Snaps Lost: Arizona Cardinals
Because each unit plays a different number of snaps over the course of the year, we have created a “Full Time Equivalent” metric. FTE is the total number of missing snaps divided by the number of plays the team ran on that side of the ball. This is 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.
For example, if a team had 1,100 snaps on offense and then lost seven players who combined to play 2,200 snaps, their FTE would be 2.0 (2,200/1,100). This ensures that a team who lost a high volume of players only has a high FTE if those players racked up some significant playing time last season. FTE can only fall between zero (no players left the team) and 11 (fire everyone!) for each side of the ball.
Each team will have a ranking following their FTE, with the first-ranked team in each category (offense, defense, and total) representing the team with the smallest portion of their playing time in need of replacement.
A few caveats before getting into the good stuff:
– Suspensions and injuries that may limit 2015 snap counts are not considered.
– Biggest Losses are purely in terms of snap count, not necessarily in terms of impact.
– All snap counts are Regular Season only.
Overall FTE Lost: 6.73, 28th
FTE Lost: 3.18, 24th
Biggest Losses: Lyle Sendlein (1,089), Paul Fanaika (916), John Carlson (755), Rob Housler (327)
Summary – Both Sendlein and Fanaika struggled in 2014, each grading below -20.0 for their work on the year. At tight end, neither Carlson (-25.0) nor Housler (-8.2) did any better, so while the Cardinals’ losses on offense were plentiful, they don’t seem to be any worse for it.
Replacement Plan – Mike Iupati was brought in from their division rival to help shore up the line. He won’t replace Fanaika directly, but he’ll come in at left guard and bump the oft-injured Jonathan Cooper over to the right side. Ted Larsen will kick inside to Sendlein’s center spot after a poor showing at guard in 2014, and Arizona will hope he’s less exposed as a pass protector there. The Cardinals failed to address the tight end position in free agency or the draft (seventh round, notwithstanding) so it’s likely an open competition between Darren Fells and Troy Niklas, both of whom played sparingly last year.
FTE Lost: 3.55, 24th
Biggest Losses: Larry Foote (1,018), Antonio Cromartie (1,012), Tommie Kelly (726), Sam Acho (483), Dan Williams (427)
Summary – The Cardinals lose two full-timers in Cromartie, who was poached by the Jets, and Foote. At 34 years old, Kelly was allowed to walk even though he was reasonably productive in 2014. Williams took big bucks to take his run-stuffing skills to Oakland, while Acho moved on to Chicago after four underwhelming years in Glendale.
Replacement Plan – One year removed from a torn Achilles, Sean Weatherspoon was signed on a one-year deal and should have the inside track over Kevin Minter to start in place of Foote. The loss of Cromartie may take more than one person to replace. Jerraud Powers should move into the starting role from the nickel, and a fully healthy Tyrann Mathieu could easily double his 438 snaps from last year. The two big departures on the defensive line were countered by the addition of Corey Peters and Cory Redding in free agency and Rodney Gunter in the draft. Acho’s snaps won’t be missed much if Matt Shaughnessy stays healthy (though he’ll reportedly play more inside this year) and second-round pick Markus Golden adapts quickly to the NFL.