In the wake of the Kansas City Chiefs win over the Denver Broncos in Week 13, it’s interesting to look at the team’s snap counts and how they employed the players on the current 53-man roster. It was the first official game action since the team took off a week for their regular-season bye, which meant any adjustments made by the coaches were put on display at Arrowhead on Sunday night.
It’s important to note that the playing time of some players will shift from game to game depending on how they are used and what the game plan calls for. A strong run-defending linebacker might earn plenty more time against an opponent expecting to emphasize the ground game, but he might sit out for much of the next contest for opposite reasons. You get the point.
For those reasons, snap counts can prove insightful at some moments but it’s also important to watch for overall trends instead of putting too much stock in a single game’s totals. With that in mind, let’s look at some things the snap counts tell us about the Chiefs in Week 13.
A balanced backfield
Just before the bye, Clyde Edwards-Helaire had finally returned against the Dallas Cowboys from a sprained MCL that kept him out for several games prior. He played well in his first game back and the bye gave him further time to rest and recover for the stretch run. But it’s still clear that the Chiefs are either taking it easier with their former first-round pick for the time being or they love the approach that a balanced backfield brings.
On Sunday against the Broncos, Edwards-Helaire had 51 percent of the snaps while Darrel Williams had 46. Williams has displayed his value in recent weeks, especially in CEH’s absence, and the Chiefs would do well to keep him in the rotation. But what might have been unexpected was how evenly split the opportunities were (29 to 26 snaps for Edwards-Helaire and Williams, respectively).
This might change going forward, but if the Chiefs believed in Edwards-Helaire’s ceiling enough to make him a first-round pick, they’re still playing it rather conservative with his offensive involvement.