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Chiefs-Browns snap counts: All 4 tight ends played — but never together

In their win against Cleveland, Kansas City chose not to use their T-Rex personnel.

NFL: AUG 27 Preseason - Vikings at Chiefs Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs erased a 12-point halftime deficit in order to pull out a 33-29 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday afternoon. Let’s see how the team used its players in the season opener.


Starters (offensive): WR Demarcus Robinson, WR Mecole Hardman, LT Orlando Brown Jr., LG Joe Thuney, C Creed Humphrey, RG Trey Smith, RT Lucas Niang, TE Travis Kelce, WR Tyreek Hill, QB Patrick Mahomes and RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

Starters (defensive): RDE Michael Danna, RDT Tershawn Wharton, LDT Jarran Reed, LDE Chris Jones, LB Nick Bolton, LB Anthony Hitchens, LB Ben Niemann, LCB Charvarius Ward, RCB L’Jarius Sneed, S Daniel Sorensen and S Juan Thornhill.

Did not play: QB Chad Henne and G Andrew Wylie.

Inactive: CB Deandre Baker, S Tyrann Mathieu, DE Frank Clark, OL Austin Blythe, G Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and WR Daurice Fountain.

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

Offense All Pass Run
Total 62
(100%)
39
(100%)
23
(100%)
Orlando Brown Jr. 62
(100%)
39
(100%)
23
(100%)
Creed Humphrey 62
(100%)
39
(100%)
23
(100%)
Patrick Mahomes 62
(100%)
39
(100%)
23
(100%)
Lucas Niang 62
(100%)
39
(100%)
23
(100%)
Trey Smith 62
(100%)
39
(100%)
23
(100%)
Joe Thuney 62
(100%)
39
(100%)
23
(100%)
Tyreek Hill 55
(89%)
36
(92%)
19
(83%)
Travis Kelce 52
(84%)
34
(87%)
18
(78%)
Clyde Edwards-Helaire 46
(74%)
29
(74%)
17
(74%)
Demarcus Robinson 45
(73%)
28
(72%)
17
(74%)
Mecole Hardman 42
(68%)
34
(87%)
8
(35%)
Blake Bell 19
(31%)
9
(23%)
10
(43%)
Darrel Williams 12
(19%)
8
(21%)
4
(17%)
Byron Pringle 10
(16%)
8
(21%)
2
(9%)
Jody Fortson 7
(11%)
2
(5%)
5
(22%)
Noah Gray 7
(11%)
2
(5%)
5
(22%)
Michael Burton 5
(8%)
1
(3%)
4
(17%)
Marcus Kemp 5
(8%)
1
(3%)
4
(17%)
Jerick McKinnon 4
(6%)
2
(5%)
2
(9%)
Mike Remmers 1
(2%)
1
(3%)
0
(0%)

Offensive takeaways

  • As expected, the Chiefs started three rookies on the offensive line in the 2021 season opener. Left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. and left guard Joe Thuney were joined by rookie center Creed Humphrey, right tackle Trey Smith and right tackle Lucas Niang. All of them were on the field for every offensive snap. Mike Remmers was in for just one, where he was a sixth lineman in a tackle-eligible pass play on the goal line. The remaining active offensive linemen all saw action on special teams — except Andrew Wylie, who did not play.
  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire was the bell cow among running backs, on the field for 74% of the snaps. Darrel Williams spelled Edwards-Helaire for about one snap in five, while Jerick McKinnon got the rest. At least in Week 1, the Chiefs did not appear to favor one running back over another in passing situations; all had roughly equal use in both running and passing plays.
  • All four of the team’s tight ends saw time with the offense. Travis Kelce was in on 84% of the offensive snaps — a figure in line with his typical use last season — split fairly evenly between running and passing plays. Blake Bell had 31%, while Noah Gray and Jody Fortson each had 11%. All three of the backup tight ends were used more often in running plays. On average, the Chiefs had 1.37 tight ends on the field for each play. Compared to 2020 — where games ranged from 1.11 to 1.48 — that’s on the high side. The Chiefs used 13 personnel — one running back and three tight ends — on four plays. There were no instances where 14 personnel was used.
  • Unsurprisingly, wide receiver Tyreek Hill had the highest percentage of offensive snaps in his position group: 89%. He was followed by Demarcus Robinson (73%), Mecole Hardman (68%), Byron Pringle (16%) and Marcus Kemp (8%). Hill and Robinson saw fairly equal usage in running and passing plays; the rest tended toward passing plays. On average, the team had 2.53 wideouts on the field for each play. That’s on the low side when compared to 2020, in which individual games ranged from 2.47 to 2.83.
  • Fullback Michael Burton had usage consistent with that of Anthony Sherman in recent seasons, seeing the field in 8% of snaps — most of them running plays.

Defense All Pass Run
Total 56
(100%)
30
(100%)
26
(100%)
L'Jarius Sneed 56
(100%)
30
(100%)
26
(100%)
Daniel Sorensen 56
(100%)
30
(100%)
26
(100%)
Charvarius Ward 55
(98%)
30
(100%)
25
(96%)
Juan Thornhill 53
(95%)
29
(97%)
24
(92%)
Anthony Hitchens 45
(80%)
19
(63%)
26
(100%)
Michael Danna 44
(79%)
25
(83%)
19
(73%)
Chris Jones 44
(79%)
23
(77%)
21
(81%)
Nick Bolton 43
(77%)
18
(60%)
25
(96%)
Ben Niemann 39
(70%)
24
(80%)
15
(58%)
Jarran Reed 39
(70%)
19
(63%)
20
(77%)
Tershawn Wharton 33
(59%)
17
(57%)
16
(62%)
Mike Hughes 30
(54%)
18
(60%)
12
(46%)
Alex Okafor 25
(45%)
16
(53%)
9
(35%)
Derrick Nnadi 18
(32%)
8
(27%)
10
(38%)
Armani Watts 13
(23%)
12
(40%)
1
(4%)
Joshua Kaindoh 12
(21%)
7
(23%)
5
(19%)
Khalen Saunders 11
(20%)
5
(17%)
6
(23%)

Defensive takeaways

  • In 2020, we typically saw two safeties and two cornerbacks on the field for every (or nearly every) defensive snap. That continued on Sunday. Cornerback L’Jarius Sneed and safety Daniel Sorensen were on the field for every play. Cornerback Chravaius Ward was on for 98% of the snaps, while safety Juan Thornhill saw 95%. Cornerback Mike Hughes got 54%, with a slight emphasis on passing plays. Safety Armani Watts typically gets all of his snaps on special teams — but with Tyrann Mathieu held out of the game, he was in for about a quarter of the defensive plays. Almost all of them were passing plays. The rest of the defensive backs had all of their snaps on special teams.
  • At the second level, Anthony Hitchens was in on 80% of the plays — all of the snaps on running plays and about three snaps in five of the passing plays. Nick Bolton — just behind Hitchens with 77% of the snaps — was also used mostly on running plays. In contrast, Ben Niemann (70% overall) was used more often on passing plays.
  • Defensive end Michael Danna and defensive lineman Chris Jones led the D-line in snaps, with each on the field for 79% of the plays. Defensive tackle Jarran Reed was right behind with 70%, while tackle Tershawn Wharton had 59%. All four were used fairly equally on passing and running plays. Defensive end Alex Okafor picked up 45% of the total snaps, with a bit of a tilt toward passing plays. Rookie defensive end Joshua Kaindoh and third-year defensive tackle Khlaen Saunders had 21% and 20% of the snaps, with no apparent emphasis on either the pass or run.
  • On Sunday, the team used linebackers a bit more than they tended to do in 2020. Last season, the average number of linebackers on each play ranged from 1.38 to 2.42. Against the Browns, it was on the high side at 2.27.

Special Teams Snaps
Total 24
(100%)
Marcus Kemp 19
(79%)
Dorian O'Daniel 19
(79%)
Armani Watts 19
(79%)
Michael Burton 14
(58%)
Noah Gray 14
(58%)
Chris Lammons 14
(58%)
Harrison Butker 12
(50%)
Jerick McKinnon 12
(50%)
Mike Hughes 11
(46%)
Blake Bell 10
(42%)
Ben Niemann 10
(42%)
Darius Harris 9
(38%)
Nick Bolton 7
(29%)
Tommy Townsend 7
(29%)
James Winchester 7
(29%)
Zayne Anderson 7
(29%)
Nick Allegretti 5
(21%)
Orlando Brown Jr. 5
(21%)
Rashad Fenton 5
(21%)
Creed Humphrey 5
(21%)
Lucas Niang 5
(21%)
Byron Pringle 5
(21%)
Trey Smith 5
(21%)
Joe Thuney 5
(21%)
Darryl Williams 5
(21%)
Michael Danna 3
(13%)
Anthony Hitchens 3
(13%)
Chris Jones 3
(13%)
Derrick Nnadi 3
(13%)
Alex Okafor 3
(13%)
Jarran Reed 3
(13%)
Jody Fortson 2
(8%)
Mecole Hardman 2
(8%)
L'Jarius Sneed 2
(8%)
Daniel Sorensen 2
(8%)
Juan Thornhill 2
(8%)

Special teams takeaways

  • Unsurprisingly, Marcus Kemp, Dorian O’Daniel and Armani Watts led the team in special-teams snaps; these three have all been longtime workhorses for coordinator Dave Toub. Newcomers Michael Burton, Noah Gray and Chris Lammons made up the group behind them.

All Snaps Off Def ST Total
Total 62
(100%)
56
(100%)
24
(100%)
142
(100%)
Nick Allegretti 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
5
(21%)
5
(4%)
Blake Bell 19
(31%)
0
(0%)
10
(42%)
29
(20%)
Nick Bolton 0
(0%)
43
(77%)
7
(29%)
50
(35%)
Orlando Brown Jr. 62
(100%)
0
(0%)
5
(21%)
67
(47%)
Michael Burton 5
(8%)
0
(0%)
14
(58%)
19
(13%)
Harrison Butker 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
12
(50%)
12
(8%)
Michael Danna 0
(0%)
44
(79%)
3
(13%)
47
(33%)
Clyde Edwards-Helaire 46
(74%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
46
(32%)
Rashad Fenton 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
5
(21%)
5
(4%)
Jody Fortson 7
(11%)
0
(0%)
2
(8%)
9
(6%)
Noah Gray 7
(11%)
0
(0%)
14
(58%)
21
(15%)
Mecole Hardman 42
(68%)
0
(0%)
2
(8%)
44
(31%)
Darius Harris 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
9
(38%)
9
(6%)
Tyreek Hill 55
(89%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
55
(39%)
Anthony Hitchens 0
(0%)
45
(80%)
3
(13%)
48
(34%)
Mike Hughes 0
(0%)
30
(54%)
11
(46%)
41
(29%)
Creed Humphrey 62
(100%)
0
(0%)
5
(21%)
67
(47%)
Chris Jones 0
(0%)
44
(79%)
3
(13%)
47
(33%)
Joshua Kaindoh 0
(0%)
12
(21%)
0
(0%)
12
(8%)
Travis Kelce 52
(84%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
52
(37%)
Marcus Kemp 5
(8%)
0
(0%)
19
(79%)
24
(17%)
Chris Lammons 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
14
(58%)
14
(10%)
Patrick Mahomes 62
(100%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
62
(44%)
Jerick McKinnon 4
(6%)
0
(0%)
12
(50%)
16
(11%)
Lucas Niang 62
(100%)
0
(0%)
5
(21%)
67
(47%)
Ben Niemann 0
(0%)
39
(70%)
10
(42%)
49
(35%)
Derrick Nnadi 0
(0%)
18
(32%)
3
(13%)
21
(15%)
Dorian O'Daniel 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
19
(79%)
19
(13%)
Alex Okafor 0
(0%)
25
(45%)
3
(13%)
28
(20%)
Byron Pringle 10
(16%)
0
(0%)
5
(21%)
15
(11%)
Jarran Reed 0
(0%)
39
(70%)
3
(13%)
42
(30%)
Mike Remmers 1
(2%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
1
(1%)
Demarcus Robinson 45
(73%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
45
(32%)
Khalen Saunders 0
(0%)
11
(20%)
0
(0%)
11
(8%)
Trey Smith 62
(100%)
0
(0%)
5
(21%)
67
(47%)
L'Jarius Sneed 0
(0%)
56
(100%)
2
(8%)
58
(41%)
Daniel Sorensen 0
(0%)
56
(100%)
2
(8%)
58
(41%)
Juan Thornhill 0
(0%)
53
(95%)
2
(8%)
55
(39%)
Joe Thuney 62
(100%)
0
(0%)
5
(21%)
67
(47%)
Tommy Townsend 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
7
(29%)
7
(5%)
Charvarius Ward 0
(0%)
55
(98%)
0
(0%)
55
(39%)
Armani Watts 0
(0%)
13
(23%)
19
(79%)
32
(23%)
Tershawn Wharton 0
(0%)
33
(59%)
0
(0%)
33
(23%)
Darrel Williams 12
(19%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
12
(8%)
James Winchester 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
7
(29%)
7
(5%)
Zayne Anderson 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
7
(29%)
7
(5%)
Darryl Williams 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
5
(21%)
5
(4%)