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Raiders week 7 snap counts: Curtis Lofton's role continues to diminish

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Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

This offseason, the Raiders picked up Curtis Lofton after the veteran middle linebacker had been released by the Saints. He had big tackle numbers last season, but also had some major weaknesses in his game including his coverage skills. Those weaknesses became too much for the Raiders, and decided they would try something different in week 5 against the Broncos.

What they did was give Neiron Ball the start at outside linebacker and move Malcolm Smith inside. That was the lineup for 62% of the snaps, with Lofton coming in for the other 38%. Their coverage numbers improved considerably with that move, so Sunday when they came back from the bye, they stuck with that plan once again.

Unfortunately, Neiron Ball was lost to a knee injury in the second quarter and ended up playing just 20% of the team's snaps. It would seem that with Ball out of the game, the Raiders would go back to having Lofton in the middle and Smith on the outside, and therefore Lofton would play the other 80% of the snaps. But that is not what happened.

Instead the team went mostly with Ray Ray Armstrong to replace Ball, keeping Smith in the middle. While Lofton played just 27% of the defensive snaps -- his lowest of the season. Lofton's snap counts this season have laid out like this:

Week 1 - Starter 59%
Week 2 - Starter 99%
Week 3 - Starter 100%
Week 4 - Starter 82%
Week 5 - Reserve 38%
Week 7 - Reserve 27%

It seems the Raiders are finding less and less situations where having Lofton on the field is the best option on defense.

Here are the snap counts for the Raiders vs Chargers

Offense

D Penn T 62 100%
J Webb G 62 100% 
A Howard T 62 100% 
G Jackson G 62 100% 
D Carr QB 62 100%
R Hudson C 62 100%
A Cooper WR 55 89% 
M Crabtree WR 47 76%
L Smith TE 34 55% 
L Murray RB 33 53%
S Roberts WR 32 52%
C Walford TE 28 45%
M Rivera TE 20 32% 
T Jones RB 15 24% 
J Olawale FB 15 24% 
M Reece FB 10 16% 
R Helu RB 10 16%
A Holmes WR 9 15% 
K Barnes T 2 3%

Defense

C Woodson FS 90 100%
D Hayden CB 88 98% 
D Amerson CB 88 98%
M Smith LB 85 94%
T Carrie CB 82 91% 
K Mack DE 78 87% 
A Smith LB 75 83% 
M Edwards DE 57 63%
R Armstrong LB 55 61% 
S McGee NT 51 57% 
D Williams DT 41 46% 
N Thorpe CB 40 44% 
C Wilson DE 33 37% 
S Harris DE 33 37%
L Asante FS 24 27%
B Mayowa DE 24 27% 
C Lofton LB 24 27% 
N Ball LB 18 20% 
K McGill CB 4 4%

Special teams

L Alexander LB 25 78%
B Heeney LB 22 69%
T Mays FS 18 56%
S Janikowski K 15 47%
J Condo LS 11 34%
M King P 11 34%
T Bergstrom C 7 22%