Red Zone

Chiefs’ snap-count observations: Travis Kelce only plays 18 snaps

Here are some observations based on the snap-count data from the Chiefs’ 26-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. Numbers are provided by the NFL.

OFFENSE

*Travis Kelce was on the field for 18 of the Chiefs’ 57 offensive snaps. I’m genuinely surprised by that. Kelce has looked good all preseason and can help this team. It should be noted that Kelce caught three of his five targets, including a 27-yard gain — the Chiefs’ largest of the day.

*Tight end Anthony Fasano played 52 snaps, but I’m OK with that. He can help them.

*Donnie Avery played 55 snaps as the No. 1 receiver and was targeted 13 times. He caught seven of them for 84 yards, but was the intended target on all three of quarterback Alex Smith’s interceptions.

*Jamaal Charles logged 54 snaps but only received 11 touches.

*Ryan Harris replaced Jeff Allen at right tackle for 17 snaps. Allen suffered a biceps strain. He also replaced Eric Fisher at left tackle for one play.

*Junior Hemingway was the primary slot receiver with 33 snaps. Albert Wilson didn’t receive any offensive snaps. I thought he would play more.

*Receiver A.J. Jenkins only played seven offensive snaps. That’s disappointing after he showed some promise in the playoff loss to Indianapolis.

*Fullback Anthony Sherman was one of the Chiefs’ best players last season, but he only played six snaps. Four of those came in the first quarter. Perhaps a little more “21” personnel — two backs and a tight end — would help get him on the field.

*The Chiefs gave Cyrus Gray a carry early in the first quarter and he never saw the field on offense again.

DEFENSE

*Two pretty significant changes on defense. Mike DeVito spent a ton of time on the field in the Chiefs’ nickel subpackage, which rarely happened last season. Linebacker James-Michael Johnson (49 snaps) got a ton of work in nickel next to Derrick Johnson, too. This is notable because Eric Berry spent far less time in the box than he has in the past.

*The Chiefs used that nickel subpackage a bunch Sunday, as nickelback Chris Owens logged 50 of 79 defensive snaps.

*When DeVito got hurt, the Chiefs turned to Jaye Howard (24 snaps). Vance Walker, who signed a three-year, $13 million contract this offseason, only played one snap. And he got a sack on the play. I expected Walker to rotate in much more than he did.

*It should be noted that Dontari Poe might be headed toward another iron-man season. He played 78 of 79 snaps. I don’t think that’s a good thing, especially if/when teams start pounding the ball more with Derrick Johnson and DeVito out.

*The Chiefs must really like Daniel Sorensen. Husain Abdullah and Eric Berry played every defensive snap (79), but Sorensen logged 18 snaps in the Quintin Demps role from last season. Kelcie McCray also played three snaps, largely (I assume) when the Chiefs went to their 1-3-7 look (which they did show early in the first quarter.

*First-round pick Dee Ford only played three defensive snaps on Sunday. Third-round pick Phillip Gaines only played one. Those were long-term picks when they made them, but you’d like to see your first two picks make a bigger initial impact.

SPECIAL TEAMS

*Cyrus Gray logged 24 special-teams snaps, 23 more than Joe McKnight. Only Josh Martin (30), Frank Zombo (30) and James-Michael Johnson (27) had more. Sorensen also had 24 special-teams snaps.

To reach Terez A. Paylor, call 816-234-4489 or send email to tpaylor@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter at @TerezPaylor.

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