Here are some observations based on the snap-count data from the Chiefs’ 35-28 loss to the Denver Broncos on Dec. 1. Numbers provided by the NFL.
*Don’t look now, but second-year receiver A.J. Jenkins has been getting more work in recent weeks. Jenkins has played a total of 20 snaps the last two weeks, more than he had in the previous four games combined (17). A reason for his increased usage this week (12 snaps) was the injury to starter Donnie Avery, who is apparently fine now (Chiefs coach Andy Reid didn’t mention him among the walking wounded during his press conference Monday).
Regardless, I spoke to Jenkins on Monday, and the fact he’s has been getting a chance to prove himself this season means a lot to him. Remember, the guy was a first-round pick last season who barely played.
*Geoff Schwartz got the nod at right guard, though starter Jon Asamoah was healthy enough to play. Yet, Asamoah logged six snaps on Sunday while Schwartz played all but two offensive snaps. The numbers don’t really add up, but there’s a reason for it — Schwartz assumed tackle Donald Stephenson’s old role as a tackle-eligible player. On those four snaps, Asamoah played right guard while Schwartz lined up at tight end. Check out an example below:As for Asamoah’s other two snaps — and why Schwartz missed a few plays — well, perhaps it’s better to just let Schwartz explain it. “I had to leave because of a formational (rule),” Schwartz said. “I can’t go from eligible to ineligible, so you have to come out a play and go back in.” This sequence came in the second quarter. After Schwartz was flagged for illegal procedure, Asamoah played the next two snaps at right guard while Schwartz stood on the sideline. The drive ended with a touchdown that gave the Chiefs a 21-7 lead. *Running back Cyrus Gray hardly plays at all on offense these days, but oddly enough he’s now logged exactly one offensive snap in both games against the Broncos this season. He even made an impact on that one play Sunday, catching a playaction dump off in the left flat for 8 yards. *I wrote about this a little bit here, but when left tackle Branden Albert went down with a knee sprain, Stephenson moved over from right tackle to take his place while Eric Fisher took over on the right side. Defense *Outside linebacker Frank Zombo played all 70 defensive snaps, which cut into some of his special teams grunt work. Turns out this was the reason the Chiefs called up outside linebacker Josh Martin from the practice squad only a day before the game. Martin, an undrafted rookie, made his NFL debut against the Broncos, logging 14 special teams snaps. He played at Zombo’s old positions on kickoff return and kick coverage, though Zombo still logged 10 special teams snaps, in all. *This was another high-usage game for safety Quintin Demps, who has played 80 percent of his team’s defensive snaps in each of the last three weeks. He plays in the Chiefs’ dime package, which has been their personnel grouping of choice when forced to match up with three or more receivers. That’s also why you’ve been seeing safety Eric Berry line up so much as a linebacker recently. *Considering the way outside linebacker Tamba Hali looked after his ankle injury against San Diego, I’m impressed he managed to play all 70 snaps against the Broncos. *Starting defensive end Mike DeVito, who has been dealing with a knee sprain, played two snaps while backup Allen Bailey played 49. Considering Bailey’s strong performance the week before against San Diego, this wasn’t a surprise. Bailey was used as a situational pass rusher before DeVito’s injury, and I figured his skills would be needed against the Broncos’ vaunted aerial circus. *This marks the third straight week starting middle linebacker Akeem Jordan had very little to do on defense. Jordan only played seven snaps after playing 17 the week before against San Diego and 11 on Nov. 17 against Denver. Again, you can chalk this up to the Broncos’ pass-happy nature. *Veteran cornerback Dunta Robinson logged one snap as a deep safety. It’s his first game action since Oct. 13, when he played 41 snaps and recorded one tackle in the Chiefs’ win over the Oakland Raiders. *Husain Abdullah played 12 defensive snaps while safety Kendrick Lewis had an ankle injury tended to. Lewis said after the game that he felt fine. “I’m good, man,” Lewis said. “Just a little stinger. I got (back) out there.” *Linebacker Dezman Moses never got that shot at redemption he was talking about. One week after he failed to record a quarterback pressure in 43 snaps, he didn’t play a single defensive snap against the Broncos.