Breaking down Bills' defensive snaps

August, 12, 2014
Aug 12
7:00
AM ET
Before the Buffalo Bills switch gears this week for joint practices with the Pittsburgh Steelers, let's circle back on the Bills' Friday night preseason win over the Carolina Panthers.

Here is a breakdown of the defensive snaps, grouped by the order in which players entered the game on defense:

Defensive end
Mario Williams -- 14 of 75 (starter)
Jerry Hughes -- 13 of 75 (starter)
Manny Lawson -- 18 of 75 (entered in first quarter)
Jarius Wynn -- 24 of 75 (entered in first quarter)
Jacquies Smith -- 29 of 75 (entered in second quarter)
Ikponmwosa Igbinosun -- 30 of 75 (entered in third quarter)
Bryan Johnson -- 22 of 75 (entered in fourth quarter)

Quick-hit thoughts: Nothing too surprising here. Lawson and Wynn gave Williams and Hughes a breather on the Panthers' touchdown drive in the first quarter. Smith was the first on the field among the remaining three, highlighting his status as a player who could push for a roster spot with a strong remainder of the preseason.

Defensive tackle
Kyle Williams -- 13 of 75 (starter)
Marcell Dareus -- 13 of 75 (starter)
Landon Cohen -- 31 of 75 (entered in first quarter)
Corbin Bryant -- 13 of 75 (entered in first quarter)
Stefan Charles -- 36 of 75 (entered in third quarter)
Alan Branch -- 16 of 75 (entered in third quarter)
Damien Jacobs -- 23 of 75 (entered in fourth quarter)

Quick-hit thoughts: The shuffle continues at this position, as Cohen and Bryant were the first pair to spell Williams and Dareus in the first quarter. They remained the duo through the first half, until the start of the second half when Charles and, later, Branch saw time. That's not a good sign for the 29-year old Branch, who also played deep into the second half in the Hall of Fame game. His role on the team is tenuous.

Linebacker
Brandon Spikes -- 16 of 75 (starter)
Keith Rivers -- 11 of 75 (starter)
Nigel Bradham -- 14 of 75 (starter)
Stevenson Sylvester -- 25 of 75 (entered in first quarter)
Preston Brown -- 20 of 75 (entered in second quarter)
Randell Johnson -- 25 of 75 (entered in second quarter)
Jimmy Gaines -- 34 of 75 (entered in third quarter)
Ty Powell -- 39 of 75 (entered in third quarter)
Xavius Boyd -- 12 of 75 (entered in fourth quarter)

Quick-hit thoughts: Sylvester came on as a fourth linebacker when the Panthers' first-team offense had their heavy offensive personnel on the field. He stayed out there with Brown, Johnson, and the second team defense. The two draft picks have been playing ahead of Powell, whose spot on the 53-man roster would likely come through his contributions on special teams.

Cornerback
Stephon Gilmore -- 16 of 75 (starter)
Corey Graham -- 15 of 75 (starter)
Nickell Robey -- 11 of 75 (entered in first quarter)
Ron Brooks -- 20 of 75 (entered in second quarter)
Bobby Felder -- 22 of 75 (entered in second quarter)
Ross Cockrell -- 27 of 75 (entered in third quarter)
Mario Butler -- 30 of 75 (entered in third quarter)
Kamaal McIlwain -- 17 of 75 (entered in third quarter)
Michael Carter -- 25 of 75 (entered in fourth quarter)
Leodis McKelvin -- 0 of 75 (did not play)

Quick-hit thoughts: What stands out the most is that the Bills continue to use Cockrell exclusively as a slot cornerback in preseason games. He still received a healthy dose of reps, but at some point it would make sense for the fourth-round pick to get some game experience on the outside. Instead, the Bills used a combo of Felder -- who signed with the team during training camp -- and Brooks as their outside cornerbacks behind the starters.

Safety
Aaron Williams -- 16 of 75 (starter)
Duke Williams -- 15 of 75 (starter)
Da'Norris Searcy -- 12 of 75 (entered in second quarter)
Jonathan Meeks -- 47 of 75 (entered in second quarter)
Deon Broomfield -- 48 of 75 (entered in third quarter)
JaJuan Harley -- 12 of 75 (entered in third quarter)
Derek Brim -- 0 of 75 (injured/did not play)
Kenny Ladler -- 0 of 75 (injured/did not play)

Quick-hit thoughts: Searcy being bumped from his starting role could have been a result of him not practicing last week because of a family emergency. He saw a small dose of reps in the second quarter and was off the field after that. Duke Williams remains a "rising" player to watch. He and Searcy were the top safety combo in practice over the weekend, with Aaron Williams running with the second team. Duke Williams' first 15 months in Buffalo were quiet, but he's been coming on strong lately.

Mike Rodak

ESPN Buffalo Bills reporter

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