Training Camp Observations

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Five Observations from Wednesday's Practice | Chiefs Training Camp 8/17

Here are some quick notes from Wednesday’s practice

The Kansas City Chiefs took the field for the 16th official practice of training camp on Wednesday in preparation for the upcoming season.

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. Here's a quick look at Wednesday's injury report.

Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (sore knee), tight end Blake Bell (hip) and tailback Jerick McKinnon (hamstring) didn't take the field on Wednesday. Defensive end Chris Jones (sore back) and wide receiver Mecole Hardman (groin) left early due to injury.

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

In terms of roster moves, the Chiefs waived defensive lineman Austin Edwards and wide receiver Devin Gray on Tuesday. The roster now sits at 85 total players.

2. Wednesday marked the final padded practice of camp.

The Chiefs donned pads for the final time in St. Joseph on Wednesday, completing their 10th padded practice of training camp. It also concluded a stretch of three padded practices in a row following the preseason opener on Saturday.

"I think our guys have been doing a great job of working their tails off," said Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy. "The fun part of this entire camp has been watching us grow together. That's the challenge, [and we're] off to a heck of a start. We just need to continue building on that."

Kansas City will take the field at Missouri Western for a lighter practice on Thursday to wrap up this year's camp. In total, Thursday's practice will mark the 17th full team practice in St. Joseph, and the 20th practice for the quarterbacks and rookies.

After Thursday, camp will essentially continue with closed practices at the Chiefs' training facility in Kansas City. The Chiefs will need to narrow the roster down to 80 players by Aug. 23 before another round of cuts trims the roster to 53 players on Aug. 30.

3. Cornerback Rashad Fenton made an athletic interception during red zone drills.

Fenton, who reported that he felt "100 percent" on Tuesday, made one of the best plays of Wednesday's practice with a leaping, athletic interception during red zone team drills. It was another encouraging sign for Fenton, who spent the entirety of the offseason training program rehabbing a shoulder injury. The veteran cornerback also added a pass-breakup in coverage a bit later during team red zone drills.

Some offensive players who stood out during the red zone period were wide receiver Justin Watson and tight end Jordan Franks, as both players hauled in impressive touchdown grabs despite tight coverage during the period.

4. The Chiefs devoted a good portion of Wednesday's practice to 7-on-7 and 9-on-7 drills.

The practice schedule on Wednesday included significant time spent participating in 7-on-7 and 9-on-7 drills – including a 20-minute 7-on-7 period. Both drills – which are commonplace in most camp practices – emphasize a specific portion of the overall operation.

A 7-on-7 period, for example, removes the linemen and the subsequent pass-rush from the equation. The drill features the passing game in its purest form, requiring either the receiver or the defender to complete the designed play without a pass-rush impacting the quarterback. Conversely, 9-on-7 periods omit the receivers and the cornerbacks, providing both sides of the ball with an opportunity to work on the running game without the threat of a pass. The Chiefs often utilize both drills in an effort to work on specific areas of the full operation before combining all aspects during team periods.

Some offensive standouts from the lengthy 7-on-7 period were tailback Isiah Pacheco, wide receiver Josh Gordon and tight end Travis Kelce. Pacheco hauled in an impressive catch down the sideline, Gordon made a strong grab over the middle and Kelce caught a touchdown to the delight of the fans in attendance.

Safety Bryan Cook, meanwhile, made the best defensive play of the period. The rookie defensive back recorded an interception over the middle in traffic to record a "win" for the coverage unit.

5. Cornerback Trent McDuffie stuck with the play and forced a fumble during 7-on-7 drills.

McDuffie made one of his best plays of camp on Wednesday, sticking with a completed pass in the flat before wrestling the ball away and recovering the fumble midair. He then sprinted in the other direction for a likely defensive score.

Cornerback L'Jarius Sneed also made a similar play a bit later during the practice, sticking with a completed pass before punching the ball out "Peanut Tillman" style to force either an incompletion or a fumble.

Both plays were excellent examples of the effort and competition taking place on both sides of the ball during camp.

The Chiefs will take the field for the final practice of training camp on Thursday. For more information on training camp or for a schedule of practices, click here.

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