Baker makes an appearance
In the wake of Rashad Fenton’s absence due to a knee injury, the Chiefs were going to turn to someone beyond L’Jarius Sneed and Charvarius Ward. Given the fact that he lingers on the depth chart, it felt like Mike Hughes might be the safe assumption, but Chiefs Kingdom got a surprise when they saw Deandre Baker take the field again and again in Week 13.
Despite being healthy, Baker had not played a single snap for the Chiefs on defense since Week 5 (and only some special teams snaps in Week 6). Since the team’s win over the Washington Football Team, Baker hasn’t been seen once—a weekly inactive—despite his former first-round pick status. On Sunday, however, Baker had 51 snaps (66 percent) while Hughes had 11 (14%). It’s an unexpected turn and we can’t help but wonder if there’s more to come here for Baker late in the season.
Bolton’s development is stifled
No other linebacker in the NFL had more tackles for a loss coming into Week 13 than Nick Bolton. That’s not a rookie list but the entire league. Given the way he showcased tremendous growth while learning on the fly in the absence of Willie Gay Jr. and Anthony Hitchens due to injury, you’d think the Chiefs would frontline Bolton as a playmaker in terms of snaps. Instead, he’s reeling on minimal opportunities as if he hasn’t proven a thing.
The Chiefs, on Sunday, played Gay, Hitchens, and even Ben Niemann on more defensive snaps than Bolton, which seems a crime given the way Javonte Williams was running all over the Chiefs for the entire game.
It’s hard to argue with the defensive calls at all at this point given the greater results, but Bolton is the very definition of wasted talent when he’s only playing 29 percent of the team’s given snaps.