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3 observations from the Chiefs’ Sunday training camp practice

Some big thoughts as Kansas City finished its first week at Missouri Western.

Kansas City Chiefs Offseason Workout Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs concluded a full week of training camp as they conducted their seventh practice on Sunday — and their third consecutive day in pads. After players were forced indoors halfway into Saturday’s session due to severe weather at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Sunday’s action was ramped up to the max.

I was there — and here are three things I noticed.

1. Deneric Prince is here to stay

Every season, we see some hype about certain players — whether it is from ridiculous college highlight reels or players who emerge as fan favorites during camp. But hype is not the word I would use to describe what we’re seeing from the rookie UDFA running back. Right now it looks more like substance.

Even during the offseason program, Prince was considered the most likely to become the team's primary kickoff returner — but in training camp, his contributions to the offense have drawn the most attention.

With Isiah Pacheco wearing the no-contact yellow jersey (and Clyde Edwards-Helaire out sick), Prince had more first-team reps than any other back — and made some nice catches out of the backfield.

He was also the first back who was involved in some perimeter runs.

These plays were particularly fascinating — because in 2022, Kansas City tended to run the ball between the tackles. In these plays, Prince displayed both vision and speed to the outside.

Then while taking red-zone reps with the second team, he made a phenomenal diving catch into the end zone.

Sunday’s play of the day will leave fans clamoring for more. While it is uncommon to call a rookie UDFA a lock to make the team’s roster, it feels more appropriate to begin debating his percentage of offensive snaps this season.

2. The wide receivers

The first wideouts to crack Sunday’s first-team rotation were Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Skyy Moore and Justin Watson.

Valdes-Scantling and Moore both had multiple receptions on the day. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes appeared to be particularly dialed-in on his deep downfield throws to Valdes-Scantling, who was making catches in stride.

Moore worked out of the slot quite a bit, running a series of shallow slants, flats and out routes.

Watson struggled out of the gate, dropping a few passes during the first team period.

But he did redeem himself in the last session by catching a red-zone touchdown from Mahomes.

Richie James split his reps between the first and second teams, appearing in multiple looks. He was the motion man in more than one instance. This suggests that he is filling Kadarius Toney’s role.

While second-round rookie Rashee Rice spent most of the day with the second team, he made some high-level catches during a red-zone period.

During a 7-on-7 period, he mixed in with the first team — and stayed there to the end of practice.

Justyn Ross followed the same arc. Mahomes looked his way a few times. He had a nice catch over cornerback Joshua Williams.

Nikko Remigio, Ihmir Smith-Marsette and Tyrone Scott — back with the team after a six-week absence — all made receptions with the second and third teams.

3. Grueling physicality

Sunday’s practice was no joke — beginning with the first drill of the day: the notorious blocking sled at the 50-yard line.

Lightning-quick individual and unit periods paved the way to extensive 11-on-11 work — and the pads were popping.

Sunday’s emphasis was on red-zone and short-yardage situations. There was also extensive work on inside runs during 9-on-7 drills — which led to some big hits and tremendous blocks.

All in all, it was the longest and most grueling day of camp so far, coming in at just under two and a half hours. During the last team period, players on both sides of the ball were visibly gassed — a great reminder that running sprints and lifting weights does not lead to being in football shape.

In particular, linebacker Willie Gay Jr. was fatigued after running in coverage nearly all day. But before the last rep, there was encouragement from the opposite huddle.

“One more play! We need you, Willie!“ yelled Mahomes.

A week into a long process, the team’s main goal is still in focus. From the top down, it is quite clear that the Chiefs have every intention of hoisting another Lombardi trophy.

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