Saturday marked the fourth team practice since the Chiefs’ veterans reported early last week for training camp.
And they’ve impressed as a team, for the most part.
“Our guys have been working,” Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy said. “We’ve had some great days, we’ve had some good days, we’ve had some average days.
“But the beauty of it is, our guys are working hard and working to improve, getting better so we can enjoy this process as we prepare for the 2022 season.”
The hard work of the past week offers a preview of what’s to come, because Saturday marked the last non-padded practice of early training camp.
Following Sunday’s day off, the Chiefs players officially don full pads Monday for the first live-contact practice of the summer — a much-anticipated event during every edition of training camp.
Well, depending on position group, that is.
“It doesn’t really change much for the wideouts,” wide receiver Marquez Valdez-Scantling said. “It’s more for the bigger guys and the running backs because they get to do a little bit more.
“But for (wide receivers), we still run the same, it’s still the same amount of running, the same amount of pass plays.”
Valdes-Scantling has a point, of course, because donning the pads will allow other positions groups, especially on defense, their moment in the spotlight. Throughout the offseason workout program and the early days of training camp, drills tend to slant in the favor of the offense without the no-contact rule in place.
While there will be no hitting the quarterback, the playing field will get leveled starting Monday because cornerbacks can now effectively play press-man coverage, and linebackers will have opportunities to stuff running backs in the hole.
Defensive linemen and offensive linemen will also go through full-contact one-on-one drills, a highlight of every training camp.
Tackling to the ground, however, will be limited in any padded practices and the Chiefs incorporated less than three such sessions during last year’s training camp. But that won’t stop contact and the sounds of actual football filling the air.
Padded practices are a highlight of training camp not just for fans, but for the players, too.
“Obviously, the intensity goes up a little bit more and I think that’s going to be exciting to see the whole team in full force,” Valdes-Scantling said.
Tight end Jody Fortson suffered a quad injury late in practice and was taken up the hill in a cart. Fortson rode in the front passenger seat. The Chiefs will evaluate Fortson and provide information Monday, a team spokesman said after practice.
Cornerback Rashad Fenton (shoulder), tackle Lucas Niang (knee), offensive lineman Prince Tega Wanogho (leg) remain on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Niang and Wanogho worked off to the side with a trainer at the rehabilitation tent.
Recently signed defensive end Carlos Dunlap isn’t expected to arrive for training camp until Wednesday.
Left tackle Orlando Brown, who hasn’t signed his franchise tag, remains absent from training camp
- The Chiefs spent time working on running plays during 11-on-11 drills, perhaps in preparation for Monday’s first padded practice. Also, the offensive linemen and defensive linemen got together in the end zone during position drills to work on pass rushing and blocking, a first during this year’s camp.
- The Chiefs shuffled the first-team offensive line with a swap of tackles on the fourth day of team practice. during the previous three days’ worth of practice sessions, Roderick Johnson manned the left tackle position and Andrew Wylie handled the right tackle spot. On Saturday, Wylie took all the reps at left tackle, while Johnson moved to right tackle. Rookie Darian Kinnard worked at left tackle with the second-team offense.
- Veteran linebacker Elijah Lee continues to command the first-team reps alongside Nick Bolton and Willie Gay Jr. in the Chiefs’ 4-3 base scheme. Lee exits the field when the Chiefs go with a nickel package.
- Rookie wide receiver Skyy Moore continues to have a solid showing in training camp, and he thrilled the crowd on a deep catch during 11-on-11 drills midway through Saturday’s practice. Moore ran a double-move deep down the field, turning safety Justin Reid, and then hauled in a 40-yard catch from quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
- Rookie cornerback Trent McDuffie produced a nice pass breakup on wide receiver Marques Valdez-Scantling during team drills. McDuffie perfectly timed the arrival of the pass and reach around Valdez-Scantling without contact to swat down the football.