Packers Snap Counts: New coach LaFleur gets TEs involved

New Green Bay head coach Matt LaFleur came to the Packers with the reputation that he liked getting tight ends involved in the offense.

It’s just one game, so small sample size alert, but he confirmed those suspicions in Green Bay’s Week 1 10-3 win at Chicago.

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While last year Jimmy Graham would often receive far and away the most playing time among the tight ends, in the opener Graham and Marcedes Lewis had nearly identical snap counts. Graham appeared in 38 plays (59%) and Lewis 34 (53%). Only once last year did the Packers have two tight ends appear in 50+% of the snaps in a game.

Against the Bears, Robert Tonyan also got in for 20 snaps (31%).

According to SportSource Analytics, the Packers ran 22 of 57 plays with two tight ends in formation (19 of those in “12” personnel, in which Green Bay gained 121 yards, or 6.4 per play).

The three tight ends combined for 10 of quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ 28 targets (35.7%) and six of the 18 catches. And, of course, Graham accounted for the only touchdown in the game for either side.

Lewis had two catches on three targets. Last season he had three catches on four targets all season despite playing in all 16 games. He never had more than one target in any contest.

Yup, it’s a new era in Green Bay.

Other notes from Thursday’s snap counts:

— It appears as though the Packers are going to get their money’s worth with their big free-agent signings. Linebacker Preston Smith appeared in all but one defensive snap and fellow linebacker Za’Darius Smith was in on all but six. Both made an impact as well. Preston Smith finished with five tackles, 1.5 sacks, a tackle for loss and three quarterback hits while Za’Darius Smith also had three QB hits to go with his three tackles, sack and TFL.

— The other big signing, safety Adrian Amos played all 73 defensive snaps, one of five defensive players to not come off the field.

— With the use of tight ends, it meant the Packers used mainly only three wide receivers and only one, Davante Adams, appeared in more than 2/3 of the snaps.

— Trevor Davis was the fourth wide receiver, with 19 snaps (30%). It was the third-highest percentage of offensive snaps he’s taken. In 2016, he played 36 snaps (58.1%) at Atlanta in Week 8 and in 2017 in a meaningless final-regular season game at Detroit he had 39 snaps (57.4%). In two games last season, Davis did not play on offense. The only other receiver to play was Jake Kumerow, who got one snaps.

— It was presumed Ty Summers would start at inside linebacker for the injured Oren Burks. However, Summers only played on special teams.

— While first-round pick safety Darnell Savage was one of the five defenders to appear in 100% of the snaps, the other first-round pick, defensive end Rashan Gary, who was drafted higher, was only in on six plays.

OFFENSE

PLAYER Plays (64) %
Bulaga 64 100%
Bakhtiari 64 100%
Linsley 64 100%
Taylor 64 100%
Turner 64 100%
Rodgers 64 100%
Adams 62 97%
Valdes-Scantling 42 66%
Jones 38 59%
Graham 35 55%
Lewis 34 53%
Allison 32 50%
Williams 26 41%
Tonyan 20 31%
Davis 19 30%
Vitale 11 17%
Kumerow 1 2%

DEFENSE

PLAYER Plays (73) %
Amos 73 100%
Savage 73 100%
Martinez 73 100%
Williams 73 100%
Alexander 73 100%
P. Smith 72 99%
Z. Smith 67 92%
Greene 56 77%
Clark 56 77%
Lowry 47 64%
King 42 58%
T. Brown 27 37%
Fackrell 23 32%
Adams 22 30%
Lancaster 14 19%
Gary 6 8%
Jackson 3 4%
F. Brown 3 4%