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Defensive snap-count observations: Chiefs take a long look at a young secondary

The Kansas City Chiefs defense lined up against the Los Angeles Rams last Saturday.
The Kansas City Chiefs defense lined up against the Los Angeles Rams last Saturday. The Associated Press

Here are some observations based on the defensive snap-count data from the Chiefs’ 21-20 preseason loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday. Numbers are provided by the NFL; the first pair of numbers after each player’s name is from the Rams game, while the second pair is from the previous week’s game against the Seahawks.

INTERIOR D-LINE

Dontari Poe — 23 (46 percent)/17 (22 percent)

Allen Bailey — 19 (38 percent)/16 (21 percent)

Jaye Howard — 18 (36 percent)/16 (21 percent)

Chris Jones — 17 (34 percent)/28 (37 percent)

Jimmy Staten — 17 (34 percent)/18 (24 percent)

Nick Williams — 13 (26 percent)/23 (30 percent)

David King — 13 (26 percent)/26 (34 percent)

Niko Davis — 10 (20 percent)/8 (11 percent)

Rakeem Nunez-Roches — 0 (0 percent)/37 (49 percent)

Analysis: It looks like the primary beneficiary of Nunez-Roches’ injury was Staten, whose snaps rose 10 percent this week. Davis also saw his snap percentage rise, while King saw his fall slightly.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKER

Frank Zombo — 26 (52 percent)/19 (25 percent)

Dee Ford — 26 (52 percent)/19 (25 percent)

Dadi Nicolas — 24 (48 percent)/21 (28 percent)

Jonathan Massaquoi — 15 (30 percent)/39 (51 percent)

Andy Mulumba — 10 (20 percent)/36 (47 percent)

Dezman Moses — 0 (0 percent)/19 (25 percent)

Analysis: The Chiefs wanted to get a better look at Nicolas, who shined in the preseason opener and saw his snap percentage rise by 20 as Moses sat out due to injury. Massaquoi and Mulumba each saw their playing time roughly halved.

INSIDE LINEBACKER

Derrick Johnson — 22 (44 percent)/19 (25 percent)

Tyrell Adams — 15 (30 percent)/21 (28 percent)

Ramik Wilson — 15 (30 percent)/21 (28 percent)

Justin March — 12 (24 percent)/32 (42 percent)

Terrance Smith — 12 (24 percent)/5 (7 percent)

D.J. Alexander — 6 (12 percent)/13 (17 percent)

Analysis: March got the start but saw his snap percentage fall as Wilson took over the first-team reps next to D.J. in the second quarter. The fact Smith saw his playing time triple is interesting, but it might not be a reflection on Alexander, who got a handful of second- and third-quarter reps next to Wilson. The Rams only ran nine offensive plays in the third quarter, with the Chiefs playing their dime subpackage with a safety at linebacker on the others, so that probably explains Alexander’s low snap count (though he remains on the roster bubble).

CORNERBACK

D.J. White — 32 (64 percent)/37 (49 percent)

Steven Nelson — 24 (54 percent)/43 (57 percent)

Marcus Cooper — 25 (50 percent)/36 (47 percent)

Marcus Peters — 25 (50 percent)/19 (25 percent)

KeiVarae Russell — 4 (8 percent)/32 (42 percent)

Malcolm Jackson — 0 (0 percent)/6 (8 percent)

Bryce Cheek — 0 (0 percent)/15 (20 percent

Deveron Carr — 0 (0 percent)/15 (20 percent)

Analysis: The Chiefs went out of their way to take a long look at White and Nelson. But the lack of work for Russell, a third-round pick, is incredibly interesting; he might end up in the same situation as Nelson was last year, with a pseudo redshirt campaign. Jackson, Cheek and Carr didn’t earn defensive snaps, which isn’t a great sign for young players hoping to make the team.

SAFETY

Eric Murray — 35 (70 percent)/36 (47 percent)

Ron Parker — 26 (52 percent)/20 (26 percent)

Jeron Johnson — 19 (38 percent)/19 (25 percent)

Daniel Sorensen — 18 (36 percent)/19 (25 percent)

Jamell Fleming — 14 (28 percent)/29 (38 percent)

Stevie Brown — 10 (20 percent)/20 (26 percent)

Shak Randolph — 2 (4 percent)/21 (28 percent)

Analysis: Murray, a fourth-round pick, got the start over Sorensen, a mild surprise. He played the most of any Chief, so it’s clear the team wanted to get a sense for what he could do. The workload drop off for Randolph and Fleming needs to be monitored this week. Brown was released on Thursday.

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