I don't always go too deep into snap counts -- they often need context, and things can change a bit from game to game depending on circumstances and game-planning. When opposing offenses, for instance, are almost always running three receivers on the field (or lining up with three players wide), the Cards are going to stay in what has essentially become their regular defense of nickel, with two linebackers and five defensive backs. It's why Antoine Bethea, Tre Boston and Budda Baker have barely come off the field this season.
But after Sunday's game against the Bears, there were some snap counts to note given some of the storylines developing around the team. To note -- the Cardinals had 50 total plays on offense, and 74 on defense.
-- In their first game back after serious injuries, tight end Jermaine Gresham played 17 snaps, while defensive end Markus Golden was in for only 12 snaps. Golden did start.
-- Bené Benwikere played 34 defensive snaps, his highest total in a game since he played in Carolina a couple of years ago. Benwikere not only was used in dime work at times but he supplanted No. 2 cornerback Jamar Taylor late in the game. (Taylor still played 55 snaps himself.)
-- Josh Bynes has emerged as the team's top linebacker. He played all 74 snaps. Gerald Hodges played 58. Haason Reddick was only used on four defensive snaps, and Deone Bucannon -- whose defensive role was changing the week before in Los Angeles -- only played one (although Bucannon was used on 20 special teams snaps, tied for most on the team with Benwikere and new linebacker Joe Walker.)
-- On offense, I had someone ask why Larry Fitzgerald wasn't in the game, given his two targets. He was. Fitz still played 48 of a possible 50 snaps.
-- J.J. Nelson was in for six snaps. As much as Christian Kirk has emerged as the other top wideout besides Fitz, he played fewer snaps (37) than Chad Williams (43).
-- There's a lot of talk about David Johnson and the plays he wasn't in for, understandably. He did play 43 snaps, however. Chase Edmonds played eight snaps. The Cardinals only used fullback Derrick Coleman on five offensive snaps.