The Kansas City Chiefs took the field in pads for the second-straight day on Saturday as Training Camp kicked into high-gear at the team facility.
Tight end Travis Kelce made several impressive catches – including a touchdown grab – while safety Tyrann Mathieu recorded a pass-breakup at the goal line and quarterback Patrick Mahomes made a remarkable throw on the run for the second-straight day.
In terms of the players who didn't participate in either all or some of Saturday's practice, cornerback Alex Brown (knee), cornerback Antonio Hamilton (groin), defensive tackle Chris Jones (groin), wide receiver Byron Pringle (hamstring) and cornerback Lavert Hill (hamstring) were all new additions to the injury report.
In addition to those players, linebacker Darius Harris (personal reasons), cornerback BoPete Keyes (orbital fracture), offensive lineman Martinas Rankin (knee), safety Juan Thornhill (knee), tight end Deon Yelder (groin) and defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi also didn't participate in Saturday's practice as they continue to work their way back to the field.
Following practice, Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy, wide receiver Tyreek Hill, guard Andrew Wylie and defensive end Alex Okafor spoke with the media to provide an update on the Chiefs' preparation for the 2020 campaign.
Here are five takeaways from their pressers.
1. Bieniemy was asked about rookie tailback Clyde Edwards-Helaire and how the first-round pick is progressing in practice.
"I will say this, the kid has a great look about himself. He works hard and he takes a tremendous amount of pride in everything that he does," Bieniemy said. "He's in there with a great group – [Running Backs Coach] Deland [McCullough] is doing a hell of a job of getting those guys going. You know what, it's just a day-to-day deal – it's play-by-play - and we just want to make sure that he's absorbing all the information so that he can go out and process it and make it happen. Right now, so far, so good."
The Chiefs selected Edwards-Helaire – who racked up 1,414 rushing yards and a SEC-leading 16 touchdowns last season for LSU – with the No. 32 overall pick in the Draft, and with fellow tailback Damien Williams opting out of the 2020 campaign due to COVID-19, Edwards-Helaire will likely see plenty of action through his first year as a professional.
2. Bieniemy also gave an update on the Chiefs' overall preparation for this upcoming season and how the lack of preseason games this year affects that process.
"With there not being any preseason games, I will say this, the process is right where it needs to be. This is just like a college setting…We're just mentally and physically getting our guys ready to make sure that they are good to go on Day 1," Bieniemy said. "Now, the beauty of everything is that we've had time throughout the offseason to have a lot of Zoom meetings with our guys. Then, as we started Training Camp with all the walkthrough work - yeah, we would have wanted to go and play fast and do all that - but we've given our guys an opportunity to absorb a lot of information. In fact, we may be behind physically - because we physically just haven't had the groundwork to do - but mentally, our guys are doing a heck of a job. Now, would you love to have an opportunity to see these rookies play in a preseason game? Yes, we would, and it's unfortunate that we're living in this circumstance, but we're going to make the most of this opportunity that's being presented. We're just going to continue to chop wood every single day."
3. Hill, meanwhile, explained how he's looking to continue growing and preparing as both a pass-catcher within the offense and a leader on the field throughout camp.
"As far as timing [with Mahomes goes], I feel like that will come. That's just reps over time. That's why we're here in Training Camp, it's to get those reps, get in those situations and have those big moments, [and I feel like all of] that will come with time," Hill said. "As far as leadership, I feel like if I go out there every play and push myself and I become more of a vocal leader for those younger guys, they'll see that. [They'll say], 'Hey, this guy is the fastest guy in the NFL, [but] he works hard, so I want to be able to come into this offense and do the same thing.' That applies to the classroom, too. When we're watching one-on-ones, I'm helping them and telling them what I think they could have done better [depending on the] situation. I want everyone to be better because my job isn't secured. I come out here every day [and] I try to be that leader for everyone, because I feel like our group makes this offense go."
Hill has established himself as one of the top wide receivers in all of football as he enters his fifth season in the league. In fact, since the beginning of the 2017 season, Hill ranks third in the NFL in receiving touchdowns (26) and seventh in yards (3,522) while hauling in a league-leading 12 scores that covered 50 or more yards.
4. Elsewhere on offense, Wylie spoke about his personal goals heading into this season.
"My main goal is to play a full season and make it all the way through the playoffs," Wylie said. "We have some really great competition this year, [so the guys we have on] the interior offensive line make it really motivating, too."
The Chiefs are without both starting guards from Super Bowl LIV, as right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif opted out of the season to continue fighting COVID-19 back in Canada and left guard Stefen Wisniewski signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the offseason. That means both spots are up for grabs as Wylie, the newly-signed Kelechi Osemele and veteran Mike Remmers, among others, look to earn those roles.
5. Lastly, Okafor explained why he believes the Chiefs' defense can carry its positive momentum from the end of last season into 2020.
Okafor began to play his best football down the stretch last season, tallying five sacks in his final seven games before an injury ended his campaign early. Now ready to go for the upcoming season, he thinks he and the rest of the defense can pick up right where they left off.
"I think a lot of it has to do with just learning and developing in the scheme. Whenever you teach and install a scheme, there are a bunch of X's and O's [at the beginning]. Everybody just memorizes that blackboard way of doing it. Whenever you take that next step as a defense, you learn the caveats [of it]," Okafor said. "You learn what this defense is susceptible to and the proper technique within this scheme, and I think that's what we started to do down the line. It wasn't just about X's and O's. It was about that at the beginning, but as we kept going down the line, I think we all really learned how to work within the scheme…There's no reason for us not to take that next step, and I think we're all on the same page in thinking that."
The Chiefs return to practice on Sunday for a third-straight day in pads as they continue to prepare for the upcoming season.