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Chiefs vs. Bengals: Making sense of snap counts

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A number of Chiefs dealing with injuries were smartly held out of the first game.

The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Cincinnati Bengals, 38-17, in their first preseason game.

Here were the snap counts for the Chiefs:

Offense

Defense

Special teams

Starters (offensive): WR Sammy Watkins, TE Travis Kelce, LT Eric Fisher, LG Andrew Wylie, C Austin Reiter, RG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, RT Mitch Schwartz, TE Blake Bell, WR Tyreek Hill, QB Patrick Mahomes

Starters (defensive): LDE Tanoh Kpassagnon, LDT Chris Jones, RDT Derrick Nnadi, RDE Breeland Speaks, WLB Anthony Hitchens, SLB Damien Wilson, LCB Charvarius Ward, NB Kendall Fuller, RCB Bashaud Breeland, FS Daniel Sorensen, SS Tyrann Mathieu

Did not play: WR Gehrig Dieter, S Jordan Lucas, RB Damien Williams, DE Frank Clark, DL Emmanuel Ogbah, DL Alex Okafor, DT Xavier Williams


Takeaways, in no particular order

  • The Chiefs were taking no chances with injuries in the first preseason game, which is the correct thing to do. That’s why you didn’t see Dieter, Lucas, Damien Williams, Clark, Ogbah, Okafor and Xavier Williams.
  • Henne is Mahomes’ backup, no questions asked. The Chiefs used the first preseason game to begin their evaluation on QB3: Chase Litton got 32 snaps and Kyle Shurmur got 27
  • The Chiefs took no chances with their most important players on both sides of the football. Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Sammy Watkins received a combined four offensive snaps. Tyrann Mathieu, Chris Jones and Anthony Hitchens only saw a combined six defensive snaps.
  • Rookie wide receiver Mecole Hardman and running back Darwin Thompson had 26 and 25 snaps, respectively. Rookie safety Juan Thornhill and defensive tackle Khalen Saunders had 34 and 32 snaps respectively.
  • Special teams numbers are notable in the TE2 battle. I thought Blake Bell had a slightly better night than Deon Yelder offensively, but Yelder had a team-leading 15 special teams snaps to Bell’s four. Demetrius Harris led the Chiefs with 367 snaps last season, so it makes you wonder if Bell needs to be an above-and-beyond better option on offense to beat out Yelder.