Snap counts: Myers, Jenkins played larger roles for Bucs
The participation chart from the Bucs' 19-9 loss to the Texans on Sunday shows a few surprising things about the snaps at key position, especially at cornerback, where Alterraun Verner has found his role significantly limited.
Verner started every game he played last season, but he's seen his snaps drop in three games this year, from 73 percent in the opener against the Titans to 46 percent against the Saints and now 31 percent against the Texans.
It was expected that Tim Jennings (who played in 91 percent of the snaps Sunday) would start ahead of Verner, but what was surprising was how the Bucs responded to starter Johnthan Banks playing only 10 snaps before suffering a knee injury. Mike Jenkins, who had been inactive the first two games with a hamstring injury, stepped up and played 56 snaps, nearly double what Verner played, suggesting Verner might now be the team's fourth cornerback in the pecking order. Verner had practiced at nickel for the first time this week, but Sterling Moore played 65 snaps in that package.
Another interesting shift was at tight end, where the Bucs had announced Luke Stocker as a starter in place of the injured Austin Seferian-Jenkins. But it was Brandon Myers who started, and ended up playing much more than Stocker, taking 41 snaps to Stocker's 25. In the first two games, Stocker had 61 snaps to Myers' 20, and Myers was targeted on four passes Sunday, catching three for 18 yards; Stocker didn't have any passes thrown his way.
And as much talk as there was in preseason about Doug Martin being the primary ballcarrier, he was on the field for only one snap more than Charles Sims, who had the Bucs' only touchdown on a 32-yard pass play. Martin had 14 carries for 46 yards, with Sims getting only 11 yards on his six carries, but Sims' receiving work actually gave him more total yards. Martin had zero touches in the fourth quarter, while Sims had five.
It's also curious to see how much the Bucs went to receiver Mike Evans on Sunday -- in his first full game after being limited by a hamstring injury, Evans was targeted on 17 passes -- six more than in any game his rookie season. He finished with seven catches for 101 yards, but had a few costly drops and an offensive pass interference penalty. By contrast, Vincent Jackson played more snaps Sunday, but had just four passes thrown his way, catching two for 40 yards.