The Kansas City Chiefs finished up their first day of mandatory minicamp Tuesday afternoon.
Over the previous three weeks, the Chiefs had held a total of 10 OTA practices, which for all the media in attendance, looked very similar to Tuesday’s minicamp practice. The minicamp practices are a tad longer but that’s about the only difference.
There’s still no contact allowed and the guys are still wearing shorts and helmets, but just like OTAs, there were several periods in which the offense and defense were able to compete against one another.
And despite the lack of contact, there doesn’t seem to be a lack of competing—the guys are letting each other know a little bit who is winning each rep.
Here are five observations from Tuesday’s practice:
1. Patrick Mahomes had a good day
With a young quarterback—particularly in a setting like OTAs where they’re trying to figure out what they can and can’t get away with—there are going to be good days, and there will be learning days.
For first-year starter and second-year player Patrick Mahomes, Tuesday’s practice was one of the good days.
Whether it was 7-on-7 or any of the 11-on-11 team periods, Mahomes was firing the ball all over the field and connecting with his receivers at every level.
Mahomes dropped a beautiful pass over the outside shoulder of receiver Marcus Kemp on a deep corner route, and a bit later in practice, he fired the ball across the middle through traffic to tight end Travis Kelce, who snagged it out of the air for another 15-20-yard reception through a tight window.
And not to exclude the kind of play that he was known to make throughout his time playing at Texas Tech, Mahomes had one improvisational throw back across his body that was head-turning as well. After leaving the pocket and scrambling out to his left, Mahomes threw back right across his body to the middle of the field to Chris Conley coming across the field.
It might have resulted in a gain of just six or seven yards, but it was the kind of backyard football-play that defined much of what made up his highlight reels at Texas Tech.
2. A long connection from an 11-year veteran to an undrafted rookie
While Mahomes’ day was the collective top takeaway from Tuesday’s practice, the longest individual play came on a broken play and hookup between veteran Chad Henne and rookie running back Darrel Williams.
Once the initial play broke down, Williams went streaking down the right sideline and Henne, who had left the pocket and rolled out to his left, saw Williams running all alone down the far (right) side of the field.
Henne uncorked one deep down the field to Williams, who caught the ball in stride and scored a touchdown from 40-plus yards out.
Players and coaches put in work on the first day of Chiefs Minicamp
3. A couple of young safeties walk away with interceptions
It was a good day for the Chiefs’ young safeties.
Both second-year player Jordan Sterns and rookie fourth-round pick Armani Watts had interceptions.
Watts came on a pass across the middle from Mahomes, while Sterns made another play in an offseason that he’s found himself around the ball several times during these workouts.
“I was in man-to-man and I just looked up and the ball was in the air,” Sterns explained. “Then I just did what we work on every day.”
Sterns, who was injured before the season last year after signing as an undrafted free agent out of Oklahoma State, cherishes each day he’s out on the field.
“It’s been a process,” he said. “I’m just learning—trying to soak in everything I can. I’m just super grateful just to be here in the first place, and I can’t wait for training camp.”
4. A few Chiefs return to the field
After missing practice last Thursday with a twisted ankle, Tyreek Hill was back on the field for the Chiefs Tuesday afternoon.
And as he did last week, Spencer Ware—the veteran running back who is working his way back from a season-ending knee injury suffered late in the preseason last year—went through individual drills but was held out of team work.
Chiefs’ coach Andy Reid spoke about Ware last week.
“He’s chomping at the bit and this drives him crazy,” Reid said of Ware. “You know how he’s wired. He wants to do everything, every snap, and he just has to make sure he’s all right. When we get him to training camp he’ll be all good.”
Receiver Chris Conley, who is also being brought along slowly coming back from his season-ending Achilles injury last year, practiced on Tuesday as well. He didn’t practice last Thursday.
Outside linebacker Dee Ford, who missed a lot of time last year with a back injury, continues to work in individual drills but not in the team periods.
5. Six Chiefs don’t practice
The Chiefs held six players out of practice on Tuesday:
WR - De’Anthony Thomas
OL - Mitch Morse
RB - Kareem Hunt
LB - Terrance Smith
WR - Byron Pringle
DL - Dee Liner