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Chiefs-Patriots snap counts: Chamarri Conner steps up

How did Kansas City use its players in Sunday’s game against New England?

Kansas City Chiefs v New England Patriots Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images

In Week 15, the Kansas City Chiefs collected a 27-17 road victory from the New England Patriots, extending their 2023 record to 9-5.

Let’s take a look at how they used their players in what we hope will be the beginning of a four-game seven-game winning streak to close the season.


Starters (offensive): WR Rashee Rice, WR Justin Watson, LT Wanya Morris, LG Joe Thuney, C Creed Humphrey, RG Trey Smith, RT Jawaan Taylor, TE Noah Gray, TE Travis Kelce, QB Patrick Mahomes and RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

Starters (defensive): DE George Karlaftis, DT Derrick Nnadi, DT Chris Jones, DE Michael Danna, LB Willie Gay Jr., LB Nick Bolton, LB Leo Chenal, CB Trent McDuffie, CB L’Jarius Sneed, S Mike Edwards and S Justin Reid.

Did not play: QB Blaine Gabbert.

Inactive: CB Joshua Williams, RB Isiah Pacheco, DE BJ Thompson, T Donovan Smith, DE Neil Farrell, DT Matt Dickerson and DE Malik Herring.


Offensive takeaways


Offensive line

Left tackle Donovan Smith missed another game with his neck injury, giving third-round rookie Wanya Morris another start — and a second game in which he played 100% of the offensive snaps.

Tight ends

Superstar Travis Kelce came out of Sunday’s game with just five receptions (on seven targets) for 28 yards. Seeing that Kelce was on the field for just 75% of the offensive snaps might lead to the conclusion that seeing fewer snaps led to his lower-than-normal production. But what the advanced snap count metrics show us is that in this game, there was a very wide gulf between the percentage of snaps Kelce was used on passing plays and running plays. We normally see Kelce lean toward passing plays — and Noah Gray lean toward running plays. But on Sunday, the numbers make it pretty clear that Kelce was off the field for a significantly larger percentage of running plays — and that Gray (and Blake Bell) took up that slack.

Running backs

In Week 14 against the Buffalo Bills — the first game that Isiah Pacheco missed with his shoulder injury — Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jerrick McKinnon got an almost equal percentage of offensive snaps. In Sunday’s game, however, Edwards-Helaire was on the field for 61% of the reps, while McKinnon had 36%. This may have been because McKinnon was shaken up during the Chiefs’s final first-half drive. While he was back on the field in the third quarter, the team may have chosen to use him a bit less often. In any case, the Chiefs did not give any offensive snaps to Deneric Prince, who had been elevated from the practice squad for the third time. La’Mical Perine has also been elevated for the maximum of three regular-season games, so it’s a good thing that Isiah Pacheco is expected back for Week 16.

Wide Receivers

Just as in Week 14, rookie Rashee Rice was on the field for enough plays to be considered the team’s No. 1 wideout. He was used for 92% of the plays — another high-water mark for the rookie. Justin Watson was in his normal range of use — but for the first time this season, he was on the field for more running plays than passing plays This appeared to be at the expense of Kadarius Toney — whose use on running plays dropped significantly, but remained steady overall. Marquez Valdes-Scantling’s use continued to trend down.


Defensive takeaways


Defensive backs

In the second game without safety Bryan Cook, Justin Reid and Mike Edwards — along with cornerbacks Trent McDuffie and L’Jarius Sneed — played together on virtually every snap. With cornerback Joshua Williams inactive with an illness, rookie defensive back Chamarri Conner’s use continued to trend upward. 61% was a season-high for him — and he continued to be a key contributor on special teams.

After being moved up to the active roster in place of linebacker Darius Harrius on Saturday, safety Deon Bush was used as a core special-teams player — which had been Harris’ role. It appears that after elevating Bush for the Week 14 game, the team decided they’d rather have him on the active roster. After clearing waivers, Harris has now been signed to the practice squad.

Linebackers

With the team’s full complement of front-line linebackers available for the first time since the team’s Week 7 game against the Los Angeles Chargers, things got back to normal on the second level. MIKE Nick Bolton played 80% of the snaps. Drue Tranquill was in for 39%, spending some of that time relieving Bolton and the rest playing alongside him. Willie Gay Jr. and Leo Chenal also returned to their old usage patterns — and Jack Cochrane went back to his former role as a core special teams player.

Defensive line

Practice squad defensive tackle Mike Pennel — a rotational player for the team in 2020 — was on the field for 20% of the defensive snaps. It appears that Pennel was a direct replacement for Matt Dickerson, who was inactive for Sunday’s game. With Pennel in the game, Kansas City gave up just 52 rushing yards — a season-low — so it will be interesting to see if the team continues to put him on the field. He may be elevated for two more regular-season games — and for every postseason game.


Data


Offense

Offense All Pass Run
Total 61
(100%)
41
(100%)
20
(100%)
Creed Humphrey 61
(100%)
41
(100%)
20
(100%)
Patrick Mahomes 61
(100%)
41
(100%)
20
(100%)
Wanya Morris 61
(100%)
41
(100%)
20
(100%)
Trey Smith 61
(100%)
41
(100%)
20
(100%)
Jawaan Taylor 61
(100%)
41
(100%)
20
(100%)
Joe Thuney 61
(100%)
41
(100%)
20
(100%)
Rashee Rice 56
(92%)
38
(93%)
18
(90%)
Travis Kelce 46
(75%)
38
(93%)
8
(40%)
Justin Watson 42
(69%)
25
(61%)
17
(85%)
Clyde Edwards-Helaire 37
(61%)
21
(51%)
16
(80%)
Noah Gray 31
(51%)
14
(34%)
17
(85%)
Kadarius Toney 24
(39%)
21
(51%)
3
(15%)
Jerick McKinnon 22
(36%)
18
(44%)
4
(20%)
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 20
(33%)
17
(41%)
3
(15%)
Skyy Moore 15
(25%)
7
(17%)
8
(40%)
Blake Bell 10
(16%)
4
(10%)
6
(30%)
Richie James 2
(3%)
2
(5%)
0
(0%)

Defense

Defense All Pass Run
Total 51
(100%)
35
(100%)
16
(100%)
Mike Edwards 51
(100%)
35
(100%)
16
(100%)
Justin Reid 51
(100%)
35
(100%)
16
(100%)
L'Jarius Sneed 51
(100%)
35
(100%)
16
(100%)
Trent McDuffie 50
(98%)
35
(100%)
15
(94%)
Chris Jones 42
(82%)
28
(80%)
14
(88%)
Nick Bolton 41
(80%)
27
(77%)
14
(88%)
Michael Danna 40
(78%)
27
(77%)
13
(81%)
Charles Omenihu 34
(67%)
23
(66%)
11
(69%)
George Karlaftis 33
(65%)
22
(63%)
11
(69%)
Chamarri Conner 31
(61%)
21
(60%)
10
(63%)
Willie Gay Jr. 28
(55%)
20
(57%)
8
(50%)
Derrick Nnadi 22
(43%)
14
(40%)
8
(50%)
Drue Tranquill 20
(39%)
14
(40%)
6
(38%)
Leo Chenal 19
(37%)
15
(43%)
4
(25%)
Jaylen Watson 16
(31%)
11
(31%)
5
(31%)
Tershawn Wharton 16
(31%)
11
(31%)
5
(31%)
Mike Pennel 11
(22%)
8
(23%)
3
(19%)
Felix Anudike-Uzomah 5
(10%)
4
(11%)
1
(6%)

Special Teams

Special Teams Snaps
Total 30
(100%)
Deon Bush 24
(80%)
Jack Cochrane 24
(80%)
Leo Chenal 23
(77%)
Chamarri Conner 22
(73%)
Noah Gray 18
(60%)
Cam Jones 18
(60%)
Ekow Boye-Doe 14
(47%)
Nic Jones 14
(47%)
Harrison Butker 12
(40%)
Jerick McKinnon 12
(40%)
Jaylen Watson 12
(40%)
Richie James 10
(33%)
Tommy Townsend 10
(33%)
James Winchester 10
(33%)
Deneric Prince 10
(33%)
Drue Tranquill 9
(30%)
Nick Allegretti 6
(20%)
Mike Caliendo 6
(20%)
Michael Danna 6
(20%)
Creed Humphrey 6
(20%)
George Karlaftis 6
(20%)
Wanya Morris 6
(20%)
Lucas Niang 6
(20%)
Derrick Nnadi 6
(20%)
Trey Smith 6
(20%)
Jawaan Taylor 6
(20%)
Justin Watson 6
(20%)
Tershawn Wharton 6
(20%)
Blake Bell 4
(13%)
Justin Reid 4
(13%)
Nick Bolton 3
(10%)
Trent McDuffie 2
(7%)
Mike Pennel 2
(7%)
Felix Anudike-Uzomah 1
(3%)

All Snaps

All Snaps Off Def ST Total
Total 61
(100%)
51
(100%)
30
(100%)
142
(100%)
Nick Allegretti 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
6
(20%)
6
(4%)
Felix Anudike-Uzomah 0
(0%)
5
(10%)
1
(3%)
6
(4%)
Blake Bell 10
(16%)
0
(0%)
4
(13%)
14
(10%)
Nick Bolton 0
(0%)
41
(80%)
3
(10%)
44
(31%)
Ekow Boye-Doe 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
14
(47%)
14
(10%)
Deon Bush 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
24
(80%)
24
(17%)
Harrison Butker 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
12
(40%)
12
(8%)
Mike Caliendo 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
6
(20%)
6
(4%)
Leo Chenal 0
(0%)
19
(37%)
23
(77%)
42
(30%)
Jack Cochrane 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
24
(80%)
24
(17%)
Chamarri Conner 0
(0%)
31
(61%)
22
(73%)
53
(37%)
Michael Danna 0
(0%)
40
(78%)
6
(20%)
46
(32%)
Mike Edwards 0
(0%)
51
(100%)
0
(0%)
51
(36%)
Clyde Edwards-Helaire 37
(61%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
37
(26%)
Willie Gay Jr. 0
(0%)
28
(55%)
0
(0%)
28
(20%)
Noah Gray 31
(51%)
0
(0%)
18
(60%)
49
(35%)
Creed Humphrey 61
(100%)
0
(0%)
6
(20%)
67
(47%)
Richie James 2
(3%)
0
(0%)
10
(33%)
12
(8%)
Cam Jones 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
18
(60%)
18
(13%)
Chris Jones 0
(0%)
42
(82%)
0
(0%)
42
(30%)
Nic Jones 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
14
(47%)
14
(10%)
George Karlaftis 0
(0%)
33
(65%)
6
(20%)
39
(27%)
Travis Kelce 46
(75%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
46
(32%)
Patrick Mahomes 61
(100%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
61
(43%)
Trent McDuffie 0
(0%)
50
(98%)
2
(7%)
52
(37%)
Jerick McKinnon 22
(36%)
0
(0%)
12
(40%)
34
(24%)
Skyy Moore 15
(25%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
15
(11%)
Wanya Morris 61
(100%)
0
(0%)
6
(20%)
67
(47%)
Lucas Niang 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
6
(20%)
6
(4%)
Derrick Nnadi 0
(0%)
22
(43%)
6
(20%)
28
(20%)
Charles Omenihu 0
(0%)
34
(67%)
0
(0%)
34
(24%)
Justin Reid 0
(0%)
51
(100%)
4
(13%)
55
(39%)
Rashee Rice 56
(92%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
56
(39%)
Trey Smith 61
(100%)
0
(0%)
6
(20%)
67
(47%)
L'Jarius Sneed 0
(0%)
51
(100%)
0
(0%)
51
(36%)
Jawaan Taylor 61
(100%)
0
(0%)
6
(20%)
67
(47%)
Joe Thuney 61
(100%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
61
(43%)
Kadarius Toney 24
(39%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
24
(17%)
Tommy Townsend 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
10
(33%)
10
(7%)
Drue Tranquill 0
(0%)
20
(39%)
9
(30%)
29
(20%)
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 20
(33%)
0
(0%)
0
(0%)
20
(14%)
Jaylen Watson 0
(0%)
16
(31%)
12
(40%)
28
(20%)
Justin Watson 42
(69%)
0
(0%)
6
(20%)
48
(34%)
Tershawn Wharton 0
(0%)
16
(31%)
6
(20%)
22
(15%)
James Winchester 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
10
(33%)
10
(7%)
Mike Pennel 0
(0%)
11
(22%)
2
(7%)
13
(9%)
Deneric Prince 0
(0%)
0
(0%)
10
(33%)
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

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