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Chiefs snap-count observations: Kurt Coleman carving out niche as third safety

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid spoke with Kansas City Chiefs running back Knile Davis (34) on the sidelines in the fourth quarter in the Chiefs' 41-14 victory over the New England Patriots at Arrowhead Stadium.
Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid spoke with Kansas City Chiefs running back Knile Davis (34) on the sidelines in the fourth quarter in the Chiefs' 41-14 victory over the New England Patriots at Arrowhead Stadium. David Eulitt/The Kansas City Star

Here are some observations based on the snap-count data from the Chiefs’ 41-14 win over the New England Patriots on Monday. Numbers are provided by the NFL:

Defense

The Patriots used a ton of three-wide sets, which basically took starting linebacker James-Michael Johnson out of the game. Johnson has seen his workload fall from 82 percent to 56 percent to 32 percent over the last three games, mainly because the Chiefs feel comfortable using safety Husain Abdullah as a dime linebacker next to fellow starter Josh Mauga. In these instances, Ron Parker (50 of 50 possible snaps) and Kurt Coleman (24 snaps) play safety.

Coleman has seen his playing time increase the last three weeks, from 12 percent against Denver to 40 percent against Miami and 48 percent against New England. According to Pro Football Focus, Coleman — who was signed shortly before the regular season — has only been targeted once during his tenure as a Chief. He allowed a 6-yard completion.

The Chiefs continue to let Tamba Hali take a few snaps off every game. This week he played 41 snaps, while his backups Josh Martin (six) and Dee Ford (four) filled in. Ford did log one snap with Houston and Hali on the field.

Allen Bailey (90 percent of the snaps) and Dontari Poe (86 percent) continue to earn the majority of the work on the interior. There is a package that allows Kevin Vickerson and Vance Walker to play together, however, and each logged six snaps Monday. Both players can help more than they are being allowed to. I’d like to see Walker, in particular, get some of those pass-rush reps next to Poe in subpackages.

Offense

Tight end Travis Kelce saw his workload fall from 65 percent to 52 percent, but it sure didn’t feel like it, did it? Chiefs coach Andy Reid called a heck of a game Monday. Chalk the drop off up to the masterful way he kept the Patriots off balance with personnel groupings.

Fellow tight end Demetrius Harris played 10 snaps just one week after he logged a career-high 13. The Chiefs’ three-tight end sets are probably here to stay, and we’ll see more of them if Harris continues to develop as a receiver and blocker.

Running back Jamaal Charles played 36 snaps while Knile Davis played 29. I like that distribution of snaps. The Chiefs can extend Charles’ career by mixing and matching both guys, and Davis is looking more and more capable as a runner, though he’s still working hard to become an all-around back.

Fullback Anthony Sherman was on the field for a season-high 39 percent of the snaps. The more Sherman plays, the better, I say. He’s a very good NFL fullback who brings a tough, lunch-pail attitude to the running game. Check out this awesome cut block by Sherman (No. 42).

This marks the third week in a row that A.J. Jenkins has played more snaps than Frankie Hammond. Hammond, if you remember, played a ton in the Chiefs’ season opener against the Titans. But he’s seen his workload fall off sharply since then, from 95 percent against Tennessee to nine percent against Denver and six percent against Miami and New England.

Special Teams

The Chiefs’ go-to special teamers are Frank Zombo (72 percent), Cyrus Gray (69 percent), Junior Hemingway (66 percent), Jerry Franklin (66 percent), Phillip Gaines (59 percent) and Chris Owens (52 percent).

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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