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Chiefs-Titans snap counts: Robinson’s use mystifies; Jones plays inside more

Let’s take a look at the advanced snap count data from Kansas City’s loss to the Titans on Sunday.

Kansas City Chiefs v Tennessee Titans Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

In Week 7, the Kansas City Chiefs were dominated by the Tennessee Titans in a 27-3 road loss, once again dropping their season record under .500.

Let's see how the Chiefs used their players during a very disappointing outing.


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

Starters (defensive): LB Willie Gay Jr., LDT Jarran Reed, DT Chris Jones, RDT Derrick Nnadi, RDE Frank Clark, LB Ben Niemann, RCB L’Jarius Sneed, LCB Rashad Fenton, LB Nick Bolton, S Juan Thornhill and S Tyrann Mathieu.

Did not play: None

Inactive: CB Deandre Baker, FB Michael Burton, LB Anthony Hitchens, OL Austin Blythe, T Prince Tega Wanogho and G Laurent Duvernay-Tardif.


Offensive takeaways


Before we address individual players, it's worth noting that Kansas City passed on 81% of its offensive plays in Sunday's game while running the ball on just 19%. It's normal, of course, for the Chiefs to pass significantly more often than they run. But that was the team's highest percentage of passing plays in any game this year — or even in all of last year — while the team scored the fewest points in either season.

As always, we see the emphasis on offensive line continuity. Mike Remmers again started at right tackle — making it clear that at least until circumstances change, the team intends to use him instead of Lucas Niang — playing alongside left tackle Orlando Brown Jr., left guard Joe Thuney, center Creed Humphrey and right guard Trey Smith for every offensive snap. Niang only played on special teams — along with the other active offensive line backups Nick Allegretti and Andrew Wylie.

At tight end, starter Travis Kelce's use fell a bit below his normal range (between 80-90%) — but with Jody Fortson now on injured reserve, Blake Bell getting only 9% of the snaps after missing Week 6 against the Washington Football Team and fullback Michael Burton being inactive for the game, rookie Noah Gray still had to carry more of the load than usual. Still, his use on both offense and special teams was down just a bit from the season-high percentages he recorded in Week 6. That added up to reduced use of tight ends against the Titans; an average of just 1.13 were on the field for each offensive snap, which was the lowest of the season.

At running back, the Chiefs continued on the course they set in Week 6: Darrel Williams was the bell cow with Jerick McKinnon behind him — both fairly consistent with their use in the week before — while Derrick Gore got a handful of offensive plays during his second game on the active roster.

But on offense, wide receiver is the position where things get interesting. As he continued to work back from an injury, Tyreek Hill's use increased from a season-low in Week 6. But among the other wideouts, Demarcus Robinson had the most use — followed by Mecole Hardman and Byron Pringle. And despite being named a starting wide receiver for the game, Josh Gordon had only eight snaps — just 12% of the offensive plays.

Through seven games, both Pringle and Hardman have higher catch percentages, more receptions and more receiving yards — but Robinson has more snaps than either one of them. All of that was true during Sunday's game, too. Meanwhile, the continuation of Gordon's minor role — this time as a starter — is also... mysterious.


Defensive takeaways


In coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's defensive scheme, we typically see the starting safeties and cornerbacks on the field for every (or nearly every) play. That was true for cornerback L'Jarius Sneed and safeties Tyrann Mathieu and Juan Thornhill during Sunday's game. But with nominal starter Charvarius Ward coming back from an injury that kept him out of the four previous games, he was on the field for just 63% of the plays — and, as is typically the case, had equal use on running and passing plays. Sunday's usage patterns suggest that Ward stayed on the outside and Sneed — as usual — played both inside and outside. Meanwhile, Rashad Fenton (and sometimes Mike Hughes) pitched in for the remaining outside snaps, with Fenton getting an emphasis on passing plays.

At the second level — where starting MIKE linebacker Anthony Hitchens was out — Nick Bolton and Willie Gay Jr. both saw their largest use of the season. But this was not at the expense of Ben Niemann, whose use remained consistent with Week 6. Against the Titans — more specifically, running back Derrick Henry — Kansas City had an average of 2.27 linebackers on the field, which is a bit higher than most recent games. As you can see, both Bolton and Gay tended toward use on running plays.

Up front, defensive end Chris Jones didn't get all the way back to his typical use on his return from injury. But interestingly, the other outside linemen — Frank Clark, Alex Okafor and Mike Danna — all stayed fairly close to their usage patterns in recent games.

But at the same time, all the interior defensive linemen (except for Khalen Saunders) saw their snap percentages decrease from Week 6.

This suggests that Jones played on the inside more than we have seen since he switched to defensive end. Pro Football Focus data confirms this: against the Titans, Jones played 30.8% of his snaps on the inside.

In the four games he had previously played, Jones's inside snaps ranged from 4.3% to 15.8%. His use on Sunday was more in line with what Spagnuolo had been suggesting before the season began: that Jones would play something around one of three snaps on the inside. But the defensive coordinator also said that it would vary based on the opponent and game situation. So whether this represents the beginning of a trend — or was simply part of the effort to stop the league's top running back — remains to be seen.


Data


Offense

Offense All Pass Run
Total 68
(100%)
55
(100%)
13
(100%)
Orlando Brown Jr. 68
(100%)
55
(100%)
13
(100%)
Creed Humphrey 68
(100%)
55
(100%)
13
(100%)
Mike Remmers 68
(100%)
55
(100%)
13
(100%)
Trey Smith 68
(100%)
55
(100%)
13
(100%)
Joe Thuney 68
(100%)
55
(100%)
13
(100%)
Demarcus Robinson 54
(79%)
48
(87%)
6
(46%)
Travis Kelce 51
(75%)
42
(76%)
9
(69%)
Patrick Mahomes 51
(75%)
39
(71%)
12
(92%)
Tyreek Hill 50
(74%)
41
(75%)
9
(69%)
Mecole Hardman 46
(68%)
38
(69%)
8
(62%)
Darrel Williams 44
(65%)
35
(64%)
9
(69%)
Byron Pringle 31
(46%)
25
(45%)
6
(46%)
Noah Gray 20
(29%)
14
(25%)
6
(46%)
Jerick McKinnon 20
(29%)
16
(29%)
4
(31%)
Chad Henne 17
(25%)
16
(29%)
1
(8%)
Josh Gordon 8
(12%)
5
(9%)
3
(23%)
Blake Bell 6
(9%)
3
(5%)
3
(23%)
Derrick Gore 5
(7%)
4
(7%)
1
(8%)
Marcus Kemp 5
(7%)
4
(7%)
1
(8%)

Defense

Defense All Pass Run
Total 64
(100%)
29
(100%)
35
(100%)
Tyrann Mathieu 64
(100%)
29
(100%)
35
(100%)
L'Jarius Sneed 62
(97%)
28
(97%)
34
(97%)
Juan Thornhill 61
(95%)
27
(93%)
34
(97%)
Nick Bolton 55
(86%)
22
(76%)
33
(94%)
Frank Clark 46
(72%)
22
(76%)
24
(69%)
Ben Niemann 46
(72%)
22
(76%)
24
(69%)
Willie Gay Jr. 44
(69%)
14
(48%)
30
(86%)
Rashad Fenton 43
(67%)
23
(79%)
20
(57%)
Jarran Reed 40
(63%)
20
(69%)
20
(57%)
Charvarius Ward 40
(63%)
18
(62%)
22
(63%)
Michael Danna 36
(56%)
18
(62%)
18
(51%)
Chris Jones 35
(55%)
18
(62%)
17
(49%)
Derrick Nnadi 28
(44%)
10
(34%)
18
(51%)
Alex Okafor 26
(41%)
11
(38%)
15
(43%)
Tershawn Wharton 26
(41%)
11
(38%)
15
(43%)
Khalen Saunders 23
(36%)
8
(28%)
15
(43%)
Mike Hughes 15
(23%)
8
(28%)
7
(20%)
Daniel Sorensen 14
(22%)
10
(34%)
4
(11%)

Special Teams

Special Teams Snaps
Total 19
(100%)
Marcus Kemp 17
(89%)
Chris Lammons 17
(89%)
Dorian O'Daniel 17
(89%)
Ben Niemann 13
(68%)
Noah Gray 12
(63%)
Armani Watts 11
(58%)
Mike Hughes 10
(53%)
Daniel Sorensen 10
(53%)
Christian Rozeboom 10
(53%)
Derrick Gore 8
(42%)
Jerick McKinnon 8
(42%)
Blake Bell 7
(37%)
Byron Pringle 7
(37%)
Nick Bolton 5
(26%)
Michael Danna 5
(26%)
Derrick Nnadi 5
(26%)
Alex Okafor 5
(26%)
Tershawn Wharton 5
(26%)
Harrison Butker 4
(21%)
Tommy Townsend 4
(21%)
James Winchester 4
(21%)
Nick Allegretti 2
(11%)
Orlando Brown Jr. 2
(11%)
Rashad Fenton 2
(11%)
Willie Gay Jr. 2
(11%)
Mecole Hardman 2
(11%)
Creed Humphrey 2
(11%)
Lucas Niang 2
(11%)
Trey Smith 2
(11%)
L'Jarius Sneed 2
(11%)
Darrel Williams 2
(11%)
Andrew Wylie 2
(11%)
Darius Harris 2
(11%)
Tyreek Hill 1
(5%)

All Snaps

All Snaps Off Def ST Total
Total 68
(100%)
64
(100%)
19
(100%)
151
(100%)
Nick Allegretti 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
2
(11%)
2
(1%)
Blake Bell 6
(9%)
0
(0%)
7
(37%)
13
(9%)
Nick Bolton 0
(0%)
55
(86%)
5
(26%)
60
(40%)
Orlando Brown Jr. 68
(100%)
0
(0%)
2
(11%)
70
(46%)
Harrison Butker 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
4
(21%)
4
(3%)
Frank Clark 0
(0%)
46
(72%)
0
(0%)
46
(30%)
Michael Danna 0
(0%)
36
(56%)
5
(26%)
41
(27%)
Rashad Fenton 0
(0%)
43
(67%)
2
(11%)
45
(30%)
Willie Gay Jr. 0
(0%)
44
(69%)
2
(11%)
46
(30%)
Josh Gordon 8
(12%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
8
(5%)
Derrick Gore 5
(7%)
0
(0%)
8
(42%)
13
(9%)
Noah Gray 20
(29%)
0
(0%)
12
(63%)
32
(21%)
Mecole Hardman 46
(68%)
0
(0%)
2
(11%)
48
(32%)
Chad Henne 17
(25%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
17
(11%)
Tyreek Hill 50
(74%)
0
(0%)
1
(5%)
51
(34%)
Mike Hughes 0
(0%)
15
(23%)
10
(53%)
25
(17%)
Creed Humphrey 68
(100%)
0
(0%)
2
(11%)
70
(46%)
Chris Jones 0
(0%)
35
(55%)
0
(0%)
35
(23%)
Travis Kelce 51
(75%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
51
(34%)
Marcus Kemp 5
(7%)
0
(0%)
17
(89%)
22
(15%)
Chris Lammons 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
17
(89%)
17
(11%)
Patrick Mahomes 51
(75%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
51
(34%)
Tyrann Mathieu 0
(0%)
64
(100%)
0
(0%)
64
(42%)
Jerick McKinnon 20
(29%)
0
(0%)
8
(42%)
28
(19%)
Lucas Niang 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
2
(11%)
2
(1%)
Ben Niemann 0
(0%)
46
(72%)
13
(68%)
59
(39%)
Derrick Nnadi 0
(0%)
28
(44%)
5
(26%)
33
(22%)
Dorian O'Daniel 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
17
(89%)
17
(11%)
Alex Okafor 0
(0%)
26
(41%)
5
(26%)
31
(21%)
Byron Pringle 31
(46%)
0
(0%)
7
(37%)
38
(25%)
Jarran Reed 0
(0%)
40
(63%)
0
(0%)
40
(26%)
Mike Remmers 68
(100%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
68
(45%)
Demarcus Robinson 54
(79%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
54
(36%)
Khalen Saunders 0
(0%)
23
(36%)
0
(0%)
23
(15%)
Trey Smith 68
(100%)
0
(0%)
2
(11%)
70
(46%)
L'Jarius Sneed 0
(0%)
62
(97%)
2
(11%)
64
(42%)
Daniel Sorensen 0
(0%)
14
(22%)
10
(53%)
24
(16%)
Juan Thornhill 0
(0%)
61
(95%)
0
(0%)
61
(40%)
Joe Thuney 68
(100%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
68
(45%)
Tommy Townsend 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
4
(21%)
4
(3%)
Charvarius Ward 0
(0%)
40
(63%)
0
(0%)
40
(26%)
Armani Watts 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
11
(58%)
11
(7%)
Tershawn Wharton 0
(0%)
26
(41%)
5
(26%)
31
(21%)
Darrel Williams 44
(65%)
0
(0%)
2
(11%)
46
(30%)
James Winchester 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
4
(21%)
4
(3%)
Andrew Wylie 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
2
(11%)
2
(1%)
Darius Harris 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
2
(11%)
2
(1%)
Christian Rozeboom 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
10
(53%)
10
(7%)

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