The San Francisco 49ers were thumped by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 12, but one silver lining to the game was the chance to see more young talent than in recent weeks. It was a bad loss, but ideally it was a sign that the 49ers are willing to further sacrifice wins at the altar of roster assessment.
I’ve posted the snap count below, and you can also read the gamebook PDF. The snap count reveals some notable changes. We knew something was up right off the bat when inactives arrived. The decision to deactivate Alfred Morris even though he was not on the injury report was the first sign. The team promoted Jeff Wilson over the weekend, and he ended up getting running back work ahead of fellow recent addition Matthew Dayes. Wilson rushed seven times for 33 yards with one reception for eight yards, and nearly had a rushing touchdown.
Pierre Garçon was inactive with a knee injury and Marquise Goodwin was inactive while dealing with some family issues. This led to Kendrick Bourne and Dante Pettis starting and getting extensive work. Bourne has been the regular starter in place of Garçon, while Pettis has gotten starting opportunities in place of Goodwin. If Goodwin returns next week, Pettis’ snap count will be something to watch.
Speaking of the receivers, Richie James was the third busiest receiver, with 31 offensive snaps. He played 20 in the slot, 10 outside, and one in the backfield. Meanwhile, Trent Taylor played only nine snaps — eight outside and one in the slot. I have to think Taylor’s back is a big problem for him. What else explains this drastic decline after such a solid rookie season?
Rookie defensive lineman Jullian Taylor was active for the first time this season. He finished with one tackle, and a fairly positive graded performance by Pro Football Focus. He played 17 snaps, including nine at LEO, four at REO, three at right end, and one at defensive tackle.
Also on defense, Malcolm Smith saw a steep decline in his work. He was listed as the starting weak side linebacker following Foster’s release (inactive until his release is formalized on Monday), but Elijah Lee nearly doubled him up in snaps. Smith played 26 defensive snaps, while Lee played 49. Mark Nzeocha was the primary SAM linebacker, while Dekoda Watson stuck to his edge rusher role. One has to wonder what Smith’s future is with the 49ers.
Finally, the secondary saw rotation at free safety. Jimmie Ward broke his arm and left after four defensive snaps. D.J. Reed replaced him, but suffered a heel injury of his own. Reed played 22 snaps, and was replaced by Antone Exum — who closed out the game playing 46 snaps after
49ers snap count vs. Bucs, Week 12