Snap observations: Lions lean on defensive backs in victory
Detroit — As the Detroit Lions try to figure out a way to slow opposing quarterbacks, defensive coordinator Teryl Austin continues to mix and match his personnel in the defensive backfield.
Against Washington, Detroit heavily utilized a number of nickel and dime packages, seeking to hinder quarterback Kirk Cousins. Safety Glover Quin was the constant, playing all 73 defensive snaps, while cornerbacks Quandre Diggs, Nevin Lawson and Johnson Bademosi, as well as safety Tavon Wilson, were all on the field at least 70 percent of the plays. Three other safeties — Rafael Bush, Miles Killebrew and Don Carey — combined for another 52 snaps.
In total, the Lions averaged five defensive backs on the field during Washington's offensive plays. Still, it didn't do much to limit Cousins. He completed 30-39 for 301 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions.
Here are some additional observations from the snap count report:
• Zach Zenner continued to lead the backfield rotation, playing double the snaps as Justin Forsett. That was down from the 4-to-1 ratio last week.
• Rookie linebacker Antwione Williams moved back ahead of Thurston Armbrister on the depth chart. Williams played 28 snaps in the victory while Armbrister was relegated to special teams.
• With the Lions going heavy on defensive backs, the defensive tackles were the group that ceded playing time. The four interior linemen combined for 102 snaps, each playing 25 or 26 snaps. The team was more inclined to utilize an extra defensive end and line them up inside. That helped keep the consistently productive Kerry Hyder on the field. He led the defensive linemen with 52 reps.
• Guard Laken Tomlinson, who lost his starting job to Graham Glasgow, played five special teams snaps.
• Cornelius Lucas, working as a blocking tight end, worked eight offensive snaps, his first of the season.
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