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Devil’s Advocate: Snap Counts For Martavis Bryant

You may recall for the past several offseasons that I ran an article series called The Optimist’s/Pessimist’s Take. I used it to explore different issues and topics the Pittsburgh Steelers were facing and took a positive or negative approach, examining each side in a separate article. This is essentially the same idea behind that, only condensed into one article for every topic.

In this version of the idea, I’ll be playing the Devil’s Advocate for both sides of the issue, looking at the best-case and worst-case scenarios in trying to find the range of likely outcomes of what is likely to happen for the Steelers relating to whatever topic the article is covering.

When it comes to the process of trying to construct a championship roster, the reality is that there are a ton of moving parts, and several ways to acquire said parts. There are a lot of things that can go right or wrong in not always predictable ways, so I think it’s helpful to try to look at issues by seeking out the boundaries of the likely positive or negative results.

Topic: What percentage of offensive snaps is Martavis Bryant likely to play during an average game this season?

When it comes to the offensive side of the ball, I think it would be fair to say that one of the most interesting questions we will have to get the answer to this season is just how much Martavis Bryant is going to play on offense.

He is presumed to be the starter opposite Antonio Brown, and that is a reasonable enough assumption. But that is what he was when he last played in 2015, and he never played within 10 snaps of an entire game.

Outside of the season finale that year, in which he only played 13 snaps, Bryant logged 511 snaps over 10 games, obviously averaging 51.1 snaps a game. But the Steelers played 723 snaps during that span, averaging 72.3 snaps per game.

Overall, he was logging roughly 70 percent of the team’s offensive snaps over that span, with some variability within there. He played 62 of 76 snaps one week, than 40 of 87 the following week, then 58 of 69 the next.

Of course, Bryant is taking his football more seriously than he ever has, so it is reasonable to hypothesize that he is more prepared than ever to take on an even greater workload than he saw earlier in his career.

He admitted earlier this year that he didn’t take training very seriously before, but it is visually evident that that is no longer the case.

But it also can’t be denied that he missed an entire year of football. It is plausible that he could get off to a slow start, which could hinder his playing time, at least early on. And we also must consider the depth that they have at wide receiver this year.

Quite frankly, the Steelers may have too much talent at wide receiver not to make use of the fresh legs throughout the game. And that will mean individual players seeing less playing time than they might otherwise get, which will include everybody that is not a perennial All-Pro.

Which side do you lean closer toward?

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