Red Zone

Chiefs special teams snap decisions: Minor personnel changes vs. Titans

Kansas City Chiefs returner Tyreek Hill dropped a punt in the first quarter before recovering it during Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans at Arrowhead Stadium.
Kansas City Chiefs returner Tyreek Hill dropped a punt in the first quarter before recovering it during Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans at Arrowhead Stadium. jsleezer@kcstar.com

Here is the special teams snap-count data from the Chiefs’ 19-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, along with some personal observations and production analysis. Special teams snaps for the entire season are also listed.

(You should also read my snap observations on the offense and defense.)

KEY: “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.

SPECIALISTS

 
PlayerTEN13121110987654321TOT
Eric Murray (R)2125203520212225201726142829323
Dan Sorensen2125203520212225201726142829323
Anthony Sherman1715192815222129202024172123291
James O'Shaughnessy1721162915181823161414131623253
Frank Zombo17221531161314111281871810212
De'Anthony Thomas1618182915109836INAINAINAINA132
Demarcus Robinson (R)1416102215181921161220132023239
Demetrius Harris141816241417162418161791518236
D.J. Alexander1326203720172225201726132829313
D.J. White (R)11INA121911INJINJINJ31010101717120
Terrance Smith1116121912109PSPSPSPSPSPSPS89
Albert Wilson109101697111911913770138
Dustin Colquitt9881569121399981010135
James Winchester (C)9881569121399981010135
Dadi Nicolas (R)9INAINA4INA10780100535
Cairo Santos77911791114111269911133
Tyreek Hill (R)51019358131281581510122
Steven Nelson480INJ21068751242024110
Eric Fisher3345345756344561
Zach Fulton3345345756344561
Mitch Morse3345345756344561
Chris Jones (R)3548444243516659
Dontari Poe3542544243516654
Laurent Duvernay-Tardif33452457563INJINJ552
Jah Reid3345345710INJINJ4039
Ramik Wilson354854424PSPSPSPSPS39
Rakeem Nunez-Roches324854423PSPSPSN/AINA35
Bryan Witzmann3345345INAINAINA044INA35
T.J. Barnes330PSPSPSPSPSPSN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A6
Terrance Mitchell2054PSPSINA2INAPSPSPSPSPS13
Ron Parker1102012020001010
Chris Conley110010201010018
Jeremy Maclin10INJINJINJINJ001000002
Marcus Peters0102INJ1101000006
Dee Ford010INJ01101000004
Mitch Schwartz0000100346344025
Charcandrick West0000000133INJ45420
Travis Kelce0000000001044514
Jarvis Jenkins00061N/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A7
Spencer Ware000000INJ00000011
Eric Berry000000000000000
Nick Foles000000000000000
Tamba Hali000000000000000
Justin Houston00000INJINJINJINJINJINJINJINJINJ0
David King0PSPSPSPS0PSPSPSPSPSPSPSPS0
Alex Smith000000INJ00000000
Kenneth AckerINAINA00015171712INA15INAINAINA76
Knile DavisINAINAINA0360N/AN/AINA4031026
Ross TravisINAINAINAINA00INAINAINAINA01539
Mike PersonINAINAINAINAINAINAINAN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A0
Tyler BrayINA INAINAINAINA0INAINAINAINAINAINAINA0
Phillip GainesINJ21INA80132INJ1INJ16649
Kendall ReyesINJ44653130N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A26
Jaye HowardIRIRIRINJINJINJ2242515526
Justin March-LillardIRIRIRIRIRIRIRIRIR3517824
Parker Ehinger (R)IRIRIRIRIRIRIR4563INJINJ523
Allen BaileyIRIRIRIRIRIRIRIRIR1516619
Derrick JohnsonIR00001101000003
Jamaal CharlesIRIRIRIRIRIRIRINJ000INJINJINJ0
Jordan DeveyPSPSPSPSPSPSN/AINAINAINAINA40PS4
Dezman MosesN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A10511N/A26
Sam BarringtonN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AINA06INAINJINJ1016
Nick WilliamsN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A200114
Sio MooreN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A0INAINAN/AN/AN/AN/A0

Analysis: Special teams ace D.J. Alexander saw a slightly-reduced special teams role due to his increased defensive role. He participated on kick return, punt coverage and field-goal block, but was replaced on kickoffs and punt returns by Dadi Nicolas.

▪ Phillip Gaines played a season-high 21 special-teams snaps against Oakland last week, but he was inactive this week due to ongoing knee issues. He was replaced as a gunner on punt coverage by Demarcus Robinson and as a corner on punt return and on kickoff by D.J. White. He was also replaced as an end on field-goal block by Terrance Mitchell.

▪ Jeremy Maclin earned only his second special-teams snap of the year. That’s because he’s on the hands team on kick returns. The Titans kicked the ball off trailing 17-16 late in the fourth quarter, and he was out there along with a handful of other starters who made a rare special-teams appearance, including safety Ron Parker and receiver Chris Conley.

▪ De’Anthony Thomas has been good on special teams this year, someone who has embraced the dirty work (gunner, kick coverage, etc.) and won over special teams coach Dave Toub in the process. He had a false start penalty while lined up as a gunner on a third-quarter punt, but he definitely sold out to try to block Ryan Succop’s 39-yard fourth-quarter field goal.

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▪ The Titans have one of the league’s worst punt-coverage units, but they limited explosive rookie Tyreek Hill to only 1 yard in three returns. The Chiefs also returned two kicks for an average of 11 yards.

▪ Anthony Sherman led the way in special teams tackles with two, while Eric Murray, Frank Zombo and Daniel Sorensen — all special teams stalwarts — each chipped in with one apiece.

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