The Kansas City Chiefs returned to the practice field at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph on Sunday morning for the first full practice session of the team’s 2023 training camp.
This was the first of 19 public practices at the practice field next to MWSU’s Spratt Stadium. 16 of the remaining practices will be open to the public — click here for details and a full schedule — while two more will be open only to the team’s Season Ticket Members.
Arrowhead Pride editor-in-chief Pete Sweeney was there. He tweeted a number of observations — starting with a warm (but gorgeous) day:
St. Joseph heated up on Sunday, with the temperature near 80 at the conclusion of the workout. Fast practice for the #Chiefs that only saw one 7-on-7 period and one 11-on-11 period. Just getting their feet wet on Day 1.— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) July 23, 2023
Kansas City was missing a few of its players.
But one of those we weren’t expecting to be participating in camp continues to impress everyone.
Wearing his non-contact yellow jersey, RB Isiah Pacheco continued to move well. Still no team periods for the second-year back but he continued to show 0.0 sign of injury. Andy Reid complimented him on his desire to practice and stay in shape even if he can't do everything.— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) July 23, 2023
Reid on Pacheco: "You got to kind of watch it because he's got that personality where he's 100 miles an hour on every play, that's why we put the yellow jersey on him, so he doesn't do anything crazy to himself... he wants to stay in football shape."— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) July 23, 2023
There were no surprises on the offensive line.
The Chiefs' offensive line was as to be expected:— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) July 23, 2023
OL1 (left to right): D. Smith, Thuney, Humphrey, T. Smith, Taylor
OL2 (left to right): Wanogho, Allegretti, Caliendo, Kinnard, Niang
Keep an eye on Morris when he's back. I think he and Niang mix and match at LT/RT on 2nd team.
The team’s MVP quarterback got right down to business.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes began the day with three straight completions to WR Skyy Moore, TE Jody Fortson and WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Fortson, the target of his first incompletion, was slow to get up off the ground but stayed at practice. Might have lost his wind.— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) July 23, 2023
Mahomes' targets on the day: TE Blake Bell, RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Fortson, TE Travis Kelce, Moore, WR Rashee Rice and Valdes-Scantling.— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) July 23, 2023
A free-agent veteran and an undrafted rookie generated a lot of praise from observers.
The offensive standouts were WR Richie James and RB Deneric Prince, as I mentioned in a previous live-tweet. Prince had at least five catches and James, the new No. 17, looked like the old No. 17 at times (seriously) with his quickness.— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) July 23, 2023
The head coach said the former New York Giants wide receiver had a bit of a head start on the Kansas City offense.
Reid on James: "He's familiar with the offense because he had Mike Kafka [in New York], so he didn't have to go through and learn everything here. Just maybe a few new things, and I like what I've seen from him. He's a good football player, has a great feel for things."— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) July 23, 2023
James showed onlookers why many have thought he could be a productive player in Kansas City.
It's Day 1, but James looked like a player who could thrive with yards after the catch. He had 176 YAC last year with the Giants, and you could see why... he had a few moments where the crowd reacted after making a defender miss.— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) July 23, 2023
Tight end Jody Fortson — whom the team loves to use in the red zone — was successful... in the red zone.
Fortson had two touchdowns from Mahomes, and *surprise*, both were in red-zone work, first in 7-on-7s and then against CB Jaylen Watson in 11-on-11. Fortson had Watson by a step and completed the catch for the would-be 6.— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) July 23, 2023
And a player who spent last season on the Chiefs’ practice squad had a big play.
RB/WR Jerrion Ealy had what would have been a lonnnng touchdown distributed by QB Shane Buechele on a wheel route in 11-on-11. Buechele floated the ball over DE Truman Jones, who had no chance at catching the speedy Ealy.— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) July 23, 2023
On defense, Willie Gay Jr. got the fans worked up.
LB Willie Gay Jr. had the defensive play of the day in RZ 7-on-7, as Mahomes appeared to connect with Moore for a touchdown. Gay stayed with the play and broke it up.— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) July 23, 2023
He turned to the crowd and hit the Dikembe Mutombo finger wag, which the fans seemed to enjoy. pic.twitter.com/UD3nCtwueH
So far, first-round defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah doesn’t seem to be running with the first team... but it’s just the opening day of camp.
Some quick defensive lineup notes (likely known coming in but confirmed): looks like Karlaftis/Danna will start at DE, Bolton/Gay/Chenal at LB in the base defense and Sneed/McDuffie at CB, with McDuffie sliding in at nickel with Watson manning the outside. Spags talks Monday.— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) July 23, 2023
But unfortunately... the absence of the team’s star defensive tackle is the day’s biggest headline.
In today's notebook, DL Chris Jones is not at camp, and the team does not seem all that happy about it (also our post-practice chat, injury report, tweet and quote of the day and what's next): https://t.co/0n3n0fpKlW— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) July 23, 2023
The next practice will take place on Monday at 9:15 a.m. Arrowhead Time. That session will be the first practice open only to Chiefs STMs. As always, we will have live updates after practice begins. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo will be among those speaking to the press when practice concludes.