The Kansas City Chiefs hit the field for another day of training camp on Friday morning as the team continued their preparation for the upcoming season.
Among those who didn't participate on Friday were offensive tackle Prince Tega Wanogho (knee), wide receiver Antonio Callaway (bone bruise), offensive guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (hand), defensive end Alex Okafor (hamstring), linebacker Willie Gay Jr. (concussion protocol), tight end Evan Baylis (ankle), wide receiver Chad Williams (groin strain), offensive tackle Mike Remmers (back spasms), defensive end Malik Herring (knee) and offensive lineman Kyle Long (leg).
Here are five observations from Friday's practice.
1. It was Alumni Day at camp.
Twenty former players spanning numerous generations of Chiefs' history were invited to watch practice on Friday, once again connecting the current era of players with those who came before them.
"We have a lot of former players here. Nick Lowery, Mike Bell, Stephone Paige, Trent Bryant, Chris Penn, Kendall Gammon – there's a bunch of guys here," said former Chiefs' defensive back Deron Cherry. "We get one day a year where we get to come up here, see the team, and reminisce about how good we would have been with Patrick Mahomes [as our quarterback]. It's good to have fun and fellowship with the guys."
It's always a special day that demonstrates how much this franchise not only values its current success, but also its rich history.
2. Friday's session was a "10-10-10" practice.
The Chiefs strung together three-straight days of padded practices between Tuesday and Thursday, which marked their first time in pads since Super Bowl LV. Head Coach Andy Reid appears to have been pleased with the work that Kansas City was able to get done in that time, as he opted for a bit of a lighter session on Friday called a "10-10-10" practice.
These kinds of practices - while up-tempo - aren't in pads and are made up of a sequence of several plays that put the offense, defense, and special teams' units each in a position of success while in full, 11-on-11 team drills. That meant a cycle of 10 offensive plays, 10 defensive plays and 10 minutes of special teams' work designed to simulate what success should look like.
The concept of a "10-10-10" practice illustrates one of the many reasons Reid is such a tremendous coach, as the session punctuated three tough days in pads with a productive period of work that also rewarded the players for their efforts this past week.
3. Patrick Mahomes spread the ball around for some big plays during the offensive period.
The offensive portion of practice is designed for success, but the players still need to execute the plays in order for them to work, and we saw plenty of that during the opening "10-10-10" cycle.
First, on one of the first snaps of the period, Mahomes connected with wide receiver Mecole Hardman deep downfield for a touchdown to continue what's been an impressive camp for the third year wideout. Mahomes went on to find wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Demarcus Robinson each for big plays during the opening sequence as well.
Additionally, tight end Travis Kelce was busy throughout the practice with a handful of receptions.
4. L'Jarius Sneed tallied an interception during the defensive segment of practice.
Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo chose to emphasize red zone work during the defense's portion of practice, which has been a focus point for Spagnuolo's unit since Organized Team Activities (OTAs).
Cornerback L'Jarius Sneed - who was considered by many to be the top rookie corner in all of football last season – was active in the opening period, picking off quarterback Shane Buechele in the end zone.
5. Tommy Townsend got plenty of work in during the special teams' portion.
The punt unit was busy as well on Friday as Townsend had the opportunity to work on his craft quite a bit during the special teams' segment of practice.
"I honestly love anything that's in a team setting. [Assistant Head Coach / Special Teams Coordinator Dave] Toub is preaching all the time that they're trying to make practice harder than a game, and they put a lot of pressure on us during the team periods," Townsend said following practice. "I love that. It's the best way to get better -just throwing yourself in a team setting against pressure."
And as far as the return game goes, Toub confirmed that the two players who primarily handled punt and kick return duties in 2020 – Mecole Hardman and Byron Pringle – would share that responsibility once again to begin this season.
"We're going to start off with the way we ended last year. I think both of those guys have improved because we had OTAs – which we didn't have last year - and now we're having camp and they've really developed on some of their weaknesses," Toub said. "They're getting better at seeing the ball and catching it coming forward, and I think both of them are going to take a good step forward."
The Chiefs will have a day off from practice on Saturday before returning to the field on Sunday at 9:15 a.m. CT.