Training Camp Observations

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Five Observations from Tuesday's Practice | Chiefs Training Camp 8/9

Here are some quick notes from Tuesday’s practice

The Kansas City Chiefs took the field for the 12th official practice of training camp on Tuesday in preparation for the upcoming season.

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

1. Cornerback Rashad Fenton returned to practice on Tuesday.

Fenton, who had been on the "Physically Unable to Perform" list with a shoulder injury, took the field for his first practice of training camp on Tuesday. He went on to participate in individual and 1-on-1 drills, marking a significant step in his recovery.

In terms of who didn't participate, wide receiver Daurice Fountain (groin), defensive tackle Taylor Stallworth (knee contusion), wide receiver Gary Jennings (concussion) and tight end Jody Fortson (quad) didn't practice on Tuesday. Safety Zayne Anderson left practice early due to a shoulder injury.

Additionally, offensive tackle Lucas Niang remains on the "PUP" list and did not participate.

2. There was great competition during the offensive vs. defensive 1-on-1 drills.

The big plays during team and 7-on-7 drills are often what garner the most attention during training camp, but there are several other segments of practice that contribute to the Chiefs' overall growth as a squad.

One of those periods is the running back and tight end vs. linebacker and safety 1-on-1 drill, which serves two purposes. First, the drill begins by testing the offensive players' abilities in pass-protection. The defensive player is provided with a five-yard head start on their "pass-rush," and it's up to the offensive player to successfully block the incoming rush. It's a tough drill for offensive players, but one that cultivates significant growth in an underrated – yet critical – aspect of being a running back or tight end.

As difficult as the drill is for offensive players, however, the advantage shifts during the second portion of the period. In this segment, the defensive players are tasked with covering the offensive players on a passing play. There's no pass-rush to disrupt the quarterback during this drill, meaning that the result of the play rests entirely on the 1-on-1 efforts between the offensive player and the defender. One player who stood out during this portion of the drill was safety Juan Thornhill, who made a great play to break up a pass intended for tight end Travis Kelce.

Another standout from the 1-on-1 period of practice was cornerback L'Jarius Sneed, who recorded a one-handed interception during wide receiver vs. cornerback 1-on-1 drills nearby.

3. The red zone was an area of emphasis during Tuesday's practice.

The Chiefs dedicate a segment of every practice to a real-world scenario, from the two-minute drill to a run-on field goal. The specific focus on Tuesday was the red zone, providing both the first and second team units on both sides of the ball with an opportunity to make some noteworthy plays.

Offensively, perhaps the best play of the period occurred when quarterback Patrick Mahomes found wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling for a touchdown just inside the front pylon. It was an excellent throw by Mahomes and an impressive catch by Valdes-Scantling, who continues to prove that he can be a viable red zone target in Kansas City's offense.

On the other side of the ball, rookie cornerback Trent McDuffie continued his strong camp with good coverage on a pass toward the sideline. McDuffie later forced a fumble during 7-on-7 drills, ripping the ball away from the receiver.

Elsewhere, cornerback Jaylen Watson added a pass-breakup during the red zone period with impressive coverage on a "corner route." Defensive tackle Chris Jones also contributed a significant play, creating pressure before tallying a would-be sack.

4. Defensive end Carlos Dunlap continues to work his way into the mix.

Dunlap, who signed with the Chiefs last week, continued to see his workload increase on Tuesday as the veteran edge rusher acclimates to full football activities. He was on the field for several snaps during full team periods of Tuesday's practice and even made a big play, recording a would-be sack on quarterback Chad Henne during the red zone portion of practice.

It was once again an encouraging and exciting step for Dunlap as he continues to ease into the Chiefs' defense.

5. Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster had another strong day.

Smith-Schuster has been one of the most consistently impressive players in this year's camp, and Tuesday's practice was no exception. Smith-Schuster tallied multiple catches during the session, including a sidearm throw from Mahomes on a slant route before hauling in a touchdown grab a bit later.

Smith-Schuster also brought in an exceptional contested grab during wide receiver vs. cornerback 1-on-1 drills early in practice.

The Chiefs will enjoy an off day on Wednesday before returning to practice on Thursday. For more information on training camp or for a schedule of practices, click here.

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