KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Chiefs coaching staff evenly distributed playing time among the backups in Saturday night's 38-17 preseason win over the Cincinnati Bengals after the first-team units on both sides of the ball made token appearances.
Tight end Deon Yelder emerged as the iron man of the night, leading the team with both 41 offensive snaps and 15 special teams plays. Safety Armani Watts played the most of any defender with 50 snaps on defense and seven special teams reps.
The Chiefs first-team offense played just eight snaps before retiring for the night. Tight end Travis Kelce and receiver Tyreek Hill played a single snap, just the opening play of the drive. Kelce hauled in a 36-yard reception on the play.
Defensive starters began rotating out immediately, with four players exiting after two plays.
Nine Chiefs did not play against Cincinnati, including running back Damien Williams and defensive linemen Frank Clark, Alex Okafor, Emmanuel Ogbah and Xavier Williams
Chase Litton 32 snaps (44 percent)
Kyle Shurmur 27 snaps (38 percent)
Patrick Mahomes 8 snaps (11 percent)
Chad Henne 5 snaps (7 percent)
Mahomes and the first-team offense got its job done and quickly left the game. Backup Henne left even faster, allowing Shurmur time to work with the No. 2 offense. Litton played more snaps in reserve duty in the second half, but Shurmur looked sharper, particularly playing with second teamers. It will be telling to see if the Chiefs alter their rotation next week at Pittsburgh allowing Litton to enter first or if Shurmur is solidly ahead as the No. 3 quarterback.
Darwin Thompson 25 snaps (35 percent)
Marcus Marshall 16 snaps (22 percent)
Josh Caldwell 13 snaps (18 percent)
Darrel Williams 9 snaps (12 percent)
Carlos Hyde 8 snaps (11 percent)
Tremon Smith 5 snaps (7 percent)
Anthony Sherman 1 snap (1 percent)
Thompson made the most of his snaps, receiving six touches for 51 yards. It was Lee's Summit native Caldwell, however, who lead the team with 59 yards rushing on four carries. Damien Williams didn't play, allowing Hyde to run with the first team and Darrel Williams to play with the second unit. The Chiefs will likely keep four backs plus fullback Sherman, so this position remains fluid and competitive. Smith remains a project as a running back, but he did get a few looks in limited duty.
Byron Pringle 27 snaps (38 percent)
Rashard Davis 27 snaps (38 percent)
Marcus Kemp 27 snaps (38 percent)
Mecole Hardman 26 snaps (36 percent)
Jody Fortson 19 snaps (26 percent)
Cody Thompson 15 snaps (21 percent)
Jamal Custis 13 snaps (18 percent)
Felton Davis 13 snaps (18 percent)
Demarcus Robinson 8 snaps (11 percent)
Davon Grayson 7 snaps (10 percent)
Sammy Watkins 2 snaps (3 percent)
Tyreek Hill 1 snap (1 percent)
The Chiefs know Hill, Watkins, Robinson and Hardman will enter the season as their top four receivers, and it's just a matter of who can claim the final one or two spots on the 53-man roster. Kemp and Pringle appear in the lead right now, with Rashard Davis also making a push. The surprise of the night was Fortson, who entered the game ahead of Thompson, Felton Davis and Custis while picking up an 8-yard catch. Thompson added two nice catches for 19 yards. This is another deep group with plenty of competition and strong practice squad candidates. Will be interesting to see how the rotation changes when Gehrig Dieter returns to action.
Deon Yelder 41 snaps (57 percent)
Nick Keizer 28 snaps (39 percent)
Blake Bell 24 snaps (33 percent)
John Lovett 3 snaps (4 percent)
Travis Kelce 1 snap (1 percent)
The Chiefs wanted to see what they have in Yelder, allowing the third-year player to see time with all three units and get plenty of work on special teams as well. Yelder struggled with the handle on the ball at times, hauling in just catches on six targets, but he did score on a 14-yard pass from Litton. Bell and Yelder appear in the lead for the backup positions, but don't rule out Keizer. Keizer led the team with three catches on the night, and shows strong blocking skills as well. H-back Lovett suffered a separated right shoulder, and it remains to be seen if the injury will keep him out long-term. He looked good before the injury, catching two balls for 23 yards.
C/LG Jimmy Murray 40 snaps (56 percent)
LG/C Nick Allegretti 40 snaps (56 percent)
RT Pace Murphy 40 snaps (56 percent)
RG/C Ryan Hunter 36 snaps (50 percent)
LT Cam Erving 35 snaps snaps (49 percent)
LT Dino Boyd 30 snaps (42 percent)
RG Kahlil McKenzie 28 snaps (39 percent)
RT Chidi Okeke 24 snaps (33 percent)
LG Zack Golditch 24 snaps (33 percent)
RG Abdul Beecham 24 snaps (33 percent)
C Austin Reiter 8 snaps (11 percent)
RG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif 8 snaps (11 percent)
RT Mitchell Schwartz 8 snaps (11 percent)
LT Eric Fisher 8 snaps (11 percent)
LG Andrew Wylie 8 snaps (11 percent)
The No. 2 line received the biggest workout, with Murray, Allegretti and Murphy leading the way. Murray and Allegretti rotated at guard and center with the Chiefs searching for a backup center behind Reiter. McKenzie gave way to Hunter at right guard, and Hunter later played center as well. The top six linemen appear set with the five starters and swing tackle Cam Erving. Seventh-round selection Allegretti appears likely to nab a spot as well. That leaves Murray, McKenzie, Hunter and Murphy the likely candidates for perhaps two more roster spots.
Tanoh Kpassagnon 39 snaps (57 percent)
Breeland Speaks 39 snaps (57 percent)
Khalen Saunders 32 snaps (47 percent)
Justin Hamilton 30 snaps (44 percent)
Derrick Nnadi 24 snaps (35 percent)
Joey Ivie 20 snaps (29 percent)
Rob McCray 19 snaps (28 percent)
Cavon Walker 18 snaps (26 percent)
Hunter Dimick 16 snaps (24 percent)
Chris Jones 2 snaps (3 percent)
The Chiefs didn't get to see their revamped line fully in action with Clark and Okafor sitting out and Jones leaving after two snaps. But Kpassagnon and Speaks saw extended action, and each picked up a sack. Kpassagnon moved across the line, kicking inside and outside, and he appears much more comfortable on the line after two lost seasons at outside linebacker in the 3-4. Hamilton benefitted most from the absence of Xavier Williams, with those two likely battling for a backup tackle position. This unit appears deep, and even without three key pieces on Saturday night, this group got pressure on the quarterback and contained the run as well after a lengthy opening drive by the Bengals.
Darron Lee 44 snaps (65 percent)
Ben Niemann 39 snaps (57 percent)
Jeremiah Attaochu 36 snaps (53 percent)
Raymond Davison 16 snaps (24 percent)
Dorian O'Daniel 16 snaps (24 percent)
Reggie Ragland 14 snaps (21 percent)
D'Juan Hines 3 snaps (4 percent)
Anthony Hitchens 2 snaps (3 percent)
Lee and Niemann both look solid on the No. 2 defense, showing an ability to hit their gaps hard and fast. Attaochu, however, was the most intriguing player on the field. He played multiple positions as a pass rusher and a drop back linebacker, and he has the skillset to be a flexible 4-3 edge player. The mystery of this group is O'Daniel, the third-round pick from 2018. He played just 16 snaps, most of those coming later in the game with the third-team defense. On a night where Hitchens played just two snaps and Attaochu picking up some defensive end reps, it's concerning O'Daniel has trouble landing playing time.
Rashad Fenton 42 snaps (62 percent)
Herb Miller 38 snaps (56 percent)
D'Montre Wade 27 snaps (40 percent)
Mark Fields 22 snaps (32 percent)
Charvarius Ward 16 snaps (24 percent)
Dakari Monroe 15 snaps (22 percent)
Bashaud Breeland 15 snaps (22 percent)
Michael Hunter 14 snaps (21 percent)
Kendall Fuller 11 snaps (16 percent)
The Chiefs No. 2 unit of outside corners Miller and Wade with Fenton in the slot performed well, and Fields saw some time with the second group as well. This position largely remains young and untested, and it should be interesting to see where Morris Claiborne fits into the rotation as camp progresses. Fields receives much of the hype for his high ceiling and made a nice pass breakup Saturday night. But it's Miller who has won the playing time camp with consistent play, and he made the interception on the Hail Mary before halftime. Hunter might be a sleeper considering he has history with defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. His interception sealed the final Bengal's drive, and he played well on special teams also.
Armani Watts 50 snaps (74 percent)
Juan Thornhill 34 snaps (50 percent)
Daniel Sorensen 19 snaps (28 percent)
Andrew Soroh 16 snaps (24 percent)
Harold Jones-Quartey 16 snaps (24 percent)
Tyrann Mathieu 2 snaps (3 percent)
Watts saw extended time, picking up two tackles and breaking up a pass. Sorensen and Watts saw most of the snaps early before Thornhill started rotating through. The second-round selection picked up two tackles along with a special teams tackle, and continues to impress when given opportunities. It still seems difficult to believe the Chiefs won't start the season with Mathieu and Thornhill in the deep secondary. If Watts continues to play well and Jordan Lucas returns to full strength, the position group could turn into one of the team's deeper units.
Offense: Yelder 15 snaps (48 percent), Dar. Williams 11 (35 percent), Fortson 9 (29 percent), Marshall 9 (29 percent), Smith 9 (29 percent), Keizer 8 (26 percent), Caldwell 8 (26 percent), Pringle 7 (23 percent), D. Thompson 7 (23 percent), Custis 7 (23 percent), R. Davis 6 (19 percent), Murray 5 (16 percent), Allegretti 5 (16 percent), Murphy 5 (16 percent), Boyd 5 (16 percent), McKenzie 5 (16 percent), Kemp 5 (16 percent), Okeke 5 (16 percent), C. Thompson 5 (16 percent), F. Davis 5 (16 percent), Lovett 5 (16 percent), Hardman 4 (13 percent), Bell 4 (13 percent), Robinson 4 (13 percent), Grayson 3 (10 percent), Sherman 3 (10 percent), R. Hunter 1 (3 percent), Reiter 1 (3 percent), Duvernay-Tardif 1 (3 percent), Schwartz 1 (3 percent), Fisher 1 (3 percent) and Wylie 1 (3 percent).
Defense: Miller 9 snaps (29 percent), McCray 8 (26 percent), Davison 8 (26 percent), Hines 8 (26 percent), Watts 7 (23 percent), Fenton 7 (23 percent), Thornhill 7 (23 percent), Hunter 7 (23 percent), Lee 6 (19 percent), Niemann 6 (19 percent), Kpassagnon 6 (19 percent), Attaochu 6 (19 percent), Wade 6 (19 percent), O'Daniel 6 (19 percent), Soroh 6 (19 percent), Monroe 5 (16 percent), Fields 4 (13 percent), Sorensen 4 (13 percent), Jones-Quartey 4 (13 percent), Hamilton 3 (10 percent), Ward 3 (10 percent), Ivie 2 (6 percent), Walker 2 (6 percent), Dimick 2 (6 percent), Nnadi 1 (3 percent) and Ragland 1 (3 percent).
Specialists: James Winchester 12 snaps (39 percent), Jack Fox 9 snaps (29 percent), Dustin Colquitt 8 snaps (26 percent) and Harrison Butker 8 snaps (26 percent).
The veterans got their work in, with Butker connecting on a 35-yard field goal. The rookie Fox netted 46.5 yards on two punts and also shared kickoff duties with Butker. Fox had a few inconsistencies, however, including a 40-yard line-drive punt erased by offsetting penalties and a short kickoff returned 40 yards by the Bengals.
RB Damien Williams (hamstring), WR Gehrig Dieter (back), DE Frank Clark (wrist), DE Alex Okafor (hip), DE Emmanuel Ogbah (oblique), DT Xavier Williams (back), LB Darius Harris (knee), CB Morris Claiborne (newly acquired) and S Jordan Lucas (hamstring).