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Chiefs training camp notebook: Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes reflect on 2022 in St. Joseph

Kansas City feels confident about its new crop of receivers — and the work they were able to accomplish over the last few weeks.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at San Francisco 49ers Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

And just like that — Andy Reid’s 10th training camp as head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs is in the books. Speaking to the media on Thursday morning, Reid confirmed that the team accomplished everything they were looking to do in St. Joseph.

“I challenged the guys, which I think was important,” said Reid. “The bonding becomes important — you bond when you’ve got to do something tough. They answered the bell every day. I appreciate the effort that went into it. I know some of them were hurting, but they got up and they pushed through. That foundation will pay off for them down the road here.”

The Chiefs had turnover at significant leadership positions this offseason, trading star wide receiver Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins and allowing another star — safety Tyrann Mathieu — to join the New Orleans Saints in free agency.

Specifically on the offensive side, this meant new faces — such as wideouts JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling — playing important roles.

“We have a lot of versatile receivers,” said quarterback Patrick Mahomes. “We got some guys that are really fast that can still go up and make catches. I think you saw that with Watson in the end zone [Wednesday] — and two days ago, Marquez in between two defenders, going up and high-pointing the ball. When you have guys that are big who can still run fast and stretch the field but can make those tough, contested catches, it shows how versatile they are — and I think it’s going to come from everywhere this year. It’s not going to be one guy... Everybody’s going to have to put their blueprint on this offense — and I’m excited for it.”

The new members of the Chiefs’ offense also had to learn what it meant to go through a Reid training camp. The head coach is notorious for running one of the more rugged August programs.

“I think we took a giant step as far as how we do things,” said Mahomes. “We have the talent. We got the guys that can go out there and make the plays. Coach Reid runs a tough training camp. It’s what we’ve been known for — I think it makes us better for it. And I think guys, as we went on, understood that. And they came out with the mindset they were going to compete every single day. You saw offense have good days [and] you saw defense have good days — and that’s usually a good sign for a good football team.”

On Tuesday, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo had noted that he liked how his defense rebounded after a shaky Monday performance — which meant that on Monday, the offense did well.

That was perhaps a theme of this camp that was different from other Chiefs camps in the Mahomes era: the offense had its days won — but so, too, did the defense.

“I thought it was great competition — and really, you can break it down by play,” said Reid. “They just challenge each other — and that’s all you can ask for as a coach. I thought it was great for the young guys to see that and feel that — that you have to come out here every day in the right mindset, and you have to challenge every play. Then, if you get beat, you got to learn from it, and then erase it and get on with the next play. If you let it linger, then you got a problem. Then you’re going to back-to-back these things, and you can’t do that at this level.”

Reid and the Chiefs are looking forward to their next opportunity to play in a preseason game, coming up this Saturday against the Washington Commanders at Arrowhead Stadium.

Mahomes’ offense will be without its No. 1 receiver, JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) — and possibly wide receiver Mecole Hardman (groin), whom Reid said is progressing. Mahomes noted that this means added opportunities for the team’s depth pass-catchers.

“It’s going to be an exciting opportunity for them,” said Mahomes. “You saw guys like Skyy (Moore) and Justin Watson make plays when they came in this first preseason game with Shane and Chad. For them to make plays there, they’re going to get more reps with me in this game. I’m interested to see how they maximize this opportunity, but they’ve been doing it at practice.

“They’ve been making the plays at practice and doing everything the right way. So for them to get in there and get some opportunity to run with the ‘ones,’ I think it will help us out in the long run whenever we do get those guys back — to have a good group of guys to go in at any time.”

Reflecting on the three-plus weeks in St. Joseph, Reid felt as though it went “fairly fast.” And reading into Reid’s words, perhaps that had to do as much as who wasn’t in St. Joseph as it did with who was in attendance:

“Why? Not a lot of distractions — guys coming in working hard, new bodies in here wanting to learn, new guys in here wanting to learn, and they’re excited to be here,” explained Reid. “Patrick and his attitude. It’s a positive attitude from your leadership group every day. And he tries to get better every day. [Travis] Kelce tries to get better every day. Chris Jones tries to get better. They’re all in there just battling like crazy — Frank Clark.

“I appreciate that — and that becomes contagious. It presents you with a good camp when it’s all said and done.”

Post-practice chat

Press conferences

If you can’t see the above (Apple iTunes) embed, click here. The press conferences are also available on Spotify.

Injury report

  • Did not practice (due to injury): OL Lucas Niang (knee), TE Blake Bell (hip flexor), WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee), WR Mecole Hardman (groin), DT Chris Jones (back)
  • Returned to practice: RB Jerick McKinnon (hamstring), LS James Winchester (personal)

Tweet of the day

Our John Dixon compiled all of Thursday’s tweets here. Here is the tweet of the day:

Quote of the day

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes, taking the podium after the final practice of the month-long camp: “It’s camp days with the hair... we’re getting a haircut tomorrow morning. Yeah. It’s camp days. I gave my headband away — that usually kind of hides it. The haircut’s coming soon.”

What’s next?

The Chiefs will have a day off on Friday before taking on the Washington Commanders in their second game of the preseason on Saturday. The game begins at 3 p.m. Arrowhead Time. Following the game, the Chiefs will have a day off on Sunday before resuming their preseason on Monday in Kansas City.

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