Patriots snap counts: DL Adam Butler’s big day!

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Patriots’ personnel packages and snap counts certainly vary from week to week and opponent to opponent. Each week WEEI.com takes a look at New England’s snap counts from that particular game and breaks 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 observations and takeaways from the Patriots’ snap count totals in Sunday’s gritty-if-ugly win over the Cardinals:

--New England played 53 offensive snaps against Arizona, second-fewest this season trailing only the blowout loss to the 49ers.

--Offensive linemen Joe Thuney, David Andrews, Shaq Mason and Michael Onwenu and QB Cam Newton were the only Patriots to play all the offensive snaps against the Cardinals.

--With Isaiah Wynn placed on IR with a knee injury, veteran Jermaine Eluemunor made his first start as a Patriot at left tackle and played 39 snaps (74 percent), while rookie Justin Herron also saw 15 snaps (38 percent) in his return from a stint on IR.

--RB Sony Michel returned to the game day roster after his own IR stint and being a healthy scratch in Houston, but the former lead back played just one offensive snap (2 percent) and one special teams snap. He did not record a carry.

--New England used a pretty tight rotation among its skill position players against Arizona. Ryan Izzo played 51 snaps (96 percent).
It was the fifth time this year Izzo has played in at least 93 percent of the offensive snaps, though he was not targeted with a pass in that action against the Cards.

--Damiere Byrd (45 snaps, 85 percent) and Jakobi Meyers (50 snaps, 94 percent) were by far the top receivers in the win. Meyers tied for a game high with five catches on six targets for 52 yards. Byrd tied for a game high with seven targets, though it resulted in just three catches for 33 yards.

--N’Keal Harry played 26 snaps (49 percent), but did little with the playing time. The second-year former first-round pick had yet another penalty and a drop, failing to catch a pass in his three targets. It’s the third time this year and second time in three games that Harry has been targeted but did not catch a pass. Harry has now caught one or fewer passes in seven of the 16 regular season games he’s played in his NFL career.

--Damien Harris played 34 snaps (64 percent), finishing with 14 rushes for 47 yards (3.4 avg.) with an 18-yard long.

--James White saw 20 snaps (38 percent). With Rex Burkhead lost for the season to a knee injury, White notched his first two touchdowns of the season, tallying 5 rushes for 18 yards and two scores to go with one catch for a 1-yard loss. White was the only non-WR targeted with a pass in the hard-fought win.

--The Patriots played a season-high 74 defensive snaps in the win over the Cardinals, eight more than in any other game this season.

--Devin McCourty and Stephon Gilmore were the only defenders on the field for every snap.

--New England played a bit less defensive back-heavy looks against Arizona. McCourty, Gilmore, J.C. Jackson (62 snaps, 84 percent), Kyle Dugger (54 snaps, 73 percent) and Adrian Phillips (52 snaps, 70 percent) were on the field for nearly three quarters of all snaps.

--Jonathan Jones (41 snaps, 55 percent) and Jason McCourty (31 snaps, 42 percent) were next in the secondary rotations.

--Jason McCourty actually played his lowest percentage of defensive snaps in a game all season. McCourty played less than 50 percent of snaps for the second straight week after playing all 100 percent of snaps the preceding three games against the Bills, Jets and Ravens.

--Ja’Whaun Bentley had the most snaps of any front seven player, on the field for 61 plays (82 percent). Bentley notched a career-high 13 tackles, including his key stop on the goal line on the final play of the first half.

--Chase Winovich continued to be nearly an every-down player, with 60 snaps (81 percent). Winovich was third on the team with five solo tackles, including a sack. Winovich has topped 80 percent of defensive snaps in three straight games, the first three times this season he surpassed that mark after bottoming out by playing just five snaps in Buffalo to open the month of November.

--Adam Butler played 47 snaps (64 percent) on the defensive line in maybe the most active game of his career. With a season-high 64 percent play time, Butler had five tackles, a sack, two tackles for a loss, three QB hits and a pass defensed on a batted ball that ended up as an interception for Phillips.

--DL Akeem Spence made his Patriots debut as a practice squad call-up. Spence played 14 snaps (19 percent) in his New England debut, including as a key part of the huge goal line stand to close out the first half. Spence had four tackles.

--Twenty different players played at least two defensive snaps for the Patriots in beating the Cards. Nineteen players played double digit snaps on defense with 15 playing 22 percent or more snaps.