Snap Counts: Chiefs' First-Team Units Play Two Series in 17-7 Loss at Pittsburgh

Aug 17, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Cody Thompson (83) makes a catch against Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back Dravon Askew-Henry (41) during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 17-7.© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Injuries to WR Marcus Kemp, TE Deon Yelder could shakeup competition for backup roles on offense

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Head coach Andy Reid hedged on his plan to allow his starters a full half of football in Saturday's 17-7 loss at Pittsburgh.

Most of the first-team offense and defense exited after two series. Reid thought the play of the first-team defense, especially the defensive line, stood out as one of the few positives from the game.

“It was good to get our No. 1 defense out there,” Reid said. “I thought for two series there they did a great job. I then took out three of the defensive linemen and subbed out some other people as we went.”

Reid said turnovers, dropped balls and penalties were just a few of the mistakes he wants his team to eliminate.

“I think it's a great learning tape for us,” Reid said. “There were just some small things that add up that can hurt you in games. We'll go back and look at this. I don't think anybody came out happy after the game.”

Seven Chiefs did not play against Pittsburgh, most notably cornerback Morris Claiborne. Reid indicated the club planned a measured return to the field for Claiborne, who practiced with the the club for the first time on Monday.

QUARTERBACKS

Chad Henne 29 snaps (39 percent)
Chase Litton 19 snaps (25 percent)
Kyle Shurmur 18 snaps (24 percent)
Patrick Mahomes 9 snaps (12 percent)

Henne played two full series with the No. 1 offensive line,which might be the most important development offensively from the second preseason game. Shurmur continues running as the No. 3 quarterback ahead of Litton, but so far in the preseason it's Litton with the better numbers. Litton completed 20-of-30 passing for 209 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions for a 95.0 passer rating through the first two outings. Shurmur is just 10-of-24 for 106 yards and a touchdown with a 69.1 rating.

RUNNING BACKS

Marcus Marshall 22 snaps (29 percent)
Darrel Williams 18 snaps (24 percent)
Darwin Thompson 16 snaps (21 percent)
Carlos Hyde 14 snaps (19 percent)
Anthony Sherman 5 snaps (7 percent)
Damien Williams 5 snaps (7 percent)

The Chiefs releasing hometown favorite Josh Caldwell this week benefitted Marshall in terms of playing time, but he only received two touches – an 11-yard rush and a 1-yard reception. Hyde continues running as the No. 2 back, but Thompson appears close on his heels.

“He's really a focused kid,” Reid said of Thompson. “He's kind of a no-nonsense (player), he wants to do it right, is real focused, studies a lot. I like the way he's made up in that way."

The other notable development comes with Tremon Smith seeing zero offensive snaps this week. His move from the defensive side remains a work in progress, but Reid said it was simply a matter of running out of time in the game.

“Well, this was a game we weren’t going to necessarily play everybody, so we told the players that,” Reid said. “There were a couple, few guys that didn’t play and he was one of them.”

WIDE RECEIVERS

Cody Thompson 39 snaps (52 percent)
Demarcus Robinson 32 snaps (43 percent)
Rashard Davis 30 snaps (40 percent)
Mecole Hardman 27 snaps (36 percent)
Byron Pringle 17 snaps (23 percent)
Marcus Kemp 13 snaps (17 percent)
Jamal Custis 13 snaps (17 percent)
Jody Fortson 9 snaps (12 percent)
Felton Davis 9 snaps (12 percent)
Sammy Watkins 9 snaps (12 percent)
Tyreek Hill 8 snaps (11 percent)

Robinson saw a good chunk of playing time, which may make sense if the Chiefs plan to roll with Hill, Watkins and Hardman with Mahomes for extended snaps in preseason Week 3. Hardman scored his second touchdown of the preseason Saturday, but he could use more game action with Mahomes.

Kemp's knee injury could have a substantial impact on how the wide receiver group shakes, if indeed he's out for the season. That likely leaves Pringle and Cody Thompson in the lead for the final two spots with Rashard Davis in the mix as well. Thompson led Chiefs' receivers Saturday with seven catches on 11 targets for 69 yards.

TIGHT ENDS

Deon Yelder 10 snaps (13 percent)
Nick Keizer 32 snaps (43 percent)
Blake Bell 39 snaps (52 percent)
Travis Kelce 7 snaps (9 percent)
Manasseh Garner 1 snap (1 percent)

Kelce played more than just one snap this week, seeing time on both of the first two drives. The competition for the one or two backup positions, however, took a turn with Yelder exiting with an ankle injury. Bell, Yelder and Keizer are the top candidates for now. John Lovett (shoulder) didn't play against the Steelers, and the severity of his injury could also impact the shakeout of the tight end position.

OFFENSIVE LINE

RG/C Ryan Hunter 55 snaps (73 percent)
LT/RT Dino Boyd 55 snaps (73 percent)
LG/C Nick Allegretti 37 snaps (49 percent)
LT Cam Erving 33 snaps snaps (44 percent)
RG Kahlil McKenzie 30 snaps (40 percent)
C/LG Jimmy Murray 25 snaps (33 percent)
RT Pace Murphy 22 snaps (29 percent)
C Austin Reiter 20 snaps (27 percent)
RG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif 20 snaps (27 percent)
RT Mitchell Schwartz 20 snaps (27 percent)
LT Eric Fisher 20 snaps (27 percent)
LG Andrew Wylie 20 snaps (27 percent)
LG Zack Golditch 18 snaps (24 percent)

The story of this week, both in practice and in the game, is the of Hunter and Boyd and the fall of Murray and Murphy. The Chiefs will likely keep three or four extra linemen – they have kept five for short periods in the past. Erving has one spot secured, and Allegretti also appears likely to land a spot. That leaves Hunter, Body and McKenzie on the bubble for the final spot or two.

Murray and Murphy led all offensive linemen last week with 40 snaps. Perhaps the Chiefs simply want to rotate candidates they rank as relatively even to measure in game action. But Murray played mostly with the third team in practice this week, and if Allegretti wins the backup center job, that could impact Murray. Reid said Boyd struggled in work against some of Pittsburgh's first-team defense, but improved as the game progressed.

DEFENSIVE LINE

Tanoh Kpassagnon 36 snaps (55 percent)
Breeland Speaks 36 snaps (55 percent)
Khalen Saunders 25 snaps (38 percent)
Derrick Nnadi 26 snaps (39 percent)
Joey Ivie 22 snaps (33 percent)
Justin Hamilton 17 snaps (26 percent)
Rob McCray 17 snaps (26 percent)
Emmanuel Ogbah 14 (21 percent)\
Hunter Dimick 13 snaps (20 percent)
Xavier Williams 11 (17 percent)
Cavon Walker 9 snaps (14 percent)
Alex Okafor 8 snaps (12 percent)
Frank Clark 8 snaps (12 percent)
Chris Jones 8 snaps (12 percent)

This is a ridiculously deep group, and the snap counts bear that out. The No. 1 line played sharp, with Okafor picking up a sack of backup quarterback Mason Rudolph. Speaks left with a knee injury, but it doesn't appear serious at this time.

The backup tackle situation is the most competitive, with starters Jones and Nnadi and third-round selection Saunders secure in their positions. That leaves Hamilton, Ivie and Williams battling for a final spot. Williams didn't play last week while resting a back injury that bothered him in camp.

LINEBACKERS

Ben Niemann 43 snaps (65 percent)
Darron Lee 40 snaps (61 percent)
Jeremiah Attaochu 20 snaps (30 percent)
Dorian O'Daniel 16 snaps (24 percent)
Reggie Ragland 15 snaps (23 percent)
Raymond Davison 14 snaps (21 percent)
Damien Wilson 9 snaps (14 percent)
Anthony Hitchens 9 snaps (14 percent)

The rotation at linebacker remained eerily similar to last week, outside Attaochu dropping from 36 to 20 snaps and Hitchens bumping up his workload from two to nine. The Chiefs also favored a bit more toward substitution packages against the Steelers resulting in just two linebackers on the field.

The mystery of O'Daniel remains, as he seems unable to crack the second-team lineup. Attaochu shows much more flexibility, offering the ability to play as a stand-up rusher as well as dropping back in pass coverage.

Niemann and Lee are a tough combination in the middle, and the duo combined for 12 total tackles Saturday night.

CORNERBACKS

Rashad Fenton 37 snaps (56 percent)
D'Montre Wade 33 snaps (50 percent)
Herb Miller 32 snaps (48 percent)
Charvarius Ward 30 snaps (45 percent)
Mark Fields 25 snaps (38 percent)
Bashaud Breeland 9 snaps (14 percent)
Kendall Fuller 7 snaps (11 percent)
Dakari Monroe 3 snaps (5 percent)

The Chiefs showcased their youth at corner on Saturday, with Fuller and Breeland playing on the first two drives before giving way to first- and second-year players. Ward seeing extended time is indicative of the Chiefs want him to gain invaluable playing time as he likely enters the season as a starter, but still has relatively little NFL experience.

Fenton looks locked in as the No. 2 slot corner behind Fuller. That leaves Miller and Fields battling to win a backup job while Morris Claiborne is suspended. Both players have had their up and down moments through the first two games.

SAFETIES

Juan Thornhill 38 snaps (58 percent)
Daniel Sorensen 37 snaps (56 percent)
Armani Watts 27 snaps (41 percent)
Jordan Lucas 21 snaps (32 percent)
Harold Jones-Quartey 5 snaps (8 percent)
Andrew Soroh 4 snaps (6 percent)
Tyrann Mathieu 2 snaps (3 percent)

Mathieu left with a shoulder injury that the team doesn't consider serious, which explains his limited playing time. The Chiefs continue expanding Thornhill's portfolio, and we should have a better indication in Week 3 against San Francisco whether the club is ready to install him as the starting free safety. Watts continues making plays, including a strong open-field tackle on special teams Saturday night.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Offense: Dar. Williams 7 (32 percent), Tremon Smith 4 (18 percent), Marshall 2 (9 percent), Keizer 6 (27 percent), Pringle 5 (23 percent), D. Thompson 6 (27 percent), Custis 7 (32 percent), R. Davis 5 (23 percent), Murray 2 (9 percent), Allegretti 2 (9 percent), Murphy 2 (9 percent), Boyd 2 (9 percent), McKenzie 2 (9 percent), Kemp 7 (32 percent), Chidi Okeke 2 (9 percent), C. Thompson 6 (27 percent), F. Davis 1 (5 percent), Hardman 3 (15 percent), Bell 7 (32 percent), Robinson 2 (9 percent) Sherman 5 (23 percent).

Defense: Watts 11 (50 percent), O'Daniel 11 (50 percent), Lee 10 (45 percent), Miller 9 snaps (41 percent), Wade 9 (41 percent), Sorensen 9 (41 percent), Niemann 8 (36 percent), McCray 8 (36 percent), Thornhill 8 (36 percent), Attaochu 8 (36 percent), Davison 7 (32 percent), D'Juan Hines 5 (23 percent), Kpassagnon 5 (23 percent), Lucas 5 (23 percent), Soroh 4 (18 percent), Fenton 3 (14 percent), Ward 3 (14 percent), Ivie 3 (14 percent), Walker 3 (14 percent), Wilson 3 (14 percent), Fields 2 (9 percent), Hamilton 2 (9 percent) and Monroe 1 (5 percent).

Specialists: James Winchester 8 snaps (36 percent), Dustin Colquitt 5 snaps (23 percent) Harrison Butker 4 snaps (18 percent) and Jack Fox 3 snaps (14 percent).

Yelder led the team with 15 special teams snaps a week ago but didn't play any before leaving with an ankle injury against the Steelers. Fortson also didn't play last night after seeing seven snaps the previous week. Tremon Smith played only four snaps, including one for a 17-yard return on a kickoff. Likely losing Kemp for the season is a tremendous blow for the special teams unit.

Watts and Mille continuing setting the pace for defensive players on special teams with 18 snaps each through the first two games. O'Daniel saw a sharp increase from a wek ago. Lee looks like to join Sorensen and Niemann as reliable special teams performers from the defensive group.

Fox averaged a solid 45.3 average on three punts, but his 32.7-yard net shows his inconsistency.

DID NOT PLAY

WR Gehrig Dieter, WR Davon Grayson, TE/FB John Lovett, OG Abdul Beecham, CB Morris Claiborne, CB Michael Hunter and LB Darius Harris.

Dieter, Grayson, Lovett and Hunter all entered the game with injuries. Harris remains on the non-football injury list. Claiborne was a coach's decision since he just started practice this week. No word from the club on why Beecham did not play, he was the only healthy reserve who practiced in full this week not play.

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