Playing time: High snap counts hurt thin Raiders defense

Playing time: High snap counts hurt thin Raiders defense
January 29, 2014, 3:00 pm
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Nick Roach was on the field for every Raiders defensive snap of the season. (USATSI)

The Raiders frequently cited a worn-down defense for that unit’s late-season decline. The defense struggled mightily down the stretch, giving up 30-plus points in four of the last five weeks.

Optimism from early competitiveness waned as the Raiders struggled with the basics. Tackling became subpar. The four-man pass rush was non-existent.

Coaches cited fatigue and a depth-chart made razor thin by injury for dismal play. The numbers generally tell a different story, especially if given some context. According to NFLPA documents, five Raiders played at least 90 percent of all defensive snaps, seven exceeded 900 in total and three exceeded 1,000. That isn’t too far from normal.

The real issue is that many players were stretched beyond previous limits. A total of 10 non-rookie defenders set a career high in snaps, including six of the top 10 totals.

Who played what volume was also at issue. Strong safety Brandian Ross played 955 snaps after starter Tyvon Branch was lost to a fractured ankle. Ross had taken just 39 snaps at safety before this season, and unsurprisingly struggled with such responsibility.

Linebacker Kaluka Maiava and safety Usama Young barely played on defense despite being expected to be key reserves.

Defensive end Lamarr Houston played a whopping 1,027 snaps, fewer than just four other defensive linemen. Middle linebacker Nick Roach was one of six defenders to play 100 percent of his unit’s snaps. Charles Woodson took 1,067 reps at 37 years old.

Check out every player’s total below. 

Defense play time
(1,074 plays)
1,074 (100%) – MLB Nick Roach
1,067 (99.35%) – FS Charles Woodson
1,020 (94.97%) – DE Lamarr Houston
986 (91.81%) – CB Tracy Porter
977 (90.97%) – OLB Kevin Burnett
955 (88.92%) – SS Brandian Ross
903 (84.08%) – CB Mike Jenkins
766 (71.32%) – DT Vance Walker
677 (63.04%) – DT Pat Sims
615 (57.26%) – DE Jason Hunter
577 (53.72%) – OLB Sio Moore
350 (32.59%) – DT Stacy McGee
337 (31.38%) – CB D.J. Hayden
339 (31.56%) – CB Philip Adams
212 (19.74%) – DT Daniel Muir
196 (18.25%) – FS Usama Young
164 (15.27%) – CB Chimdi Chekwa
124 (11.55%) – DL Jack Crawford
118 (10.99%) – LB Kaluka Maiava
65 (6.05%) – DE Ryan Robinson
64 (5.96%) – SS Tyvon Branch
41 (3.82%) – LB Miles Burris
24 (2.23%) – S Shelton Johnson
5 (0.47) – OLB Kaelin Burnett
2 (0.19%) – DL Ricky Lumpkin