Here are some observations based on the snap-count data from the Chiefs’ 30-12 preseason loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday. Numbers are provided by the NFL.
*Of the 39 snaps tight end Travis Kelce played, 15 came with the first-team offense (by my count, at least), with most (if not all) coming with starter Anthony Fasano also on the field.
At least one of Kelce’s reps came when he lined up as a pure slot receiver, too. I believe that’s a sign of things to come, because Kelce’s competitiveness and athleticism has been a bright spot throughout the preseason.
Also, the Chiefs even used a three tight-end set in the red zone late in the second quarter, in which Demetrius Harris joined Kelce and starter Anthony Fasano on the field. This is an example of the Chiefs trying to get the most out of their talent, given the issues they’ve had at receiver.
*This was probably because they were trailing by a large margin, but in the 26 snaps Tyler Bray received, 18 were in “11” personnel — one running back, one tight end, three receivers. The Chiefs threw 13 times out of that, and Bray went six for six out of this grouping on the final drive.
Considering Bray spent plenty of time in the shotgun in college, this is pretty interesting. Keep an eye on how Bray performs out of the gun tonight, as opposed to how he does from under center.
*This was easy to miss, but De’Anthony Thomas lined up as a wideout on a few occasions. I expect the Chiefs to be very creative in the ways they use Thomas, who has emerged as an intriguing big-play threat with his speed and surprising toughness for his size.
*On one occasion, the Chiefs used Mark Harrison as a tight end. I asked Reid about this recently, because the 6-foot-3, 230-pounder does have the build to play a little H-back.
“That was just one play, and he was a receiver on that,” Reid said. “Big body, he probably could do the other one, he’s a big kid. But he’s a wide receiver, that is what we’re looking to him as.”
*After logging a grand total of five snaps in the previous two exhibition games, J’Marcus Webb played 20 snaps.
*Frank Zombo played 20 snaps, including a healthy number at inside linebacker — in the first half, no less. I think Zombo makes the team, regardless, but this says something about his versatility, despite the fact Joe Mays and Josh Mauga are hurt.
*When the Chiefs’ backups went into their nickel defense, the two interior linemen were Vance Walker and Jaye Howard. That means they’re likely the primary backups behind Dontari Poe and Allen Bailey in that personnel.
*In the second-team base defense, Kyle Love spent time at nose tackle and defensive end. Dominique Hamilton also played both positions.
*In the second-team base defense, Phillip Gaines played outside cornerback but shifted inside against the slot in the nickel defense.
*Rookie safety Daniel Sorensen handled the personal-protector duties on the punt squad in the second half, which tells me he’s probably the top backup there. That could also be another positive sign regarding his chances of making the roster, particularly if you believe Cyrus Gray — who typically handles that job — is on the roster bubble.
*Joe McKnight spent some time as a kick returner and as one of the corners on the punt team. He showed some nastiness too, though he was whistled for a holding penalty on the same play. Check out No. 30 at the bottom of the following GIF:
*Twelve players didn’t log any offensive or defensive snaps, just special-teams snaps, and seven of them were released in the days following the game. Only linebacker Alonzo Highsmith, receiver Fred Williams, free safety Kelcie McCray, tight end Richard Gordon and linebacker Devan Walker remain.
With the Chiefs needing to cut an additional 23 players play 3 p.m. Saturday, these five are officially on notice.