Red Zone

Chiefs special teams snap decisions: Teams are keying on D.J. Alexander

Here is the special teams snap-count data from the Chiefs’ 30-27 win over the Denver Broncos on Sunday, along with some thoughts from coach Andy Reid and some personal observations. Snaps for the entire season are also listed.

(You can also find my offensive snap-count thoughts here and defensive snap-count thoughts here.)

KEY: “*” denotes starter. “R” denotes rookie. “C” denotes game captain. “INJ” denotes injury. “N/A” denotes the player was not a Chief at the time. “PS” denotes practice squad. “INA” denotes inactive.


D.J. Alexander3720172225201726132829254
Dan Sorensen3520212225201726142829257
Eric Murray (R)3520212225201726142829257
Frank Zombo31161314111281871810158
James O'Shaughnessy*2915181823161414131623199
De'Anthony Thomas2915109836INAINAINAINA80
Anthony Sherman2815222129202024172123240
Demetrius Harris*241417162418161791518188
Demarcus Robinson (R)2215181921161220132023177
Terrance Smith1912109PSPSPSPSPSPSPS50
D.J. White (R)1911INJINJINJ3101010171797
Albert Wilson1697111911913770109
Dustin Colquitt1569121399981010110
James Winchester1569121399981010110
Cairo Santos11791114111269911110
Tyreek Hill (R)9358131281581510106
Phillip Gaines*80132INJ1INJ16628
Ramik Wilson*854424PSPSPSPSPS27
Rakeem Nunez-Roches*854423PSPSPSN/AINA26
Chris Jones (R)*8444243516647
Kendall Reyes653130N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A18
Jarvis Jenkins61N/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A7
Eric Fisher*5345756344551
Zach Fulton*5345756344551
Mitch Morse*5345756344551
Laurent Duvernay-Tardif*52457563INJINJ542
Jah Reid5345710INJINJ4029
Bryan Witzmann5345INAINAINA044INA20
Dadi Nicolas (R)4INA10780100522
Marcus Peters*2INJ1101000005
Dontari Poe*2544243516642
Ron Parker*201202000108
Kenneth Acker0015171712INA15INAINAINA76
Derrick Johnson*001101000003
Tamba Hali*000000000000
Alex Smith* (C)000INJ00000000
Nick Foles000000000000
Spencer Ware*000INJ00000011
Charcandrick West0000133INJ45420
Knile Davis0360N/AN/AINA4031026
Mitch Schwartz*0100346344025
Chris Conley*010201010016
Travis Kelce*0000001044514
Eric Berry* (C)000000000000
Steven NelsonINJ2106875124202498
Jaye HowardINJINJINJ2242515526
Dee FordINJ01101000003
Parker Ehinger (R)IRIRIRIR4563INJINJ523
Allen BaileyIRIRIRIRIRIR1516619
Justin March-LillardIRIRIRIRIRIR3517824
Nick WilliamsN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A200114
Sam BarringtonN/AN/AN/AN/AINA06INAINJINJ1016
Dezman MosesN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A10511N/A26

Analysis: So far this season, D.J. Alexander, Dan Sorensen and Eric Murray have been the unquestioned alpha dogs of Dave Toub’s special-teams units.

Alexander leads the team in special-teams tackles with seven and is coming off of one of his best games, according to Chiefs coach Andy Reid.

“He’s been kind of up and down this year,” Reid said. “Teams have been keying on him on special teams and his performances haven’t been graded as high as they have been in the past. He’s having to adjust his game a little bit there. I thought he did that in this game and really played well.”

▪ Murray, a rookie, is a tough kid and willing hitter who is adjusting to safety after spending his entire college career at corner, but his five special-teams tackles are an indication of his physicality.

▪ Tyreek Hill’s special-teams workload has fallen off since he’s emerged as one of the Chiefs’ most dependable offensive weapons. After serving as a gunner for the first several games, his only work Sunday came as a kick- and punt-returner, as he was the deep man for all nine of the Broncos’ punts and three of their kickoffs. Hill used to serve as a very energetic gunner on the punt unit (along with fellow rookie Demarcus Robinson) but that job has now fallen to De’Anthony Thomas, who has seen his special-teams workload increase.

▪ This was easy to miss, but Phillip Gaines must be feeling better; he logged a season-high eight special-teams plays after logging zero last week.

▪ I find it interesting that right tackle Mitch Schwartz no longer serves as a protector on field goals and extra points, even though he hasn’t missed a snap all season. In those situations, the Chiefs go to Bryan Witzmann. Schwartz’s special-teams duty started falling off four games ago, around the time he injured his ankle.