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Chiefs-Chargers snap counts: Thornhill gets more use, Niemann gets less

Let’s see how Kansas City used its players in Sunday’s loss to Los Angeles.

Houston Texans v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs fell to the Los Angeles Chargers 30-24 on Sunday afternoon. Let’s take a look at how the Chiefs used their players during the team’s second loss of the season.


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

Starters (defensive): LDE Chris Jones, LDT Jarran Reed, RDT Derrick Nnadi, RDE Michael Danna, LB Ben Niemann, LB Anthony Hitchens, LB Nick Bolton, LCB Rashad Fenton, RCB L’Jarius Sneed, S Daniel Sorensen and S Tyrann Mathieu.

Did not play: QB Chad Henne, T Mike Remmers and G Andrew Wylie.

Inactive: CB Charvarius Ward, 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 76
(100%)
46
(100%)
30
(100%)
Orlando Brown Jr. 76
(100%)
46
(100%)
30
(100%)
Creed Humphrey 76
(100%)
46
(100%)
30
(100%)
Patrick Mahomes 76
(100%)
46
(100%)
30
(100%)
Lucas Niang 76
(100%)
46
(100%)
30
(100%)
Trey Smith 76
(100%)
46
(100%)
30
(100%)
Joe Thuney 76
(100%)
46
(100%)
30
(100%)
Travis Kelce 66
(87%)
41
(89%)
25
(83%)
Tyreek Hill 55
(72%)
37
(80%)
18
(60%)
Demarcus Robinson 54
(71%)
34
(74%)
20
(67%)
Mecole Hardman 50
(66%)
28
(61%)
22
(73%)
Clyde Edwards-Helaire 47
(62%)
28
(61%)
19
(63%)
Byron Pringle 29
(38%)
21
(46%)
8
(27%)
Darrel Williams 26
(34%)
16
(35%)
10
(33%)
Blake Bell 23
(30%)
8
(17%)
15
(50%)
Noah Gray 11
(14%)
5
(11%)
6
(20%)
Marcus Kemp 7
(9%)
5
(11%)
2
(7%)
Jody Fortson 6
(8%)
5
(11%)
1
(3%)
Michael Burton 3
(4%)
0
(0%)
3
(10%)
Jerick McKinnon 3
(4%)
2
(4%)
1
(3%)

Offensive takeaways

  • No surprises on the offensive line. Starters Orlando Brown Jr., Joe Thuney, Creed Humphrey, Trey Smith and Lucas Niang played all of the offensive snaps. As in Week 2, the backups stayed out: Mike Remmers and Andrew Wylie didn’t play, while Austin Blythe, and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif were inactive.
  • At tight end, Travis Kelce, Blake Bell and Jody Fortson were all in their normal ranges of use. After being left out of the offense in Week 2, rookie Noah Gray was back. Bell continued to be used mostly on running plays.
  • At wide receiver, Tyreek Hill’s use fell to 72% of the offensive snaps — as usual, mostly on passing plays. Demarcus Robinson’s use was up a little compared to Week 2, while Mecole Hardman’s was down a bit; both were still within the normal range of percentages from the high 50s to the low 70s. It was Byron Pringle who picked up the slack with 38% of the snaps — mostly on passing plays. Daurice Fountain was once again inactive.
  • At running back, the overall distribution of snaps was essentially identical to Week 2 — except that just as in Week 1, both Clyde Edward-Helaire and Darrel Williams were used equally as often on running and passing plays. Fullback Michael Burton was in for only three snaps — all of them running plays.

Defense All Pass Run
Total 62
(100%)
40
(100%)
22
(100%)
Tyrann Mathieu 62
(100%)
40
(100%)
22
(100%)
L'Jarius Sneed 60
(97%)
39
(98%)
21
(95%)
Daniel Sorensen 56
(90%)
36
(90%)
20
(91%)
Nick Bolton 51
(82%)
32
(80%)
19
(86%)
Anthony Hitchens 51
(82%)
33
(83%)
18
(82%)
Mike Hughes 47
(76%)
32
(80%)
15
(68%)
Michael Danna 43
(69%)
28
(70%)
15
(68%)
Jarran Reed 42
(68%)
25
(63%)
17
(77%)
Chris Jones 37
(60%)
23
(58%)
14
(64%)
Alex Okafor 37
(60%)
23
(58%)
14
(64%)
Ben Niemann 33
(53%)
18
(45%)
15
(68%)
Derrick Nnadi 31
(50%)
18
(45%)
13
(59%)
Deandre Baker 28
(45%)
21
(53%)
7
(32%)
Rashad Fenton 26
(42%)
16
(40%)
10
(45%)
Khalen Saunders 23
(37%)
16
(40%)
7
(32%)
Tershawn Wharton 22
(35%)
16
(40%)
6
(27%)
Joshua Kaindoh 18
(29%)
13
(33%)
5
(23%)
Juan Thornhill 16
(26%)
11
(28%)
5
(23%)

Defensive takeaways

  • Normally, we would see the two starting safeties in for all (or nearly all) of the defensive snaps. Safety Tyrann Mathieu was in for every play, but Daniel Sorensen was in for just 90% of the snaps. In addition to being in on three-safety looks, it appears that Juan Thornhill got some of Sorensen’s snaps; his use rose from 14% against the Baltimore Ravens to 26% against the Chargers — and it was equally divided between running and passing plays.
  • Just as with the safeties, we would normally see the two starting cornerbacks in for nearly all of the snaps. Starter L’Jarius Sneed was in for nearly all of the plays. With normal starter Charvarius Ward injured, the Chiefs apparently intended for Rashad Fenton to carry the load across from Sneed — but after Fenton was hurt, Mike Hughes took over on the outside; Fenton had 42% of the snaps, while Hughes had 76%. Deandre Baker — active for the first time this season — had 45% of the snaps. He was used more often against the pass than the run.
  • At the second level of the defense, Anthony Hitchens and Nick Bolton have settled into a range of about 80% of the overall snaps. But unlike the previous two weeks, both were used equally against the pass and the run. Ben Niemann’s overall use dropped to 53% of the snaps — and his use was reversed in Week 3. For the first time this season, he had significantly more snaps against the run than the pass.
  • At defensive end — with Frank Clark out and Chris Jones listed as questionable going into the game — other players stepped up. Jones’ use dropped to 60% of the plays. Meanwhile — just as when Clark was out in Week 1 — Alex Okafor, Mike Danna and rookie Joshua Kaindoh all saw increases in their counts; all were used just a bit more than they were in the first week of the season.
  • On the inside, Jarran Reed is settling in as the main guy, showing percentages of use in the 70s — while Derrick Nnadi seems to be around 50% each week. Khalen Saunders and Tershawn Wharton are rotating behind them — each with snap count percentages in the 30s. Reed and Nnadi are both getting somewhat more work against the run than the pass.

Special Teams Snaps
Total 24
(100%)
Marcus Kemp 19
(79%)
Chris Lammons 19
(79%)
Dorian O'Daniel 19
(79%)
Armani Watts 14
(58%)
Michael Burton 12
(50%)
Ben Niemann 12
(50%)
Jerick McKinnon 11
(46%)
Juan Thornhill 11
(46%)
Blake Bell 10
(42%)
Jody Fortson 10
(42%)
Noah Gray 10
(42%)
Deandre Baker 9
(38%)
Harrison Butker 9
(38%)
Byron Pringle 9
(38%)
Darius Harris 8
(33%)
Darrel Williams 7
(29%)
Michael Danna 5
(21%)
Derrick Nnadi 5
(21%)
Jarran Reed 5
(21%)
Tommy Townsend 5
(21%)
Tershawn Wharton 5
(21%)
James Winchester 5
(21%)
Nick Allegretti 4
(17%)
Orlando Brown Jr. 4
(17%)
Anthony Hitchens 4
(17%)
Creed Humphrey 4
(17%)
Lucas Niang 4
(17%)
Alex Okafor 4
(17%)
Trey Smith 4
(17%)
L'Jarius Sneed 4
(17%)
Daniel Sorensen 4
(17%)
Joe Thuney 4
(17%)
Mecole Hardman 3
(13%)
Nick Bolton 1
(4%)
Mike Hughes 1
(4%)

Special teams takeaways

  • Safety Armani Watts’ snaps decreased for the first time this season, coming in at 56%. Meanwhile, Juan Thornhill’s increased from 21% in Week 2 to 46% in Week 3.
  • Mike Hughes’ percentage of snaps dropped from the 40s in the first two weeks to 4% on Sunday — likely because of his increase in defensive snaps.
  • In his first game active, Deandre Baker notched 38% of the snaps.
  • Tershawn Wharton had no snaps in Week 1. His use has increased steadily, reaching 21% against the Chargers. Meanwhile, Noah Gray’s use has steadily declined — down to 42% in Week 3.
  • Somewhat surprisingly for a rookie, Joshua Kaindoh still hasn’t been used on a special-teams play.
  • For the first time this season, Darrel Williams was in for 29% of the snaps.

All Snaps Off Def ST Total
Total 76
(100%)
62
(100%)
24
(100%)
162
(100%)
Nick Allegretti 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
4
(17%)
4
(2%)
Deandre Baker 0
(0%)
28
(45%)
9
(38%)
37
(23%)
Blake Bell 23
(30%)
0
(0%)
10
(42%)
33
(20%)
Nick Bolton 0
(0%)
51
(82%)
1
(4%)
52
(32%)
Orlando Brown Jr. 76
(100%)
0
(0%)
4
(17%)
80
(49%)
Michael Burton 3
(4%)
0
(0%)
12
(50%)
15
(9%)
Harrison Butker 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
9
(38%)
9
(6%)
Michael Danna 0
(0%)
43
(69%)
5
(21%)
48
(30%)
Clyde Edwards-Helaire 47
(62%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
47
(29%)
Rashad Fenton 0
(0%)
26
(42%)
0
(0%)
26
(16%)
Jody Fortson 6
(8%)
0
(0%)
10
(42%)
16
(10%)
Noah Gray 11
(14%)
0
(0%)
10
(42%)
21
(13%)
Mecole Hardman 50
(66%)
0
(0%)
3
(13%)
53
(33%)
Darius Harris 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
8
(33%)
8
(5%)
Tyreek Hill 55
(72%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
55
(34%)
Anthony Hitchens 0
(0%)
51
(82%)
4
(17%)
55
(34%)
Mike Hughes 0
(0%)
47
(76%)
1
(4%)
48
(30%)
Creed Humphrey 76
(100%)
0
(0%)
4
(17%)
80
(49%)
Chris Jones 0
(0%)
37
(60%)
0
(0%)
37
(23%)
Joshua Kaindoh 0
(0%)
18
(29%)
0
(0%)
18
(11%)
Travis Kelce 66
(87%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
66
(41%)
Marcus Kemp 7
(9%)
0
(0%)
19
(79%)
26
(16%)
Chris Lammons 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
19
(79%)
19
(12%)
Patrick Mahomes 76
(100%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
76
(47%)
Tyrann Mathieu 0
(0%)
62
(100%)
0
(0%)
62
(38%)
Jerick McKinnon 3
(4%)
0
(0%)
11
(46%)
14
(9%)
Lucas Niang 76
(100%)
0
(0%)
4
(17%)
80
(49%)
Ben Niemann 0
(0%)
33
(53%)
12
(50%)
45
(28%)
Derrick Nnadi 0
(0%)
31
(50%)
5
(21%)
36
(22%)
Dorian O'Daniel 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
19
(79%)
19
(12%)
Alex Okafor 0
(0%)
37
(60%)
4
(17%)
41
(25%)
Byron Pringle 29
(38%)
0
(0%)
9
(38%)
38
(23%)
Jarran Reed 0
(0%)
42
(68%)
5
(21%)
47
(29%)
Demarcus Robinson 54
(71%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
54
(33%)
Khalen Saunders 0
(0%)
23
(37%)
0
(0%)
23
(14%)
Trey Smith 76
(100%)
0
(0%)
4
(17%)
80
(49%)
L'Jarius Sneed 0
(0%)
60
(97%)
4
(17%)
64
(40%)
Daniel Sorensen 0
(0%)
56
(90%)
4
(17%)
60
(37%)
Juan Thornhill 0
(0%)
16
(26%)
11
(46%)
27
(17%)
Joe Thuney 76
(100%)
0
(0%)
4
(17%)
80
(49%)
Tommy Townsend 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
5
(21%)
5
(3%)
Armani Watts 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
14
(58%)
14
(9%)
Tershawn Wharton 0
(0%)
22
(35%)
5
(21%)
27
(17%)
Darrel Williams 26
(34%)
0
(0%)
7
(29%)
33
(20%)
James Winchester 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
5
(21%)
5
(3%)