Here are some observations based on the snap-count data from the Chiefs’ 31-13 win over the Oakland Raiders on Dec. 16. Numbers provided by the NFL.
▪ Quarterback: Alex Smith 63, Chase Daniel 4.
Some rare work for Daniel, who appeared in his second game of the season.
▪ Running backs: Jamaal Charles 39, Knile Davis 25, De’Anthony Thomas 21, Anthony Sherman 19, Charcandrick West 1.
Charles is banged up, which is why Davis finally earned a little more work. The Chiefs tried to take advantage of Thomas’ talents early.
▪ Receivers: Dwayne Bowe 52, Albert Wilson 46, Jason Avant 25, Frankie Hammond 8, Junior Hemingway 3.
Bowe and Wilson remain the primary receivers with Avant operating as a solid third option. I do think it’s interesting Hammond got a few more snaps than Hemingway, though it likely has to do with the formations that were called. Hammond is more of an outside receiver, while Hemingway is a slot guy.
▪ Tight ends: Travis Kelce 52, Anthony Fasano 42.
It appears Kelce has usurped Fasano as the Chiefs’ top tight end, even though there’s plenty of room for both guys.
▪ Offensive line: Jeff Linkenbach 67, Rodney Hudson 67, Eric Fisher 67, Zach Fulton 67, Ryan Harris 67, Donald Stephenson 2.
Linkenbach stepped in at left guard for Mike McGlynn, who has been struggling all season. Stephenson remains the sixth lineman for heavy sets.
▪ Defensive line: Dontari Poe 59, Vance Walker 53, Jaye Howard 25, Kevin Vickerson 23, Nick Williams 2.
With starter Allen Bailey out, Vance Walker earned most of his reps for the second straight week. Kevin Vickerson ate into Jaye Howard’s snaps a bit. The newly-signed Williams make his first defensive appearance as a Chief.
▪ Linebackers: Josh Mauga 68, Justin Houston 65, Tamba Hali 58, Dee Ford 38, Joe Mays 27, Frank Zombo 15, Josh Martin 13, James-Michael Johnson 9.
The story here is Ford logging a season-high in snaps. The Chiefs’ dominance — and Hali’s creaky knee — allowed them to give their first-round pick an extended look for the first time all season. There was a time when Martin used to earn as many, or more, snaps than Ford did in a reserve role. Zombo also worked in as a reserve for Hali. Johnson has fully been surpassed by Mays as a starter at inside linebacker.
▪ Defensive backs: Jamell Fleming 78, Husain Abdullah 71, Ron Parker 67, Sean Smith 59, Chris Owens 54, Kurt Coleman 52, Marcus Cooper 20, Kelsie McCray 12, Daniel Sorensen 12.
The Raiders’ inexplicable decision to air it out 56 times against a struggling run defense allowed the Chiefs to give safety Kurt Coleman more work (52 snaps!) in nickel and dime packages. This also played a role in nickel corner Chris Owens playing 54 snaps. Cooper earned his first extended action in two months thanks did the blowout. So did Sorensen, a backup rookie safety.