Why has Chiefs’ Kadarius Toney had limited snaps? What Andy Reid said Monday

Nathan Ray Seebeck/Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid said there’s a reason receiver Kadarius Toney has had limited snaps lately: The team is trying to keep him healthy for the stretch run.

Reid was asked about Toney during a weekly news conference Monday, saying the team needed to “keep coming with him” after the receiver had knee surgery on July 25 to repair cartilage in his knee.

“We’re taking it easy with him up to this point,” Reid said, “just making sure he can make it through the year and in good health.”

Toney notably returned for Week 1 following the surgery, playing 16 snaps in the season opener against the Detroit Lions. He sprained his toe in the next week’s game and spent some limited time on the injury report, but shortly after maxed out on snaps this season with 25 in Week 5 (against Minnesota) and 30 in Week 6 (at home against Denver).

His usage has ticked down since then. Toney has had 13, 12 and 7 offensive snaps over the past three weeks; in each of those contests, he caught one pass.

Toney was dynamic during his limited time last week against Miami, bringing in an 18-yard reception on the Chiefs’ final offensive scoring drive in the second quarter. Pro Football Focus credited Toney with three missed tackles forced (MTFs) on that play alone; Toney’s three MTFs in Week 9 tied for fifth among all pass-catchers — despite the fact he only had that single opportunity against the Dolphins.

For the season, Toney’s 10 MTFs (on 20 receptions) are tops among Chiefs players. Noah Gray, Travis Kelce, Isiah Pacheco and Rashee Rice are tied for second with six each.

Reid was asked Monday what went into the balance of playing Toney now versus looking toward his long-term health.

“Listen, he played seven plays last week,” Reid said Monday. “So we can play him more than that and still be OK.”

Reid said the Chiefs would continue monitoring Toney’s leg while keeping an eye towards the future.

“Make sure that we’re repping that out the right way and let him keep progressing as we go here throughout the year,” Reid said. “That’s the important part.”