Throughout training camp, Chiefs Reporter B.J. Kissel will share his top observations from each practice.
Here are five things that stood out Monday morning:
1. It was the final day in pads
The Kansas City Chiefs’ 2018 training camp is close to coming to an end.
There’s only one more practice, which takes place Tuesday morning and is actually “Military Appreciation Day,” but the practice will have the players in shorts and will begin an hour later (9:15am) than it has begun most of the other days.
If the weather is permitting, there will also be static displays of military vehicles and equipment on-site from the Kansas National Guard for fan interaction during the course of the day’s festivities. It will also include interaction by the Chiefs’ players and coaches with these select military members after practice.
Photos from Monday's practice
On Tuesday morning, the practice ended with the infamous “long drive drill,” which has the first-team offense and defense on the field together for 15-plus consecutive plays.
It’s all about staying mentally sharp and fighting through fatigue to execute your job, and it led to some brief words being exchanged between players on both sides of the ball, which we’ll call a disagreement.
But it’s also the most difficult practice (and period of any practice) the Chiefs will have before their game Friday night on the road against the Atlanta Falcons.
2. Patrick Mahomes made a ridiculous throw
It’s a pretty normal occurrence at practice to watch quarterback Patrick Mahomes make a throw that few others could make, or to be fair, would even try and attempt.
Most quarterbacks are taught never to throw back across their body towards the middle of the field, and not that it wouldn’t normally be a bad idea, Mahomes made a throw Monday morning that did just that, and it was a game-winning type of play.
During a two-minute situational period in which the team was down by two points at midfield without any timeouts left and less than 25 seconds left on the clock, Mahomes left the pocket and went rolling right when he fired back across his body about 20 yards down the field to the waiting arms of Tyreek Hill. The throw and catch put the Chiefs in field goal range.
What made the throw even more impressive—outside of the sheer physical capability needed to throw a dart from that angle with that much velocity—is that Hill had four defenders surrounding him. He had two in front to each side and two behind him—almost as if he was boxed in with a tiny lane to fit the ball through.
Mahomes completed the pass in a situation that would have given Harrison Butker a chance to win the game with the team down by two points.
So, while it’s easy to believe that quarterbacks should never attempt a pass like that—in this particular situation—the gamble would have most-likely won the Chiefs a game.
3. Andrew Wylie continues to be the next guy up along the offensive line
With starting right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (head) missing Monday’s practice, the Chiefs turned to former Eastern Michigan standout Andrew Wylie to step into that spot.
Wylie, who also mixed in at offensive tackle earlier in camp, was picked up on the Chiefs’ practice squad late last season (December 28). A couple of weeks later, Wylie was added to the active roster before the playoff game against the Tennessee Titans.
Earlier this week, Chiefs’ offensive line coach Andy Heck spoke with the media about his group and how the roster spots will ultimately take shape.
“After four preseason games, everything will reveal itself,” he said.
4. Some other random stuff to know
Starting inside linebacker Anthony Hitchens took part in 11-on-11 drills, which was different than Sunday. He had been dealing with a hamstring issue. Progress is always a good sign.
Rookie safety Armani Watts continues to get reps with the first-team defense in the absence of Daniel Sorensen, who is going to miss some time with a leg/knee injury, and also Eric Berry, who didn’t practice for the second straight day on Monday because of a sore heel.
Undrafted rookie running back Darrel Williams took some reps with the second-team offense today—climbing up the ranks after a solid performance in the preseason game against the Houston Texans last week.
Punter Dustin Colquitt kicked an extra point during practice, which was new. He made it.
Tyreek Hill is still really quick. Here’s a look at a great release during 1-on-1’s.
Steve Nelson did this today. It was good.
A couple of other plays that stood out were a deep touchdown throw from Chad Henne to Demarcus Robinson, who continues to have a great camp, and then late in practice, Jace Amaro—the tight end and former second-round pick a few years’ back, went up over the defensive back on a throw along the sideline to make a phenomenal contested catch. It may have been his best play of camp.
The trio of young rookie cornerbacks continue to move up the ranks as well as Tremon Smith, D’Montre Wade and Arrion Springs were all working together with the second-team defense.
5. The injury updates
Safety Eric Berry (sore heel), offensive guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (concussion), center Jimmy Murray (sore knee), safety Daniel Sorensen (knee) and tailback Damien Williams (shoulder) didn’t practice on Monday due to injuries.
Defensive tackle Xavier Williams (stinger), meanwhile, was back on the field after leaving practice early on Sunday. Safety Leon McQuay (hamstring), cornerback Keith Reaser (quad strain) and cornerback Makinton Dorleant, who have all missed time with various injuries, also returned to practice.