Patriots snap counts: Rex Burkhead maximizes his playing time


Patriots’ personnel packages and snap counts certainly vary from week to week and opponent to opponent. Each week will take a look at New England’s snap counts from that particular game and break down not only what they meant in that week’s matchup, but also what trends might be developing with certain players’ playing time.

Here are a few takeaways from the Patriots snap count totals from Sunday’s pull-away victory over the Raiders at Gillette Stadium:

--New England played 69 snaps on offense compared to 59 snaps on defense. The 69 snaps on offense were three fewer than the season-high 72 played a week earlier in Seattle. The 59 defensive snap were a season low through three weeks of action.

--After two starts as a jumbo tight end and rotational time at right tackle, rookie Michael Onwenu earned his first NFL start at left guard and played all 69 snaps in the win, more than the first two weeks combined.

--Four of the five members of the offensive line played all 69 snaps, the exception being left tackle Isaiah Wynn. Wynn played 59 snaps (86-percent) after being listed on Friday’s injury report with a calf issue. That allowed rookie Justin Herron to play 10 snaps.

--Rex Burkhead led all running backs in snaps with 32 (46 percent). That was a drop from the 51 snaps (70.8 percent) he played against the Seahawks. Burkhead’s load – and production – have increased with James White’s absence over the last two weeks. The versatile Burkhead squeezed a game-high seven receptions (on 10 targets) for 49 yards and six rushes for 49 yards out of his 32 snaps on the way to a three-touchdown performance.

--Damiere Byrd continues to be New England’s No. 1 receiver in terms of snap counts. Byrd logged 66 snaps (96 percent) against Las Vegas, catching all three passes thrown his way for 27 yards. Byrd has been on the field more than any other receiver in each of his first three games in a Patriots uniform.

--Julian Edelman was on the field for a season-high 56 snaps (81-percent), while N’Keal Harry took 46 snaps (67 percent). It was a season-low snap total for Harry, who had two catches for 34 yards while contributing to the running game as a downfield blocker. Edelman had just two catches for 23 yards on six targets.

--RB Sony Michel certainly had a pretty efficient day, turning 26 snaps (38 percent) into a 117-yard rushing performance on just nine attempts that include the two longest runs (38 and 48 yards) of his two-plus year career. He also had two catches for 23 yards, giving him 11 touches in his 26 snaps.

--Undrafted rookie RB J.J. Taylor more than doubled his snap counts to date, logging 15 plays (22 percent) against the Raiders. He had 11 rushes for 43 yards and one target in those 15 snaps that injected some life into the offense.

--Rookie tight end Devin Asiasi remains quiet in his role as the No. 2 guy behind veteran Ryan Izzo. Izzo saw a season-low 43 snaps (62 percent) against Las Vegas, while Asiasi had a career-high 29 snaps (42 percent). Neither player recorded a reception, with Izzo earning the only target.

--Devin McCourty was the only defensive player to play all 59 snaps, with Stephon Gilmore missing a single play. It’s the second straight week McCourty has played every snap.

--Gilmore (98 percent), J.C. Jackson (51 snaps, 86 percent) and Jonathan Jones (49, 83 percent) all play 80-plus percent of the snaps against Las Vegas.

--Ja’Whaun Bentley was the only player on the front seven to play at least 80 percent of the snaps, with 47 plays.

--DL Deatrich Wise saw a nice bump in playing time, on the field for 39 snaps (66 percent) against the Raiders after playing less than 40 percent of the snaps in each of the first two weeks. Wise had an impact, finishing fourth on the team with 5 tackles, including a half sack, while also recovering a fumble in the end zone for a fourth quarter touchdown.

--Eight different defensive linemen/linebackers saw the field for at least 40 percent of the snaps against the Raiders.

--Adrian Phillips continues to be a key cog as the No. 2 safety, logging 35 snaps (59 percent) against Las Vegas. The veteran newcomer tied with Jones for the team lead with seven tackles.

--Kyle Dugger saw his playing time drop slightly from a week earlier in Seattle. The top pick had 25 snaps (42 percent) against the Raiders.

--Shilique Calhoun had a pair of forced fumbles and a half sack in his 27 snaps (46 percent), the second time in three games he’s been around the 50 percent playtime mark.