Chiefs training camp observations from Day 9

My first visit to Kansas City Chiefs training camp last week was productive, but Saturday’s practice was set up to learn a lot more about the team.

With full pads and a cool rest day, the team had a long practice that featured multiple team periods, seven-on-seven, and inside runs; a team period simulated the two-minute exercise.

This is Wach:

Offense

  • Left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. looked great. Of the individual exercises, I was impressed with his movement and quickness from the center. In the career periods, he was the same overwhelming blocker who opens holes using the overwhelming frame of his. In team periods, his first step was very quick, neutralizing the vast majority of defensive end Frank Clark’s pressure attempts. He wasn’t perfect, but his descent into his passing set seemed easier and more fluid.
  • Tight end Travis Kelce was very active on quick and intermediate passes throughout practice, mostly down the middle between defenders. The chemistry between him and Patrick Mahomes seems as fine-tuned as ever, but he wasn’t the only busy tight end. While Jody Fortson remains out with injury, Noah Gray was very busy: He ran a variety of routes for the first-team offense and never dropped a pass that I saw; Kelce had a clean knockdown in seven on seven, which wasn’t the only one for the offense on the day.
  • The drops were, unfortunately, a matter of practice. Earlier in the day, I noticed a frustrating drop on an easy pass to wide receiver Márquez Valdés-Scantling when the offense was in the air. Mahomes later found Jerick McKinnon running for the seam in a live period, but the pinpoint shot was calmly missed. There was also a play that ended with the ball in the hands of the defense after wide receiver Cornell Powell appeared to catch it; it was unclear if he fumbled the ball or if he shot and allowed the defender to intercept him.
  • Rookie Skyy Moore has been impressive throughout camp, but Saturday felt like a reminder that he’s still a rookie. Full-team periods didn’t feature as much of Moore as other practices, and this time they opted to keep the rotation tighter for starters. In seven-on-seven stretches, there were two good anticipatory shots by the quarterback, but Moore seemed surprised on both by how fast the ball came to him.
  • Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire continued to lead the way as the starting running back, taking more of the snaps than I noticed last time I watched practice. He had a standout catch in the two-minute drill, where a scrambled Mahomes found Edwards-Helaire running down the sideline; the runner secured him over the shoulder and he went out of bounds.
  • Running back Ronald Jones was running hard, hitting holes mightily in the live periods focused on inside runs. He broke some gains per part, with some fluid speed breaks in the open.
  • Wide receiver Josh Gordon took advantage of the opportunity that presented itself when Daurice Fountain left practice. In a seven-on-seven period, Mahomes found Gordon deep on the left sideline for a touchdown.
  • I noticed rookie right tackle Darian Kinnard showing raw power in live running periods, usually on the third-team offense. He showed the strong hands that made him an intriguing prospect; however, his technique and footwork in blocking passes in one-on-one drills led to some ugly reps. He might be closer to a developmental project than a first-year starter.
  • The second team offensive tackles were Geron Christian on the left side with Roderick Johnson on the right side.

Defending

  • Defensive tackle Chris Jones constantly interrupted plays, which almost goes without saying at this point. Most of those wins included beating left guard Joe Thuney or right guard Trey Smith, but I noticed Jones lined up at defensive end.
  • Rookie cornerback Trent McDuffie got two passes, causing incomplete passes in the team period. The first was in back coverage in a deep, lateral pattern to wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster; McDuffie’s technique put him in a perfect spot to stop any pass from getting through. On a later play, McDuffie used active hands to deflect a potential catch from wide receiver Mecole Hardman on a deep jumper downfield.
  • Defensive end George Karlaftis isn’t technically a starting defensive end yet, but he had plenty of runs in first-team live stints as a pass-rusher. In one stretch, he wore down right tackle Andrew Wylie with power and collapsed the pocket by attacking Wylie’s outside shoulder. If it weren’t for the restrictions on hitting the quarterback, I think he has a hand on at least one pass when he throws it.
  • Rookie Joshua Williams filled the outside cornerback position on Nickel’s first-team defense throughout practice.
  • The unit seemed to be working on the Dime defense for much of practice, using it to work on different blitz looks. To their credit, they were finding clean ways in the backfield, putting defensive linemen in short zone coverage and driving defensive backs into the pocket.
  • As for the personnel for those dime defenses, the three-safety look seems to feature Justin Reid as the box safety who lines up alongside the dime linebacker on occasion, meaning rookie Bryan Cook is the strong safety. traditional in place for those plays. . Translation: Reid is actually playing the role of Dan Sorensen, not Cook, who is in Reid’s place as a deeper security.
  • The linebacker group didn’t have a very good day defending passes. One live period focused on the middle parts of the offense and defense, which means passes to running backs and tight ends with linebackers in coverage. Tight ends had very little trouble finding seams and catching pitches in tight windows.
  • Nick Bolton’s lack of sensitivity in coverage was exploited by the chemistry of Kelce and Mahomes multiple times in seven-on-seven stretches. It was also a remarkably quiet day for Willie Gay Jr.
  • Veteran defensive end Carlos Dunlap is acclimating; he rarely rotated with the first-team defense during team spells. In one running period, Dunlap came down the front of a run and rammed the ball carrier before he got to the line of scrimmage. An observation: it is huge; he and Jones’s ability to crush passes at the line of scrimmage will be on the minds of opposing quarterbacks.
  • Second-year defensive end Malik Herring excelled in both team periods and one-on-one drills for his pass-rushing ability. It makes it interesting for second-year running back Joshua Kaindoh, who hasn’t been a notably impressive player in my opinion. The last place in his position may go to the two of them.

other notes

  • Offensive tackle Prince Tega Wanogho returned to padded practices as third-team left tackle; I saw fluid movement from him in both the running and passing games.
  • Veteran defensive back Lonnie Johnson Jr. appears to have earned his spot on the second-team defense, playing outside cornerback alongside rookie Jaylen Watson. He had noticed rookie Nazeeh Johnson there the last time I was in camp.
  • Wide receiver Omar Bayless had two very impressive catches on the field, with both the second and third team offenses. He reached out and caught up to both of them at full speed, securing them cleanly.
  • Wide receiver Justin Watson and cornerback Chris Lammons ran with the first-team punt squad as gunners for what seemed like the entire period they worked on him. Lammons was likely standing in for the injured source.