On Monday morning, the Kansas City Chiefs were back on their practice field at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Missouri for the fifth full practice of the team’s 2022 training camp — and the first one in pads.
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Arrowhead Pride editor-in-chief Pete Sweeney was there among the other Chiefs beat reporters and television crews, watching everything that took place. Pete’s observations have already been published to Twitter.
Right off the bat, Pete noticed a change in the weather.
The hot and humid St. Joe weather we're used to finally showed up in time for... the team's first padded practice. The high 70s gave way to low-to-mid 80s by the end of the day. It was uncomfortable.— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) August 1, 2022
The Chiefs’ head coach spoke about it after practice.
Chiefs HC Andy Reid: "It was warm and it's tough. You're adding another layer on, plus the crown that they have to wear, which isn't real cool, so you add that with the heat and the elements, you got to push yourself through."— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) August 1, 2022
Everyone also had to endure a scare regarding quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Late in practice, during an 11-on-11 period, S Justin Reid looked to blitz from the left, and the line of scrimmage pushed into QB Patrick Mahomes' left ankle. Mahomes' limped off but was "OK" per Reid. He returned for the final QB individual period.— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) August 1, 2022
Of course, Mahomes is tough. Pete fully expects him to be back on Tuesday.
My expectation is that Mahomes will have the left ankle taped up a bit for Tuesday's practice but won't miss any training camp time. Check back tomorrow morning as players arrive for the 9:15 a.m. start time.— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) August 1, 2022
As promised, the head coach also gave some clarification on an injury that marred Saturday’s practice session.
Reid clarified TE Jody Fortson missed Monday's practice with a quad strain, but Reid was very optimistic about his return.— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) August 1, 2022
"Doesn't look too bad at all. He's swinging right back into it, and I think it'll be a few days, and [we'll] get him back out there."
Fortson’s absence from the practice field was good news for another player from the tight end room.
TE Noah Gray took advantage of the first-team looks in Fortson's absence, making several catches during scrimmage periods. Everything went Gray's way: even a drop pop-up during 11s landed in the hands of WR JuJu Smith-Schuster for a touchdown. Gray looks a tick faster this year.— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) August 1, 2022
Gray, however, wasn’t the only one who caught Pete’s eye.
Speaking of depth tight ends that looked good on Monday, I thought TEs Jordan Franks and Matt Bushman made the most of their limited opportunity. This year's Chiefs are tight-end rich, and I imagine at least one lands on the practice squad even if they keep four.— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) August 1, 2022
Even in the heat, the Chiefs deliberately ran a long offensive drive.
Chiefs ran a long drive period, which we know helps with conditioning. Mahomes' top-team offense ran nine plays, ending with the aforementioned Gray-pop-to-JuJu score. The two-point conversion to WR Skyy Moore was incomplete.— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) August 1, 2022
But the backup quarterback’s unit scored quickly.
Chad Henne's second-team unit scored in just three plays, which ended with a WR Justin Watson check-down of sorts, where he ran past rookie S Bryan Cook for a 60-yard score. LB Jack Cochrane intercepted Henne in his two-point attempt.— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) August 1, 2022
Pete noted a couple of surprises on the first-team defense.
2 quick personnel notes: Cook has been seeing looks with the first-team defense when they are in the dime. Blue Springs High School's own LB Elijah Lee remains the choice as the SAM linebacker in base. Lee is a 26-year-old sixth-year veteran.— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) August 1, 2022
The veteran linebacker is now on his fifth NFL team — and wants to take full advantage of this chance.
Lee: "As a vet, you take advantage of every opportunity. There's no excuses whenever you're a vet. And you know, that's kind of what you harp on to the younger guys... For me, I ask a lot of questions, and it's not that I don't know, it's just reassurance that I know."— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) August 1, 2022
A lot of people expected former Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Justin Watson to be one of the training camp’s stars. But up to Monday, he hadn’t been.
Back to Watson for a second... Watson had a lot of pre-camp hype but has been relatively quiet. I thought Monday's was his best look. In addition to his 60-yard touchdown, I counted three wins during the 1-on-1 period.— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) August 1, 2022
A couple of defenders made some strong plays.
Defensively during 11-on-11, DE Frank Clark batted down a Mahomes pass at the line; CB Deandre Baker broke up a Henne pass intended for Watson.— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) August 1, 2022
Another wideout had some surprising time with the first team.
It looked to me like WR Daurice Fountain — in addition to Gray — had more time with the first team on Monday. Fountain can play special teams.— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) August 1, 2022
Moore, Isiah Pacheco, Corey Coleman and Jerrion Ealy seem to be returner candidates. We'll talk to ST coach Dave Toub Tuesday.
With full pads, you can always expect some 1-on-1 drills.
In pass-catchers vs. defensive backs one-on-ones (offensively), Moore's releases stood out. WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling picked on CB Trent McDuffie a bit, and I thought WR Mecole Hardman had some good reps against CB Joshua Williams.— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) August 1, 2022
Deandre Baker showed out — and cornerback Watson continued to impress.
In pass-catchers vs. defensive backs one-on-ones (defensively), Baker looked better in coverage than I can remember, and in a tough drill for defenders, I counted two wins for CB Jaylen Watson. S Justin Reid vs. TE Travis Kelce is always a fun battle to watch.— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) August 1, 2022
Pete tallied up the pass breakups and interceptions...
During 7-on-7, Reid had a pass breakup on Mahomes on a pass intended for Watson. S Juan Thornhill broke up a pass intended for Smith-Schuster. DB Zayne Anderson had himself a day, intercepting Henne twice.— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) August 1, 2022
...along with some 1-on-1s from the trenches.
OL vs. DL one-on-ones (offensive standouts): C Creed Humphrey, RG Trey Smith, RT Darian Kinnard, LG Nick Allegretti; Humphrey is just incredible.— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) August 1, 2022
The star tight end raved about the second-year center.
Kelce on Humphrey: "I'll tell you what, [Jason Kelce and Creed] are both stone cold. That dude Creed is a war dog, man. Doesn't matter what the situation is, you're going to get him standing in the front holding his ground. That's the type of leader you want up front, man."— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) August 1, 2022
Both the rookie defensive end and his newest mentor had some good reps.
OL vs. DL one-on-ones (defensive standouts): Clark, DT Khalen Saunders, DE George Karlaftis; Clark hugged Karlaftis after a rep. I think opposing (slower) offensive linemen are going to have problems with Clark's speed rushes this year.— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) August 1, 2022
The head coach said he has been impressed with No. 55’s speed.
Reid on Clark: "He's moving fast. When we did our conditioning test, he was right up there in front on that. You see him out here and he's got good endurance going right now. He came back in good shape."— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) August 1, 2022
Clark’s nominal backup has been getting some work, too.
The Chiefs have been rolling with Mike Danna as a top defensive end this camp, and he told me his personal goal is to have a career year in 2022. He's eyeing 5.0 or 6.0-plus sacks and wants to be a 'dominant force' on the D-line.— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) August 1, 2022
And just as you might expect, the buttkicker did what he does best.
K Harrison Butker was 8 of 8 on field goals, including his final kick, which we estimated to be from 52 yards. Impressive job on what was a humid, humid day.— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) August 1, 2022