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Chiefs training camp notebook: How Andy Reid will handle the preseason

The Chiefs had to move indoors on Sunday morning, so observations were limited. Still, we have a few.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs Training Camp Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time since 1978, the NFL won’t play four preseason games, instead deciding to cut a preseason game in favor of a 17th regular-season game. We have wondered on these pages how Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, famous for sticking to his routine, might handle the change.

He provided some clues after the Chiefs’ Sunday practice, six days ahead of the team's first 2021 preseason game — a matchup against the San Francisco 49ers scheduled for Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Reid first said the team would officially transition to full game preparation in a couple of days.

“We’ve got another padded practice [Monday],” said Reid. “Then we have an unpadded practice (Tuesday) and then a day off (Wednesday), then another padded practice (Thursday), and then we’re rolling from there, so we still have a little bit of time. We taper all these plays that we have in down, so the guys can get out there and function, and we’ll try to get everybody in the game and working.”

In a four-game preseason schedule, Reid played starters for a limited number of snaps in the first two games — usually a series or two in the first and a half in the second. In the third game, Reid’s starters would play through halftime and into the third quarter before a day off in the fourth preseason game.

On Sunday, Reid revealed he would stick to his typical schedule as best he could.

“I’ll keep it relatively the same that we would through three games,” said Reid. “Again, we want to try to get evaluations on the guys here. Now there are cuts that take place every Tuesday after the game, so you want to make sure that you’re not letting guys go that you think can help you.”

The Chiefs will cut to 85 players on August 17, three days after the first preseason game, 80 players on August 24, four days after the second preseason game — and a final 53 players on August 31, four days after the final preseason game.

It thus makes even more sense to give the bubble players additional time in the first two games and save the third and final game for the usual rehearsal.

Observations

  • The weather in St. Joseph Friday morning was sunny with a temperature in the low 70s to start practice, but a thunderstorm sent the Chiefs indoors around 10 a.m.
  • When training camp practice moves indoors, reportable observations are limited, but we’ll still provide a couple of items to note.
  • The Chiefs added Darryl Williams to their COVID-19 list, opening up a roster spot. With that being the case, a familiar face, offensive lineman Bryan Witzmann, surfaced at practice.
  • Once the team moved indoors, standout defensive players were cornerback Charvarius Ward, who forced a fumble, and safety Tyrann Mathieu, who intercepted quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Standout offensive players were wide receiver Byron Pringle and tight end Travis Kelce.
  • Kelce had what could be considered the play of the day. Working with Mahomes, Kelce ran a double move and turned around just in time for the reception, catching the ball with one hand down the left sideline. The Kelce-Mahomes mindmeld has made it to 2021.
  • At one point during the workout, safety Will Parks met running back Darwin Thompson with a loud thud, causing a roar from the sideline.
  • Wide receiver Maurice Ffrench caught my eye on Sunday, with a nice reception from Mahomes outside before a deep catch for a touchdown from backup Chad Henne inside. I thought practice squad hopeful Daurice Fountain also had a nice morning.
  • Safety Armani Watts, who started camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list due to a foot fracture, is coming along and has been re-integrated into team work.

Press conferences (Spotify)

If you can’t see the embed below, click here for Apple iTunes.

Injury report

  • Returned to practice: n/a
  • Did not practice (COVID-19 list): offensive lineman Darryl Williams
  • Did not practice/not in pads (due to injury): Tight end Evan Baylis (ankle), wide receiver Antonio Callaway (bone bruise), right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (hand), linebacker Willie Gay (concussion protocol), defensive end Malik Herring (ACL), right guard Kyle Long (tibia), defensive end Alex Okafor (hamstring), right tackle Mike Remmers (back spasms), offensive lineman Prince Tega Wanogho (knee)
  • Did not participate in team drills (injury): wide receiver Chad Williams (groin)
  • Injured at practice Sunday: defensive tackle Tyler Clark (neck), defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi (undisclosed), wide receiver Demarcus Robinson (sick)

Tweet of the day

Our John Dixon compiled all of Sunday’s tweets here (note again that live-tweeting was limited). Here is the tweet of the day:

Quote of the day

Andrew Wylie on the chemistry of the Chiefs’ offensive line room: “We’re a real cohesive group. We got a lot of really good guys on this O-line, and even a few card collectors, too. I know Austin Blythe is into Pokemon as well, so we stay ripping packs, even in the dorms, man.”

What’s next?

The Chiefs will return to the practice field Monday at 9:15 a.m. Arrowhead Time. After the workout, offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and several Chiefs players will speak to the media.