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Chiefs-Washington snap counts: Safeties swap out; Gordon an afterthought

Let’s take a look at Kansas City’s advanced snap count data from Sunday’s win in Washington.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at San Francisco 49ers Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Washington Football team 31-13 on Sunday, advancing to 3-3 on the season. Let’s see how the Chiefs used their players for a game in which they started cold — but finished hot.


Starters (offensive): WR Tyreek Hill, TE Travis Kelce, LT Orlando Brown Jr., LG Joe Thuney, C Creed Humphrey, RG Trey Smith, RT Mike Remmers, WR Byron Pringle, WR Demarcus Robinson, QB Patrick Mahomes and RB Darrel Williams.

Starters (defensive): LB Willie Gay Jr., LDT Jarran Reed, RDT Derrick Nnadi, RDE Frank Clark, DE Michael Danna, LB Anthony Hitchens, RCB L’Jarius Sneed, LCB Rashad Fenton, LB Nick Bolton, S Juan Thornhill and S Tyrann Mathieu.

Did not play: QB Chad Henne.

Inactive: CB Charvarius Ward, OL Austin Blythe, T Prince Tega Wanogho, G Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, TE Blake Bell and DT Chris Jones.


Offensive takeaways


The Chiefs replaced right tackle Lucas Niang with reserve offensive lineman Mike Remmers for this game. Left tackle Orlando Brown Jr., left guard Joe Thuney, center Creed Humphrey, right guard Trey Smith — and Remmers — played every offensive snap. Niang came in as an extra lineman for one play. Laurent Duvernary-Tardif, Austin Blythe and Prince Tega Wanogho were inactive, while other reserves Nick Allegretti and Andrew Wylie were used only on special teams.

At tight end, starter Travis Kelce was in his usual 80-90% range of use — a bit more in passing plays than in running plays. Since Blake Bell had been held out with an injury, that meant both Jody Fortson and rookie Noah Gray were likely to see more action. But in the third quarter, Fortson left the game — and is likely out for the season — with a torn Achilles tendon. That added up to Gray — inactive in Week 5 — getting his highest use of the season on both offense and special teams. But he was primarily used on offensive running plays; he was never targeted with a pass.

In his first regular-season NFL start, fourth-year running back Darrel Williams was on the field for 72% of the snaps — a higher percentage of use than injured starter Clyde Edwards-Helaire had seen since Week 1. Jerick McKinnon was used exactly as he was behind Williams and Edwards-Helaire; the Chiefs simply opted to give Williams the starting running back’s snaps in addition to his own No. 2 reps — while just-activated Derrick Gore was only used on special teams, where he was apparently used for the snaps Williams and McKinnon were missing.

At wide receiver, Tyreek Hill — who had been listed as questionable for the game with a quad injury — saw a significant decrease from his regular use. But except for Byron Pringle and Josh Gordon, none of the other wideouts saw an uptick; the Chiefs simply used wide receivers a little less than they did the week before. Given that Hill was being used less often, Gordon seeing only a slight increase from 10% to 13% was surprising; head coach Andy Reid’s remarks last week had suggested the new wide receiver’s use could rise significantly in Week 6.


Defensive takeaways


We learned on Sunday morning that the Chiefs intended to start third-year safety Juan Thornhill in place of Daniel Sorensen — which led some to wonder if Sorensen was really going to be fully replaced as the starting safety. The numbers suggest that’s exactly what happened. Thornhill was on the field for 100% of the defensive snaps, while Sorensen was used in roughly the same percentage of snaps as Thornhill had recently been used — and like Thornhill, was used more often on passing plays. Also, note that Thornhill’s special-teams use fell to zero, while Sorensen’s rose to above 30%.

Elsewhere in the secondary, things were normal. The other starting safety, Tyrann Mathieu — along with starting cornerbacks L’Jarius Sneed and Rashad Fenton — were all on the field for every play. It now appears that in Charvarius Ward’s absence, Fenton has locked down the starting outside corner job across from Sneed. Meanwhile, Mike Hughes was back as the primary slot corner — while Deandre Baker moved to special teams.

At the defense’s second level, things didn’t go quite according to plan. After sustaining an elbow injury in a second-quarter collision, starting MIKE linebacker Anthony Hitchens left the field, where he was replaced by now-reserve linebacker Ben Niemann. The No. 56 helmet bore the green dot for the rest of the game.

Interestingly, young linebackers Nick Bolton and Willie Gay Jr. both saw their percentage of use drop a bit from Week 5. But just as they did against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 4, the Chiefs dialed back their linebacker use a little bit on Sunday, averaging fewer than two (1.88) on the field for each play. Just like in Philly, they made up for it with increased use of the slot corner.

Just as we saw against the Buffalo Bills — with Chris Jones still out — Demone Harris (who was again elevated from the practice squad for the game) served as Frank Clark’s backup at defensive end. On the other side, Alex Okafor rotated in behind Michael Danna.

On the inside of the defensive line, Kansas City went with Khalen Saunders rotating in behind starter Jarran Reed on both running and passing plays — while starter Derrick Nnadi was in for the running snaps, giving way to Tershawn Wharton on passing downs.


Data


Offense

Offense All Pass Run
Total 78
(100%)
50
(100%)
28
(100%)
Orlando Brown Jr. 78
(100%)
50
(100%)
28
(100%)
Creed Humphrey 78
(100%)
50
(100%)
28
(100%)
Patrick Mahomes 78
(100%)
50
(100%)
28
(100%)
Mike Remmers 78
(100%)
50
(100%)
28
(100%)
Trey Smith 78
(100%)
50
(100%)
28
(100%)
Joe Thuney 78
(100%)
50
(100%)
28
(100%)
Travis Kelce 63
(81%)
44
(88%)
19
(68%)
Darrel Williams 56
(72%)
33
(66%)
23
(82%)
Demarcus Robinson 54
(69%)
39
(78%)
15
(54%)
Mecole Hardman 49
(63%)
34
(68%)
15
(54%)
Tyreek Hill 43
(55%)
30
(60%)
13
(46%)
Noah Gray 36
(46%)
17
(34%)
19
(68%)
Byron Pringle 31
(40%)
20
(40%)
11
(39%)
Jerick McKinnon 22
(28%)
17
(34%)
5
(18%)
Josh Gordon 11
(14%)
5
(10%)
6
(21%)
Jody Fortson 10
(13%)
8
(16%)
2
(7%)
Michael Burton 5
(6%)
2
(4%)
3
(11%)
Marcus Kemp 5
(6%)
0
(0%)
5
(18%)
Andrew Wylie 4
(5%)
0
(0%)
4
(14%)
Lucas Niang 1
(1%)
1
(2%)
0
(0%)

Defense

Defense All Pass Run
Total 58
(100%)
39
(100%)
19
(100%)
Rashad Fenton 58
(100%)
39
(100%)
19
(100%)
Tyrann Mathieu 58
(100%)
39
(100%)
19
(100%)
L'Jarius Sneed 58
(100%)
39
(100%)
19
(100%)
Juan Thornhill 58
(100%)
39
(100%)
19
(100%)
Frank Clark 47
(81%)
33
(85%)
14
(74%)
Mike Hughes 46
(79%)
32
(82%)
14
(74%)
Ben Niemann 42
(72%)
31
(79%)
11
(58%)
Jarran Reed 40
(69%)
26
(67%)
14
(74%)
Nick Bolton 38
(66%)
22
(56%)
16
(84%)
Michael Danna 35
(60%)
23
(59%)
12
(63%)
Tershawn Wharton 32
(55%)
25
(64%)
7
(37%)
Derrick Nnadi 30
(52%)
16
(41%)
14
(74%)
Alex Okafor 28
(48%)
21
(54%)
7
(37%)
Daniel Sorensen 19
(33%)
16
(41%)
3
(16%)
Willie Gay Jr. 18
(31%)
11
(28%)
7
(37%)
Khalen Saunders 13
(22%)
9
(23%)
4
(21%)
Anthony Hitchens 11
(19%)
5
(13%)
6
(32%)
Demone Harris 7
(12%)
3
(8%)
4
(21%)

Special Teams

Special Teams Snaps
Total 25
(100%)
Marcus Kemp 20
(80%)
Chris Lammons 20
(80%)
Dorian O'Daniel 20
(80%)
Noah Gray 17
(68%)
Armani Watts 16
(64%)
Mike Hughes 14
(56%)
Michael Burton 13
(52%)
Jody Fortson 13
(52%)
Ben Niemann 13
(52%)
Harrison Butker 11
(44%)
Derrick Gore 10
(40%)
Byron Pringle 8
(32%)
Daniel Sorensen 8
(32%)
Tommy Townsend 7
(28%)
James Winchester 7
(28%)
Deandre Baker 6
(24%)
Nick Allegretti 5
(20%)
Nick Bolton 5
(20%)
Orlando Brown Jr. 5
(20%)
Creed Humphrey 5
(20%)
Lucas Niang 5
(20%)
Trey Smith 5
(20%)
Andrew Wylie 5
(20%)
Michael Danna 4
(16%)
Willie Gay Jr. 4
(16%)
Mecole Hardman 4
(16%)
Jerick McKinnon 4
(16%)
Derrick Nnadi 4
(16%)
Alex Okafor 4
(16%)
L'Jarius Sneed 4
(16%)
Tershawn Wharton 4
(16%)
Darrel Williams 4
(16%)
Anthony Hitchens 1
(4%)

All Snaps

All Snaps Off Def ST Total
Total 78
(100%)
58
(100%)
25
(100%)
161
(100%)
Nick Allegretti 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
5
(20%)
5
(3%)
Deandre Baker 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
6
(24%)
6
(4%)
Nick Bolton 0
(0%)
38
(66%)
5
(20%)
43
(27%)
Orlando Brown Jr. 78
(100%)
0
(0%)
5
(20%)
83
(52%)
Michael Burton 5
(6%)
0
(0%)
13
(52%)
18
(11%)
Harrison Butker 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
11
(44%)
11
(7%)
Frank Clark 0
(0%)
47
(81%)
0
(0%)
47
(29%)
Michael Danna 0
(0%)
35
(60%)
4
(16%)
39
(24%)
Rashad Fenton 0
(0%)
58
(100%)
0
(0%)
58
(36%)
Jody Fortson 10
(13%)
0
(0%)
13
(52%)
23
(14%)
Willie Gay Jr. 0
(0%)
18
(31%)
4
(16%)
22
(14%)
Josh Gordon 11
(14%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
11
(7%)
Derrick Gore 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
10
(40%)
10
(6%)
Noah Gray 36
(46%)
0
(0%)
17
(68%)
53
(33%)
Mecole Hardman 49
(63%)
0
(0%)
4
(16%)
53
(33%)
Tyreek Hill 43
(55%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
43
(27%)
Anthony Hitchens 0
(0%)
11
(19%)
1
(4%)
12
(7%)
Mike Hughes 0
(0%)
46
(79%)
14
(56%)
60
(37%)
Creed Humphrey 78
(100%)
0
(0%)
5
(20%)
83
(52%)
Travis Kelce 63
(81%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
63
(39%)
Marcus Kemp 5
(6%)
0
(0%)
20
(80%)
25
(16%)
Chris Lammons 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
20
(80%)
20
(12%)
Patrick Mahomes 78
(100%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
78
(48%)
Tyrann Mathieu 0
(0%)
58
(100%)
0
(0%)
58
(36%)
Jerick McKinnon 22
(28%)
0
(0%)
4
(16%)
26
(16%)
Lucas Niang 1
(1%)
0
(0%)
5
(20%)
6
(4%)
Ben Niemann 0
(0%)
42
(72%)
13
(52%)
55
(34%)
Derrick Nnadi 0
(0%)
30
(52%)
4
(16%)
34
(21%)
Dorian O'Daniel 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
20
(80%)
20
(12%)
Alex Okafor 0
(0%)
28
(48%)
4
(16%)
32
(20%)
Byron Pringle 31
(40%)
0
(0%)
8
(32%)
39
(24%)
Jarran Reed 0
(0%)
40
(69%)
0
(0%)
40
(25%)
Mike Remmers 78
(100%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
78
(48%)
Demarcus Robinson 54
(69%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
54
(34%)
Khalen Saunders 0
(0%)
13
(22%)
0
(0%)
13
(8%)
Trey Smith 78
(100%)
0
(0%)
5
(20%)
83
(52%)
L'Jarius Sneed 0
(0%)
58
(100%)
4
(16%)
62
(39%)
Daniel Sorensen 0
(0%)
19
(33%)
8
(32%)
27
(17%)
Juan Thornhill 0
(0%)
58
(100%)
0
(0%)
58
(36%)
Joe Thuney 78
(100%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
78
(48%)
Tommy Townsend 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
7
(28%)
7
(4%)
Armani Watts 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
16
(64%)
16
(10%)
Tershawn Wharton 0
(0%)
32
(55%)
4
(16%)
36
(22%)
Darrel Williams 56
(72%)
0
(0%)
4
(16%)
60
(37%)
James Winchester 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
7
(28%)
7
(4%)
Andrew Wylie 4
(5%)
0
(0%)
5
(20%)
9
(6%)
Demone Harris 0
(0%)
7
(12%)
0
(0%)
7
(4%)

Editor’s Note: Arrowhead Pride obtains snap count data from the NFL’s game stats and information system, which allows us to break out snap counts by run or pass on offensive and defensive plays. Because GSIS data ignores plays that were nullified by penalties, total offensive and defensive snap counts will vary from other sources, which get their data from NFL Gamebooks