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.
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.
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.