Training Camp Observations

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Five Observations from Thursday's Practice | Chiefs Training Camp 8/4

Here are some quick notes from Thursday’s practice

The Kansas City Chiefs took the field for the eighth official practice of training camp on Thursday in preparation for the upcoming season.

Here's a quick rundown of what took place during Thursday's practice, and for reference, every previous practice report can be accessed through the links below.

1. There were two additions to the injury report on Thursday.

Wide receiver Daurice Fountain (groin) and wide receiver Gary Jennings (concussion) didn't practice on Thursday as new additions to the injury report. Tight end Jody Fortson (quad) also didn't practice.

There was some good news, however, as offensive tackle Prince Tega Wanogho – who was previously on the "Physically Unable to Perform" list with a leg injury – took the field and participated in Thursday's practice. Cornerback Rashad Fenton and offensive tackle Lucas Niang remain on the "PUP" list and did not participate.

2. Thursday's practice was of the lighter, "10-10-10" variety.

The Chiefs just completed the toughest stretch of camp so far, stringing three padded practices together between Monday and Wednesday. That final practice – which took place indoors due to weather – was the longest practice of this year's camp to this point at two hours and twenty-five minutes. That three-day stretch was an absolute grind, and with that in mind, the Chiefs took the field for a lighter, "10-10-10" practice on Thursday that emphasized the mental side of the game.

The "10-10-10" format includes two to three cycles of 10 offensive plays, 10 defensive plays and 10 special teams' plays. These practices – which take place in helmets, shells and shorts as opposed to pads – provide an opportunity to gain mental reps and build muscle memory while ideally achieving what success looks like in any given situation. For example, during the offensive period, the first-team offense will often line up across from the second or third team defense. The same is true for the defensive period, where the first-team defense will compete against the second or third team offense.

In Thursday's practice, the first-team offense – which took the field for three designated periods – operated from midfield during each session, focusing on the deep passing game for much of that time while also dedicating several snaps to the running game during the second offensive period.

Defensively, the first-team elected to work in the red zone during its first period before working from midfield over the next two sessions. The special teams' focus, meanwhile, centered around the punting game. Specifically, punter Tommy Townsend operated deep in his own territory and booted the ball to a variety of returners – including Mecole Hardman, Skyy Moore, Corey Coleman and Trent McDuffie – while the other components of the punting operation worked on their blocking, rushing and coverage technique.

It was a quick practice at one hour and 50 minutes, but the idea is that the players can translate Thursday's mental reps to the next padded practice on Saturday.

3. Defensive end Carlos Dunlap took the field for his first practice with the team.

Dunlap – who signed with the Chiefs last week – was present for his first practice with Kansas City on Thursday. The veteran defensive end spoke with the media following practice and discussed his decision to join the Chiefs.

"I've played a lot of football, but there are some things that I haven't done. I haven't gotten over 100 [career] sacks, I haven't won a playoff game and I haven't won a Super Bowl," said Dunlap, who is entering his 13th season in the NFL. "Those are things that I would like to do at this point in my career, and this team gives me the best opportunity to do [those things]."

Dunlap – who has 96 career sacks to his name – added that he's excited to play a variety of roles in Kansas City and doesn't consider himself as only a third-down pass-rusher.

"First and second down are just as important to me as third down," Dunlap said. "I've obviously done a lot of things on third down and closed out games, but if you can impact the game early on first and second down, you can put the game away even sooner."

It remains to be seen how Dunlap will be used in Kansas City, but his presence adds an experienced and decorated edge rusher to the Chiefs' defensive line rotation.

4. Wide receiver Mecole Hardman put together a great practice.

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes targeted Hardman early and often throughout the offensive periods of Thursday's practice, connecting with the veteran receiver numerous times without a drop. That included multiple deep receptions that primarily took place on crossing routes, allowing Hardman to show off his speed and split the defense.

Another player who stood out on Thursday was rookie tailback Isiah Pacheco, who made a tremendous, contested catch on a pass downfield despite tight coverage. It was essentially a jump ball that the Rutgers' product went up and came down with.

Wide receiver Skyy Moore also made a nice play during the practice, catching a deep touchdown during the offensive period.

5. A handful of defensive players stood out, too.

As for the defensive period, one of the top plays of the day was when cornerback L'Jarius Sneed came on a blitz before tipping quarterback Shane Buechele's pass up in the air. Defensive lineman Tershawn Wharton then hauled in the jump ball for an interception, completing the takeaway for the defense.

Linebacker Nick Bolton also tipped a pass at the line a bit earlier in the practice, forcing an incompletion. Safety Bryan Cook, meanwhile, tallied a pass-breakup during the red zone period, and cornerback Trent McDuffie hauled in an interception later in the morning.

Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo spoke about McDuffie following practice.

"I think he's done an outstanding job," Spagnuolo said. "I think that he's competed really well against our veteran wide outs, and when it hasn't gone great for him, he doesn't stick his head in the sand. He bounces right back up, and that's a good quality."

The Chiefs will enjoy a day off from practice on Friday before returning for another padded practice on Saturday. For more information on training camp or for a schedule of practices, click here.

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