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Training camp notebook: ‘Ready-to-go’ Isiah Pacheco is simply waiting on the word

Pacheco is having a good camp, but he has yet to shed the non-contact jersey.

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

Since the beginning of training camp, the Kansas City Chiefs’ second-year running back Isiah Pacheco has worn a yellow non-contact jersey to practice. While he has participated in seven-on-seven drills (and lighter 11-on-11 exercises), the team remains careful following an offseason in which he underwent surgeries to repair an injured hand and labrum.

A recent report from NFL Network’s James Palmer noted that Pacheco’s contact clearance is coming. It just won’t be in time for Kansas City’s first preseason game against the New Orleans Saints next Sunday.

“He’s done very well,” said head coach Andy Reid of Pacheco. “We’re doing everything we can to hold back on him. To tell him to go slow is a hard thing, so he’s got to have patience — and he doesn’t have a lot of that. He’s doing great. He’s doing great. We just have to see as it goes on here with the contact part, but he’s getting good work in without that.”

Pacheco has a rather aggressive, violent running style — a method he used to pile up more than 800 rushing yards in 2022 — despite only starting 11 games. Kansas City had recognized that ability in his play at Rutgers, making sure to take him in the seventh round of last year’s NFL Draft.

But while that quality is what makes him so productive, it can become a detriment in a rehab situation. Pacheco accidentally said “All brakes, no gas” when asked about it at the podium, but the running back meant was “All gas, no brakes.”

“It’s very frustrating,” said Pacheco. “But when you’re on the side and you’re getting those mental reps, you’re just detailing and getting those reps... asking Coach, ‘What’s this play?’ Doing those mental reps in the back, it allows me to stay on top of my task.”

Looking ahead to 2023, the 24-year-old is working to gain a deeper understanding of the playbook — specifically when it comes to the club’s blocking scheme. He believes that will aid in slowing the game down, improving his vision and being able to hit the hole.

“[I’m] allowing myself to understand and trust the blocking scheme and understand how it’s going to get blocked up,” said Pacheco. “For me, I’m just writing notes in the classroom of how the blocking scheme is going to get blocked up because, like I said, you got guys that could slip off and that’s the play. We need all 11 guys to make the play, so for me, understanding the scheme will allow me to find a way to get positive yards.”

Several times during the press conference, Pacheco expressed his readiness to be cleared for contact.

“Whenever they allow me to go, I’m ready to go,” he said. “Whenever they tell me, I’m ready to go. Just keep working, finding ways to get better.”


You can find my complete observations from Monday’s practice here.

Post-practice chat and press conferences

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

Injury report

  • Did not practice (due to injury): TE Jody Fortson (right shoulder injured on 7/28), CB L’Jarius Sneed (knee swelling on 7/31), WR Kadarius Toney (knee injured on 7/23)
  • Limited: RB Isiah Pacheco (hand, labrum)
  • Returned to practice: DE Mike Danna (calf), DL Charles Omenihu (calf)

Tweet of the day

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

That labrum looks just fine.

Quote of the day

Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco, after confirming he is working on a new touchdown dance for 2023: “When I get in that end zone, y’all going to see it...I’m from Jersey so you know we known for dancing...we known for dancing.”

What’s next?

The Chiefs return to the field on Tuesday morning for their 14th full-team training camp practice. The workout begins at 9:15 a.m. Arrowhead Time. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo will address the media following the practice as offensive and defensive lines sign autographs. Here’s the complete 2023 training camp schedule.

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