The Kansas City Chiefs took the field for the first full practice of training camp on Wednesday as the veterans joined the quarterbacks and rookies - who began practicing on Saturday – in preparation for the upcoming campaign.
Here's a quick rundown of what took place during Wednesday's practice, and for reference, every previous practice report can be accessed through the links below.
1. Wednesday's practice was exclusively open to Season Ticket Members.
Season Ticket Members were invited to a private screening of practice on Wednesday, which also included the customary "pancake breakfast" and visits from numerous Chiefs' executives. In fact, Chairman & CEO Clark Hunt, President Mark Donovan and General Manager Brett Veach all stopped by to meet the hundreds of STMs in attendance.
"It's exciting to be back at training camp, and we're so glad that we're past the pandemic protocols so that we can have a normal training camp," said Chiefs Chairman & CEO Clark Hunt. "I know our Season Ticket Members really appreciate it, and I know the pancake breakfast is a real highlight for them."
Wednesday marked the first of two practices exclusively open to Season Ticket Members. The next one will take place on Aug. 9.
Kansas City Chiefs Season Ticket Member Day at Chiefs Training Camp.
2. The Chiefs officially placed three players on the "Physically Unable to Perform" list.
Kansas City made some roster moves over the last few days, moving cornerback Rashad Fenton (shoulder), offensive tackle Prince Tega Wanogho (leg) and offensive tackle Lucas Niang (knee) to the "Physically Unable to Perform," or "PUP," list.
Essentially, the designation means that those players are currently ineligible to practice, but they can still partake in team meetings and use the team facilities. As soon as the Chiefs' medical staff clears each respective player, they'll be activated from the PUP list and can take the field for practice. The rules change a bit when the regular season rolls around, but for now, those players landing on the PUP list just means that they won't be practicing at the moment.
Elsewhere, there was some good news on Wednesday, as running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire – who was briefly placed on PUP on Tuesday – was activated and practiced on Wednesday.
In other injury-related news, defensive end Frank Clark missed the beginning of Wednesday's practice due to an illness, but he made his way to the field a bit later in the morning.
3. Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster had a strong first day.
A clear standout from Wednesday's practice was Smith-Schuster, who drew a high volume of targets during both 7-on-7 and team drills throughout the morning. The veteran receiver made the most of those targets, too, hauling in several impressive catches while running a variety of routes.
"There's a trust there," said Head Coach Andy Reid when asked about the connection between quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Smith-Schuster. "This isn't JuJu's first rodeo. We liked what we saw before – he was a little bit banged up during [offseason practices] – but he's back now, he's healthy and there was good work today. We'll just keep building on it."
The best catch of the day – and there were a bunch – was undoubtedly a diving grab deep down the field during team drills. Smith-Schuster, who cut toward the sideline as part of his route, caught up to Mahomes' pass and dove forward to haul in the throw approximately 20 yards downfield. The crowd erupted as soon as it was clear Smith-Schuster held on, providing for a fun first day in front of his new fans.
"Today was just the first taste of what I have to show," said Smith-Schuster, who emphasized how much he enjoyed the variety of routes he and the rest of the Chiefs' playmakers are required to run. "The playbook is meant for everybody to know every position."
Another player who stood out was tailback Ronald Jones, who made a contested catch deep down the sideline over a linebacker. Wide receivers Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Mecole Hardman also got involved early in the initial team period with receptions.
4. Red Zone was an emphasis area on Wednesday.
The Chiefs work on different situations every day, specifically focusing on certain areas as part of their overall preparation for the upcoming season. "Goal-to-Go" scenarios were one of those emphasis areas on Wednesday, and just as fans would hope, both sides – offense and defense – found success.
Offensively, for example, tight end Noah Gray and running back Jerick McKinnon each caught touchdowns during red zone 7-on-7 drills. The defense also found some success, however, as safety Justin Reid broke on a route near the front pylon and tallied an interception during 7-on-7. It was an impressive play and a strong start for one of Kansas City's major offseason signings.
"I was just playing the defense," Reid said. "[Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo] tells us what to do, and we go out and execute it. When you buy in to the program and when you're a student of the game, good things usually happen. I try and keep myself humble, and when you have opportunities like that, you have to catch it."
5. Some young defensive players recorded solid performances.
Several of the Chiefs' young defenders were provided an opportunity to run with the starters on Wednesday, and while there isn't a depth chart yet and the coaches will rotate numerous players in with that first group, it was still a great chance for those players to impress.
Two players who made the most of that chance on Wednesday were defensive ends George Karlaftis and Joshua Kaindoh, who each generated a handful of pressures during team drills. Rookie cornerback Joshua Williams also had a solid day, tallying a pass breakup deep down the field early in practice.
Coach Reid spoke about the performance of Kansas City's young group of defensive backs, which also includes first-round pick Trent McDuffie, following practice.
"I thought the young secondary players did a nice job today," Reid said. "They got in there and they competed. I like that. The catches that were made were contested. There were bodies close to bodies."
They also impressed Justin Reid, who emphasized the culture that Kansas City is trying to build defensively.
"You always want to start strong. You can look at how we've started in year's past – and this is a totally new defense – but we want to start strong from the first game," Reid said. "We don't want to take a couple games to get into it. We want to come out from Day 1 and be a dominant defense. Today was a great day for us, but you're only as good as the next day, so we're going to have to come out here tomorrow and do it again."
For more on training camp and for a full practice schedule, click here.
Kansas City Chiefs' players and coaches working during training camp practice.