Snap counts: Whitehead, young Lions make big contributions

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News
Tahir Whitehead breaks up a pass for the Packers Alonzo Harris in the second quarter Sunday.

The Lions didn't suddenly insert their young players into the lineup after a 1-7 start, but coming out of the bye week, the coaches did make some changes to the depth chart.

And a couple of those alterations seemed to play a big role in the Lions' win in Green Bay Sunday, their first win at Lambeau Field since 1991.

Linebacker Tahir Whitehead, safety Isa Abdul-Quddus and offensive tackle Michael Ola all had their most extensive playing time this season Sunday.

Whitehead played 81 of 87 defensive snaps to lead all linebackers as the coaches chose him to be the one to stay on the field most plays. Previously, Josh Bynes was the linebacker who played the most, but Whitehead got the chance Sunday and thrived with eight tackles, one for loss, one sack and a pass defensed.

Part of Whitehead's extended run was related to Travis Lewis being inactive, though it's unclear if Lewis was out due to his groin injury — he was probable — or for performance reasons.

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Abdul-Quddus made his second start of the season and first with James Ihedigbo active. Coach Jim Caldwell said Ihedigbo's lack of play was due to the team's defensive packages, but considering Ihedigbo played just three snaps compared to the 84 for Abdul-Quddus, the shift might be a sign of things to come.

Abdul-Quddus tied Whitehead with a game-high eight tackles, too.

Ola, meanwhile, was active for just the second time since the Lions claimed him on Oct. 20, and with Cornelius Lucas a healthy scratch, Ola was the top backup tackle. And with right tackle LaAdrian Waddle struggling early and possibly dealing with an injury, Ola ended up playing 58 of 65 offensive snaps compared to eight for Waddle.

Caldwell said the Lions planned to use Ola at some point in the game, but it's unclear if he'll be the primary right tackle moving forward.

Here are some other notable snap counts:

Tight ends: Brandon Pettigrew (46 of 65) and Eric Ebron (32).

Running backs: Joique Bell (39), Theo Riddick (17) and Ameer Abdullah (12).

Cornerbacks: Darius Slay (87 of 87), Nevin Lawson (71), Josh Wilson (54), Quandre Diggs (42) and Crezdon Butler (8).

Linebackers: Whitehead (81), Stephen Tulloch (53), Bynes (40) and Brandon Copeland (1).