and Ebiketie was at least useful on his limited snaps on Sunday. I imagine he’ll get more run as the games wear on.

Finally, give Flowers his flowers, as even on a day where the Panthers couldn’t field a particularly intimidating receiving corps, the veteran fill-in played well outside of a penalty. He may have to do this again versus the Packers a week from now, so it was encouraging to see him hold up.

Special Teams

Jaylinn Hawkins: 22 (85%)

Tae Davis: 22

Keith Smith: 19

DeMarcco Hellams: 18

Nate Landman: 17

Bradley Pinion: 16

DeAngelo Malone: 15

KhaDarel Hodge: 13

Clark Phillips: 12

Liam McCullough: 11

Richie Grant: 9

Dee Alford: 8

Godwin Igwebuike: 8

Tre Flowers: 7

Troy Andersen: 7

MyCole Pruitt: 7

Scotty Miller: 7

Parker Hesse: 7

Calais Campbell: 6

Lorenzo Carter: 5

Zach Harrison: 5

Arnold Ebiketie: 5

Mack Hollins: 5

Matthew Bergeron: 4

Jake Matthews: 4

Kyle Hinton: 4

Kaleb McGary: 4

Isaiah Prince: 4

Ryan Neuzil: 4

Younghoe Koo: 4

Grady Jarrett: 2

David Onyemata: 2

Bud Dupree: 1

Albert Huggins: 1

Ta’Quon Graham: 1

Your core special teamers should not come as a surprise. Hawkins and Smith have been constants for Atlanta here over the past few seasons, while Davis and Hellams were added with an eye on their special teams value.

Interestingly enough, despite their heavy duties on defense and offense respectively, Troy Andersen and Mack Hollins figured into major roles on special teams as well. As Aaron Freeman noted, Andersen was in as a personal protector while Hollins took gunner duties on. Whether that continues or was just an experiment remains to be seen.

The team also switched up punt returner duties, plugging Scotty Miller in for Alford, a move that Arthur Smith said was sparked by how much work Alford was getting on defense. Expect a little bit of that going forward, with Mike Hughes also potentially rotating in when he’s active.

Finally, it should be noted once again that Pinion did a great job of pinning Carolina deep, making Bryce Young work for his success all day long. That was a critical piece of the puzzle in keeping the Panthers out of the end zone, and the Falcons’ specialists are blessedly locked in.