It is pretty silly to make any declarations about snap counts after a single week. Matchups can have a significant impact on how much a player plays. Green Bay, for example, is a pass heavy team that resulted in the Seahawks playing nickel far more often than they would against a team like the 49ers. Even with that qualifier, there were some interesting allotments of playing time to point out.
Brandon Mebane (-15.9%)
Mebane was on the field just 35% of the defensive snaps last week after being on there for 51% of the snaps last season. This likely was due to the nature of the Packers offense. Mebane played 33% of the snaps against the Broncos in the Super Bowl. I would have expected more Mebane in there with Eddie Lacy to battle, but the fact that the team stopped the run so well with so little time from their nose tackle is encouraging.
Kevin Williams (-22.5%)
Williams played 784 snaps, or 61.5% of the Vikings defensive snaps last year. It has been well documented that he would play far less here in the hopes that it might be rejuvenating. He played 39% of the snaps last week, which would put him on pace for 384 snaps over the course of a season.
Michael Bennett (+21.5%)
Bennett was signed to a new deal and has become a starting defensive end. He played 79% of the defensive snaps, which was the highest of any of the defensive linemen. That was up from 57.5% of the snaps last year. That’s a heavy load, but one he has handled multiple years before joining Seattle.
Cliff Avril (+12.2%)
Bennett’s buddy, Cliff Avril, also saw an increased role, but nothing he has not seen in Detroit. Avril played 65% of the defensive snaps, second behind Bennett.
K.J. Wright (+15.4%)
Wright was on the field an astonishing 90% of the defensive snaps. He was around 71% last year (which is artificially low due to his injury late in the year).
Malcolm Smith (-30.2%)
This had a direct impact on Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith, who only played 10 snaps on defense. He saw the field 46% of the time in 2013, and played wonderfully. Let us hope the coaching staff finds a way to get him more reps. He always produces.
Ricardo Lockette (+15.4%)
This is a little misleading as Lockette was not on the squad for the full season last year, but he was there at the end of the year, and played only 10% of the snaps in the Super Bowl. He got 17 snaps, or 24% of the total offensive plays, last Thursday, and did nothing to dissuade the coaching staff from continuing to use him more.
Jermaine Kearse (+30.7%)
Kearse went from 46% to 77% of the offensive snaps. As a comparison, Golden Tate was around 75% of offensive snaps last season.
Doug Baldwin (+7.0%)
Baldwin played more than any receiver, including Percy Harvin. He was there for 81% of the snaps. You may wonder how all these receivers are getting more playing time with Harvin back. Part of the answer is the team using a third receiver more than a second tight end against the Packers. And part of it is an increased number of plays. Seattle had 70 offensive snaps, which is about 10 more than they averaged per game last season. Better offense. More snaps.
Robert Turbin (+3.2%)
Lots of discussion about how the running backs snaps would be allotted. After one game, Turbin played a bit more.
Marshawn Lynch (-6.2%)
Lynch played a bit less, but only some of those snaps went to Turbin.
Derrick Coleman (+7.1%)
This is inflated because Coleman is replacing Michael Robinson and was also injured last year, but he played 21% of the snaps, which is roughly equivalent to what the fullback position got last year.