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Mailbag: Inside Playing Time Decisions

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Q: (Uchenna) Nwosu had a good preseason and then only played two snaps. Why? – William Sirois

A: There are so many factors that go into how playing time is distributed, including the personnel of the team you are going up against. Head Coach Anthony Lynn explained that was the case with Nwosu in the season opener. I’ll simply share what he had to say on the matter since it sums everything up nicely:

"It's just whenever they go big. Uchenna hasn't played the position (at big defensive end). I hate to put a guy in a position that he hasn't played all year. He has been an outside linebacker and comes in sometimes to back up Melvin (Ingram) at the Leo spot, but as opposed to the big end, he hasn't played one down of that. That's part of why you didn't see him in there that much."

Q: What did you think of Austin Ekeler and Melvin Gordon’s usage? Seemed like Melvin Gordon was on the field a lot more than Ekeler. – Miguel S.

A: Yes, Gordon was on the field more than Ekeler 62 snaps to 22, but I’m not sure I get the point you are trying to make. I’m not sure how anyone could disagree with how the Bolts used both running backs. As I wrote earlier this week, the duo proved to be a lethal combination. Gordon had 24 touches and 166 yards from scrimmage, which was the fourth-most in the NFL. Meanwhile, Ekeler averaged 7.8 yards per carry and added a career-high 87 receiving yards in addition to one touchdown. If the Bolts get that kind of production on a regular basis from their top two backs they’ll likely be one of the top performing duos in the NFL. So, here’s to hoping this usage is the recipe to continued success.

Q: Are you concerned about the dropped passes? – Jason Brooks

A: Not a bit. Those drops were completely uncharacteristic of this receiving corps over the last few years they’ve been together. If anything, and now this may sound weird, but it left me awfully encouraged about the future for this offense. If they were able to lead the NFL with 541 total yards of offense even with those mistakes, imagine how good they can be once they clean them up! Now, are the Bolts going to address the number of drops they had last week? Absolutely. But there is no reason to be concerned about it just yet. Here’s what Lynn said about the topic as well:

“Well, you have to address it, but I don't dwell on it and don't try to beat a guy down because of it. I try to encourage these guys so they can make the next play. The most important thing is staying in the present — forget about that, we can't do anything about those now. Let's stay in the present and go make plays this week. … You don't flinch and keep playing. Those guys (Travis Benjamin and Tyrell Williams) — they're good receivers. They'll bounce back.”

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