The San Francisco 49ers are playing out the string, with draft positioning and roster evaluation firmly on the radar for the final four games of the season. And naturally, that is slowly being reflected in the team’s weekly snap count. I’ve put together a table of the Week 13 snap count below, and you can also read the gamebook PDF.
There are plenty of starters who have remained in place all season, but the biggest change in Week 13 was the decision to start rookie Marcell Harris at strong safety. Jaquiski Tartt started at free safety, and was replaced by Antone Exum after a shoulder injury. Tartt has been dealing with the shoulder injury off and on all season, so his status for Week 14 is up in the air. Harris struggled with tackling and his angles, but even after a relatively poor performance, it would be nice to see him get another starter against a tough Broncos run offense.
The biggest surprise to me was that linebacker Malcolm Smith played every defensive snap. Smith is dealing with tendonitis in his leg and had to leave last week’s game early. He played the whole day and was plenty active. Elijah Lee ended up playing only two snaps after getting a big workload in Week 12.
The defensive side of the ball saw Jullian Taylor getting another double digit workload. A week after playing 17 defensive snaps, Taylor was on the field for 16 such snaps. Pro Football Focus liked what he did on the day, giving him an overall grade of 69.1 (good, not great). The rookie is playing primarily LEO, with three at right end, two at REO, and a handful elsewhere. He would appear to be earning a steady rotational role.
On the offensive side of the ball, Kendrick Bourne remains locked into Pierre Garçon’s role, and at this point could end up starting most of the rest of the season. Dante Pettis started in place of Marquise Goodwin, who remains away from the team while he deals with serious family issues. They’ll continue starting as long as the veterans remain out.
Meanwhile, Richie James continues to get more work than Trent Taylor in the slot. James had 30 snaps, including 20 in the slot, while Taylor had 23 snaps, including 17 in the slot. I’m not entirely sure what the deal is at this point.
Finally, Jeff Wilson was a busy bee on Sunday. He was a workhorse, playing 55 snaps while Matt Breida’s ankle limited him to ten snaps. Third string running back Matthew Dayes was active, but was limited to special teams work.
49ers snap count vs. Seahawks, Week 13