Throughout training camp, Chiefs Reporter B.J. Kissel will share his top observations from each practice.
Here are five things that stood out Saturday morning:
*1. It was Alumni Day *
Some of the men who are responsible for what the Kansas City Chiefs’ franchise has ultimately become were on hand Saturday morning for the team’s annual “Alumni Day” at Chiefs’ training camp.
This included guys like running back Mike Garrett, who had the five-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter of Super Bowl IV on the iconic “65 Toss Power Trap” call from head coach Hank Stram, which has become a staple of the franchise and is even drawn in the pavement of the Founder’s Plaza entrance of Arrowhead Stadium.
There were also guys like Walter White, Dave Lindstrom, Ed Budde, and even the X-Factor and “human joystick” himself—Dante Hall, among plenty of others who signed autographs for fans and took pictures before heading down to the field at the end of practice to meet with the current players.
Many of the players on hand are part of the Chiefs’ Ambassadors program, which is among the best of its kind in the NFL and strives to help the Kansas City community through various events they attend around town. This included a stop by Mosaic Life Care.
2. Defensive lineman Justin Hamilton continues to impress
If there’s one player on the defensive side of the ball for the Chiefs that hasn’t gotten enough credit for his performance at camp thus far it’s defensive lineman Justin Hamilton, who is working on his fifth team in four years after coming into the league as an undrafted free agent with the Buffalo Bills in 2015.
Hamilton was signed by the Chiefs on December 8 of last year off the Eagles’ practice squad, where he had bounced back and forth between the practice squad and active roster. He finished the season, which was split between the Chiefs and Eagles, with three tackles and a half-sack.
According to Chiefs’ starting center Mitch Morse, who has worked against Hamilton up at camp and had nothing but praise for the 25-year-old journeyman, Hamilton is particularly difficult to face because he never stops driving his feet and he’s got great hand placement.
Last week after practice, Hamilton said he’s enjoyed his time in Kansas City because of the “family” atmosphere, and the fact that he said he’s having a good camp.
During the game Thursday night, Hamilton had one of the Chiefs’ three quarterback hits on the night and finished with the fifth-highest grade among Chiefs’ defenders, according to Pro Football Focus.
3. The injury updates
After the Chiefs finished up practice, Rick Burkholder—the team’s Vice President of Sports Medicine and Performance—spoke with the local media about the injury suffered by veteran safety Dan Sorensen last week.
“Dan hurt his left knee at practice,” Burkholder explained. “He has what’s called a tibia plateau fracture. So, it’s his tibia, which is your shin bone—he has a fracture in there. He was fixed at the University of Kansas Health System by two surgeons—John Sojka, and Paul Schroeppel. He also had an MCL injury and a lateral meniscus tear. They were all fixed.
“We now have to wait for the bone to heal,” he continued. “So, with all bones that are broken, we will reexamine him at six weeks. So, there’s no time frame other than we’re going to reexamine him then. He’ll be up today to begin his formal rehab with us.”
In addition to Sorensen, here are the other guys who didn’t practice for the Chiefs on Saturday:
Safety - Leon McQuay (hamstring)
Offensive lineman - Jimmy Murray (knee)
Cornerback - Keith Reaser (quad)
Here are the guys who were partial participants:
Linebacker - Anthony Hitchens (hamstring)
Defensive lineman - Derrick Nnadi (elbow)
Outside linebacker - Dee Ford (sick)
Cornerback - Makinton Dorleant (hamstring)
Kansas City Chiefs alumni visited with fans and watched practice at Training Camp before visiting with patients at Mosaic Life Care on Saturday, August 11, 2018.
4. Some of the best plays and performances from Saturday
It was a good day for Patrick Mahomes, who hit multiple targets at each level of the field throughout the sub three-hour practice, which included a two-minute period as well as a long-drive drill towards the end of the session as well.
On one play, Mahomes hit Demarcus Robinson on a deep pass down the left sideline for a touchdown that saw Robinson fight for the ball in the air.
It’s been a fantastic camp for the third-year receiver out of Florida, who has to be gaining even more trust by the day from his quarterback with plays like that one.
But it was receiver Marcus Kemp who may have had the best catch of camp to this point when he went across the middle and high-pointed the ball over two defenders.
During a team period, Justin Houston knifed into the backfield for what would have been a sack after lining up inside over a guard.
Undrafted rookie free agent receiver Byron Pringle had another good day as well—hauling in this pass across the middle for a touchdown.
Tanoh Kpassagnon had another good day—winning multiple reps in both team and 1-on-1 periods. He continues to show development.
5. Linebacker Reggie Ragland updated us after practice on his progress
Third-year linebacker Reggie Ragland didn’t play in the game Thursday night against the Houston Texans as he continues to work his way back from the swelling he had in his knee when he first reported to camp a couple of weeks ago.
But over the last few practices, Ragland has steadily been increasing his load.
“I’m still sore at times,” Ragland told the media Saturday afternoon following practice. “But it’s football, if you can’t work through soreness you might as well not play. That’s the name of the game.”
While much of the offseason discussion from the local and national media regarding the Chiefs’ defense has been about whether or not they’re going to be able to stop the run this year, and it’s something Ragland addressed when asked the question on Saturday.
“Don’t worry, we’re going to stop that run,” he said firmly. “We ain’t playing this year about that run. We are going to stop it this year. Everybody has the right mind set. The first couple practices where we got into pads, everyone was talking about [Anthony] Hitchens coming down, and if you go back and watch the film—he was doing a great job of doing that.
“Then when I finally came back in and did my first 9-on-7, that wall was there. We’ve got the guys to do it, but at the end of the day it’s all about attitude. You have to want to do that and I feel like we have the guys to do that. We’ve got the coaching staff, we got everybody. We just have to put it together and we have to be one as a team.”