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Chargers-Dolphins Week 1 snap counts

Let’s look at who saw expanded roles in the first game of the 2023 season.

SPORTS-FBN-DOLPHINS-CHARGERS-MI Al Diaz/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The Chargers certainly didn’t start the season as we all hoped they would, dropping a very winnable game to the Miami Dolphins.

There will be a lot to breakdown this week as we all recover from this bummer of a loss, but let’s start with checking out the snap counts to see who we should expect to get more opportunities as the season progresses.


We can start with the good news - the Chargers entire offensive line played every snap, and Foster Sarell and Will Clapp even got in on some jumbo packages. Everyone from this group walked away unscathed, which is good - if the offense is going to continue improving on the ground, and if we want the air attack to start clicking, these boys up front are going to mean everything has the season wears on.

As we expected based on Kellen Moore’s usage of Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, running backs Austin Ekeler and Joshua Kelley were used much more like a functional tandem than we’ve seen in recent years, and formed the best 1-2 punch we’ve had since Melvin Gordon was splitting carries with Ekeler. Their success in the ground game was the single most exciting part of the day.

Quinten Johnston and Darius Davis only saw 22 and 2 snaps, which is a little disappointing as the Chargers seemed to struggle reaching deeper areas of the field.

We’ll have to monitor Mike Williams and Austin Ekeler throughout the week, as both went down with injuries in the game. They both returned to play, although Ekeler’s return was fairly short-lived as the team went back to Kelley shortly thereafter.


Special Teams

Alohi Gilman, Eric Kendricks, Derwin James, and Michael Davis anchored this unit by playing 100% of the snaps. Kenneth Murray was out there for 90% of the snaps, which was arguably our biggest weakness on the field all game. J.C. Jackson was out there for 66% of the snaps, signaling a full physical return from injury, but still seems to have plenty of rust to shake off.

The most uplifting part of this defensive meltdown was that JT Woods saw action and wasn’t exposed as a liability. Woods fit right in as the rangy free safety Staley needs, and was a reliable tackler. The more he showcases this type of ability, the more Staley will be able to implement creative dime packages that free-up Derwin to be the chess piece Staley wants him to be.

One interesting note is seeing Tanner Muse take Nick Niemann out of some special teams’ formations. Nick has typically mirrored Amen Ogbongbemiga’s usage, but it appears Muse has taken over a special teams’ role from him... that’ll be something to look out for in the rewatch!