It is not remotely surprising that the San Francisco 49ers lost a whole lot of snaps from their 2014 squad. Retirements, free agency departures and a trade have resulted in significant turnover across the roster. We've heard plenty about this, but I wanted to introduce one more metric on the subject.
Pro Football Focus has created a "Full Time Equivalent" metric, which takes the total number of departed snaps and divides it by the number of plays the team ran on that side of the ball. The idea is that the offense, defense and special teams all play different numbers of snaps over the course of a season. PFF describes this as "an equivalent measure of how many full time players (100% snap count) the team would need to add on to make up for their offseason losses, even though very few players actually play a full snap count."
It is not surprising the 49ers rank poorly in this metric. We don't need this to know the 49ers need quite a few replacements. And of course, some players getting full-time snaps are more easily replaceable than others. However, this does provide at least a little more context to this discussion.
PFF's measurement has the 49ers losing 8.09 full time equivalent players, which ranks 31st in the NFL. On offense, the 49ers were 27th, and on defense they were ranked 32nd. PFF provided a "replacement plan". I don't agree with it entirely, but it raises some interesting points.
- Jimmie Ward: They say Ward is a lock to play more than his 270 snaps. If his foot is healthy, this is true. But that remains a big if until we see Ward back on the field.
- Shareece Wright: It would appear the 49ers are much higher on Wright than PFF is. PFF has rated him out poorly, but the 49ers seem intent on getting him into the starting lineup. He'll compete with Dontae Johnson, Keith Reaser, Kenneth Acker and others for a starting role
- Defensive line: They suggest Arik Armstead will have to be a big contributor from Day 1. While I would certainly prefer that, are many people counting on big things from Armstead right away? A return to health for Darnell Dockett, combined with more snaps for Quinton Dial and Tank Carradine strike me as more important for the short term.