The Kansas City Chiefs went through a lighter, "10-10-10" practice on Monday following three-straight days of padded practices as Training Camp continued at The University of Kansas Health System Training Complex.
The practice included several opportunities for the third and fourth-team players to rotate in with the first and second-string units, providing a chance for further evaluation as the Chiefs balance the need to assess the depth on the roster with preparation for the upcoming campaign.
In terms of who didn't take the field on Monday, Sammy Watkins (groin), Chris Jones (groin), Antonio Hamilton (groin), Eric Fisher (concussion), Byron Pringle (hamstring), Darius Harris (personal reasons), Deon Yelder (groin), Lavert Hill (hamstring), Juan Thornhill (knee) and Martinas Rankin (knee) each missed practice due to various injuries.
Additionally, tight end Ricky Seals-Jones left practice early with a leg injury.
Following practice, Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, quarterback Chad Henne, defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon and linebacker Willie Gay spoke with the media via web call.
Here are five things that stood out from their pressers.
1. Spagnuolo was asked how a pair of rookies - Gay and defensive back L'Jarius Sneed - have been coming along in practice so far in camp.
The Chiefs selected Gay in the second round (No. 63 overall) and Sneed in the fourth round (No. 138 overall) of the 2020 NFL Draft.
"Both guys are working hard and I'm hopeful for both of them. Both of those guys - Willie especially - love football. That was one of the things that [Linebackers Coach] Matt House identified with coaches and people that had worked with Willie. I think the more guys you can get like that, the better - certainly on defense or anywhere on your football team," Spagnuolo said. "[Sneed] plays a position that [presents] a lot of challenges, so he's out there battling and it doesn't always go great. I think mentally, both of those guys are doing a really good job of keeping their heads in the playbook. I think they pick things up and have some of what I call 'football get-it,' so I think that helps us going forward."
2. Gay, meanwhile, explained how he's progressing through his first professional camp.
"Well, I'm getting better at a lot, honestly. I have a great coach in coach Matt House. He's teaching me a lot about the small details of playing linebacker. [I'm also] watching the older guys like [linebackers] Anthony Hitchens and Damien Wilson," Gay said. "[It's] really the details of the small things - I'm getting better at it and it's paying off for me."
Rookies like Gay are likely to be some of the most impacted by the league's altered offseason program, which didn't include an in-person rookie minicamp, Organized Team Activities (OTAs) or mandatory minicamp, but the Mississippi State product feels that facing Kansas City's high-octane offense throughout camp is helping his progress.
"We have an advantage over here in Kansas City when you play against an offense like ours. You see some crazy stuff in practice, so when you see that, it's like, 'OK, I know everybody in the league can't do what these guys are doing at quarterback, running back or receiver,'" Gay said. "It's definitely making us a lot better."
3. Speaking of young defensive players on the rise, Kpassagnon discussed the confidence gained from his impressive season a year ago and what he's looking to accomplish in 2020.
"I'm always looking to grow, especially by making those key sacks and key plays. Being able to play in the Super Bowl and win the Super Bowl just boosted my confidence and it boosted the whole team's confidence," Kpassagnon said. "We know what we are, and we know exactly what we need to do [in order] to do it again."
After starting one game and recording two sacks through his first two seasons in the league, Kpassagnon started eight games and tallied four sacks, six tackles-for-loss and 11 quarterback hits in 2019.
4. On the other side of the ball, Henne shared where he believes fellow quarterback Patrick Mahomes has grown between last season and this upcoming campaign.
"For Patrick, he's going out there and being the best leader that he can be. I think he's improved on that tremendously, even just from day one since I've been here. He's really getting ahold of the guys and preaching to them what this offense is all about - what he wants from them and what they need from him. He's the ultimate teammate," Henne said. "He's a competitor each and every day. He's trying to beat our defense left and right. It's just his mindset. Each and every day, he's out there to win and be the best leader for this team and win for this organization. He's definitely improved on that year in and year out and has done a phenomenal job there."
5. Lastly, Henne explained how camp is going for him up to this point after spending much of last season on Injured Reserve.
"It's definitely beneficial for me to be in the same system for three years in a row. I feel confident in myself and confident that I can go out there and perform," Henne said. "At the same time, it's just getting to know these guys again. [It's about] getting the timing down, the spatial awareness, understanding the route concepts and really digging deep on what routes we're trying to accomplish against a defense. I feed off of Patrick, as well. He's obviously been in it and played a lot of games in it. I kind of get his nuances and see where he puts his eyes and his placements to get certain routes open."
The Chiefs are off from practice on Tuesday before continuing camp on Wednesday.