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Final snap analysis (defense): Chiefs’ Justin Houston logs biggest workload since ’14

Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters and outside linebacker Justin Houston were on the field for a large percentage of the team’s snaps in 2017.
Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters and outside linebacker Justin Houston were on the field for a large percentage of the team’s snaps in 2017. deulitt@kcstar.com

The Star has tracked every Chiefs player’s snap counts throughout the course of the season. The chart has been updated through the Wild Card round, following the Chiefs’ 22-21 loss to the Tennessee Titans.

You can find my thoughts on the offense’s final snap-count totals here. You can also find my thoughts on the special teams’ final snap-count totals here.

 
DEFENSIVE LINE (Part 1)@NEPHI@LACWAS@HOUPIT@OAKDEN@DAL@NYG
Chris Jones48323936434255363856
Allen Bailey656052374651625529INA (knee)
Bennie Logan44374232414641395052
Rakeem Nunez-Roches312628481917202638
Jarvis JenkinsINAINAINA96INA1120INA19
Roy Miller III139135710INAINA21FA
Justin HamiltonPHI (PS)FAPHI (PS)PHIPHIPHIPHIPHIPHI (PS)PHI (PS)
Cam ThomasFAFAFAFAFAFAFAFAFA15
Stefan CharlesFAFAFAFAFAFAFAFAFAFA
 
DEFENSIVE LINE (Part 2)BUF@NYJOAKLACMIA@DENTENTOTSNPSPCT
Chris Jones47644736332720699117259.6%
Allen Bailey1646304532DNP61687117258.6%
Bennie Logan494293020INA (knee)45619117252.8%
Rakeem Nunez-Roches474015261532INA (Ank.)392117233.4%
Jarvis Jenkins2331269184831251117221.4%
Roy Miller IIIFAFAFAFAFAFAFA7811726.7%
Justin HamiltonPHI (PS)PHI (PS)INAINAINA45125711724.9%
Cam ThomasFAFAFAFAFAFAFA1511721.3%
Stefan CharlesFAFAFAFAFAFAINA011720.0%

Snap analysis: The Chiefs replaced Dontari Poe with Logan, and while Logan had a nice season, it’s worth noting no one on the Chiefs’ defensive line managed to log the workload Poe did last year (73.5 percent). Bailey did bounce back from an injury-shortened season to record his highest snap percentage since 2014, when he posted a workload of 70.5 percent. Jones also topped his workload from last year (50.4 percent), as did Nunez-Roches (25.3 percent). Jenkins seemed to play more than he did; he posted a snap percentage around 21 percent last year, too.

 
OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS (Part 1)@NEPHI@LACWAS@HOUPIT@OAKDEN@DAL@NYG
Justin Houston81706550526479634966
Frank Zombo77454753305456269
Dee Ford746733INA (back)INA (back)348028INA (back)INA (back)
Tanoh Kpassagnon00202001003
Tamba HaliPUP (knee)PUP (knee)PUP (knee)PUP (knee)PUP (knee)PUP (knee)PUP (knee)PUP (knee)23INA (knees)
Dadi NicolasPUP (knee)PUP (knee)PUP (knee)PUP (knee)PUP (knee)PUP (knee)PUP (knee)PUP (knee)PUP (knee)PUP (knee)
 
OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS (Part 2)BUF@NYJOAKLACMIA@DENTENTOTSNPSPCT
Justin Houston6380545956DNP681019117286.9%
Frank Zombo5074233833052640117254.6%
Dee FordINA (back)INA (back)IR (back)IR (back)IR (back)IR (back)IR (back)316117227.0%
Tanoh Kpassagnon142815128650159117213.6%
Tamba Hali13INA (knees)INA (knees)1914DNP (knees)198811727.5%
Dadi NicolasPUP (knee)PUP (knee)IR (knee)IR (knee)IR (knee)IR (knee)IR (knee)011720.0%

Snap analysis: Congrats to Houston, who shouldered his biggest workload since his 22-sack season in 2014 by playing an impressive 86.9 percent of the snaps. Houston managed to stay relatively injury-free this year after battling knee issues in 2015 and 2016. His ability to stay on the field this season was timed well; he’s due a cap number of $20.6 million in 2018 and the cash-strapped Chiefs — who are currently projected to be nearly $5 million over the projected cap by OverTheCap.com — could save $7.9 million by cutting him. However, considering his reliability and production (he led the team with 9  1/2 sacks and 20 pressures), KC should be motivated to keep him around.

Zombo, meanwhile, played the most he ever has since he joined the Chiefs in 2013, logging a career-high workload of 54.6 percent due to Ford’s myriad injury issues.

Zombo’s increased workload also came at the expense of Hali, who actually played 53.2 percent of the snaps last year and saw his playing time fall off a cliff. Considering his $9.7 million cap number next year — along with the $8 million that can be saved by cutting him — it seems unlikely the future Chiefs Hall of Famer will be back. And while he said a few weeks ago that he’s leaning toward retirement, I suspect he’d still be open to playing again if the right opportunity comes along.

 
INSIDE LINEBACKERS (Part 1)@NEPHI@LACWAS@HOUPIT@OAKDEN@DAL@NYG
Derrick Johnson81725550626473735335
Reggie RaglandINAINADNP2110279202047
Kevin Pierre-Louis2119INA2118523934
Ramik Wilson2514210INAINAINAINAINA0
Ukeme Eligwe00INA0000000
Terrance Smith0003000000
 
INSIDE LINEBACKERS (Part 2)BUF@NYJOAKLACMIA@DENTENTOTSNPSPCT
Derrick Johnson4457434341INA50896117276.5%
Reggie Ragland4248213424DNP50373117231.8%
Kevin Pierre-Louis2635181615DNP21272117223.2%
Ramik Wilson00INAINAINA65INA125117210.7%
Ukeme EligweINA00006506511725.5%
Terrance SmithINA (Conc.)00006206511725.5%

Snap analysis: Even though he stayed healthy all year, Johnson carried the same workload (73 percent) he did a year ago, when he suffered a season-ending Achilles tear in late December. A reason for the smaller workload was the emergence of a pair of young linebackers, Ragland and Pierre-Louis. Ragland played a little less than you think (32 percent) while Pierre-Louis played a little more (23 percent). Provided they continue to develop, they’ll give the Chiefs a nice start at this position in 2018.

 
CORNERBACKS (Part 1)@NEPHI@LACWAS@HOUPIT@OAKDEN@DAL@NYG
Marcus Peters81727050646282736569
Terrance Mitchell74727349636182DNP42
Steven NelsonIR (knee)IR (knee)IR (knee)IR (knee)IR (knee)IR (knee)IR (knee)536466
Phillip Gaines535755295437730029
Darrelle RevisFAFAFAFAFAFAFAFAFAFA
Kenneth Acker0210001173472
Keith ReaserSFPSPSPSPSPSPSPSPSPS
D.J. WhiteINAINAINAINAINADNPINAINAFAINDY
 
CORNERBACKS (Part 2)BUF@NYJOAKLACMIA@DENTENTOTSNPSPCT
Marcus Peters7088SUSP6456INA701036117288.4%
Terrance Mitchell394061210650706117260.2%
Steven Nelson7075616456470583117249.7%
Phillip Gaines030INAINA29IR (Elb.)419117235.8%
Darrelle RevisINA365624472849240117220.5%
Kenneth Acker212103551210117217.9%
Keith ReaserPSPSPSINAINA5005011724.3%
D.J. WhiteINDYINDYINDYINDYINDYINDYINDY011720.0%

Snap analysis: Despite missing two games (one for suspension and another for rest purposes), Peters logged a similar workload to last year (90 percent). Mitchell set a career-high in snaps played but lost his job due to mental mistakes, despite finishing second on the team in interceptions with four. Gaines had a similar workload to last year (40 percent) before landing on injured reserve with an elbow injury. It says a lot that Revis still logged 20.5 percent of the overall snaps despite not joining the team until early December.

 
SAFETIES (Part 1)@NEPHI@LACWAS@HOUPIT@OAKDEN@DAL@NYG
Ron Parker81727350646482736769
Dan Sorensen48727150636280736568
Eric Murray13504628451355471520
Steven TerrellFA0000INA (conc.)0INA00
Eric Berry70IR (Ach.)IR (Ach.)IR (Ach.)IR (Ach.)IR (Ach.)IR (Ach.)IR (Ach.)IR (Ach.)IR (Ach.)
Leon McQuayPSPSPSPSPSPSPSPSPSPS
 
SAFETIES (Part 2)BUF@NYJOAKLACMIA@DENTENTOTSNPSPCT
Ron Parker7091616056INA701103117294.1%
Dan Sorensen7089616456DNP671059117290.4%
Eric Murray16INA (ank.)INA (ank.)29322917455117238.8%
Steven Terrell03338IR (fing)IR (fing)IR (fing)IR (fing)7111726.1%
Eric BerryIR (Ach.)IR (Ach.)IR (Ach.)IR (Ach.)IR (Ach.)IR (Ach.)IR (Ach.)7011726.0%
Leon McQuayPSPSPSINAINA46INA4611723.9%

Snap analysis: Based on snap percentages, Parker was a steadying influence, one who finished four percentage points higher in workload than the next man, Sorensen. Sorensen, by the way, set a career-high in snaps played. So did Murray, a second-year pro who shouldered a larger role due to the season-ending injury to Berry in the opening game vs. New England.

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