The Kansas City Chiefs took the field in pads for the second-straight day on Thursday as Training Camp continued at The University of Kansas Health System Training Complex.
In terms of who didn't take the field, wide receiver Sammy Watkins (groin), defensive end Frank Clark (illness), defensive tackle Chris Jones (groin), offensive tackle Eric Fisher (concussion), tight end Ricky Seals-Jones (leg), tight end Deon Yelder (groin), offensive lineman Martinas Rankin (knee) and cornerback Lavert Hill (hamstring) were all sidelined due to various injuries.
Additionally, wide receiver Tyreek Hill (hamstring) and defensive end Alex Okafor (calf) left practice early with injuries.
Lastly, safety Juan Thornhill (knee), wide receiver Byron Pringle (hamstring) and defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi (ankle) all practiced in a limited capacity as they continued to work their way back to the field. Cornerback Antonio Hamilton, who has been practicing in a limited capacity with a groin injury, returned to team drills on Thursday.
For what happened on the field, here are a few quick notes about Thursday's practice:
- Rookie defensive back L'Jarius Sneed made an impressive play on a deep pass down the field early in practice. He followed that up with a couple of nice pass-breakups in 7-on-7 drills.
- Tight ends Nick Keizer and Daniel Helm each found the end zone during practice. Helm, who the Chiefs claimed off of waivers from San Francisco earlier this week, made a leaping scoring grab during team drills. Keizer later scored in a 7-on-7 period. Both players are getting an extended look with fellow tight ends Ricky Seals-Jones and Deon Yelder currently sidelined with injuries.
- Safety Daniel Sorensen made a diving interception during team drills.
- Wide receiver Jody Fortson continued his strong camp with a couple of impressive grabs. The six-foot-six Fortson used his length to catch a touchdown during 7-on-7 drills and later made a great catch down the sideline during a team period.
- Linebacker Damien Wilson tallied a pass-breakup at the goal line during 7-on-7 drills.
- Wide receiver Gehrig Dieter had another productive day with several catches throughout practice.
Following practice, Assistant Head Coach / Special Teams Coordinator Dave Toub, Tight Ends Coach Tom Melvin, Offensive Line Coach Andy Heck, Run Game Coordinator / Defensive Line Coach Brendan Daly and Running Backs Coach Deland McCullough spoke with the media via web call.
Here are five things that stood out from their pressers.
1. Toub kicked things off by discussing the progress of rookie punter Tommy Townsend so far in camp.
"We originally saw Tommy at the Combine, and I felt like he was the best punter there. We had a draftable grade on him, and obviously he wasn't drafted, so he was a guy that we went after really strong and those guys did a great job of being able to get him in our building," Toub said. "I'm really happy with his performance so far. He's done a great job. He's really consistent. He really bombs the ball. He gets the ball off quick and he's athletic. He's everything you're looking for."
Toub also spoke about Townsend's ability as a holder on field goals and how he has been handling that responsibility in practice.
"I talked about how strong he is and how athletic he is, but I'll tell you what, he's doing a great job with his hands. He has very soft hands and he's a natural catcher. It has been so smooth. It's a credit to those guys because they worked hard. During the offseason, they worked together and they did stuff on their own and they came in here at a high level. They didn't come in here just starting out, so it's a credit to Tommy, it's a credit to [kicker Harrison] Butker and to how much work they did during the offseason to get to this point."
2. Melvin was asked about Keizer and how he's looked with more of an opportunity in camp lately due to injuries at the tight end position.
"He has done a great job with [getting a lot of reps]. He was with us a year ago, so for him, it's basically just putting data in his hard drive by getting more reps. He's doing a great job with it," Melvin said. "He's much better in the passing game and down the field. He's pretty good on the end of the line of scrimmage. We're really happy with the amount of experience that he's getting now, especially with the [first team] to run against a No. 1 defense."
3. Heck spoke about veteran guard Kelechi Osemele, who joined the Chiefs prior to camp as a free agent.
"I'm really impressed. I've been a big fan of his just watching him play. He's a very physical football player," Heck said. "As I mentioned earlier, he's a guy who loves the game. It's obvious to everyone who watches him. That's infectious and it's great for our group. He's fitting in terrifically."
Osemele is heading into his ninth season as a professional and was a Pro Bowl selection with the Oakland Raiders as recently as 2017.
4. Daly explained how defensive lineman Breeland Speaks has looked in camp after missing all of last season with a knee injury and what his vision for the former second-round pick is moving forward.
"I would say we're working through that. Breeland did a tremendous job in terms of working through the offseason - he got himself into great physical shape. I have to give him a lot of credit for what he did and the work that he put in, and we'll see," Daly said. "As you guys know, he's played defensive tackle, he's played outside linebacker and he's played defensive end. We're going to evaluate guys and their skillset and when they prove they're capable of doing things well, our job as coaches is to put them in positions to do those things. The things they don't do as well, good coaching would tell you, 'Ok let's minimize the number of times we ask them to do that,' so with Breeland specifically, he's worked at a number of different spots here…We've [only had a handful of days] in pads, but I wouldn't say that sample size is big enough to make defining positions and roles and things of that nature yet. We're still looking through that, and he's done a nice job with the things we've asked him to do. We'll see where it continues to go."
Speaks, who the Chiefs selected with the No. 46 overall pick back in 2018, last saw the field in the 2018 AFC Championship Game.
5. Lastly, McCullough shared what he has seen out of rookie tailback Clyde Edwards-Helaire through the first several weeks of camp.
"What I'm seeing is someone who is extremely hard working. He's very hard on himself, and that can be good and bad. He's somebody who is a perfectionist and who wants to have perfect practices. You know, it would be nice to say you're going to have those, but you're not going to have those all the time, so you need to be able to take the good with the bad - but more in his case – [take] the bad and move forward," McCullough said. "That's something we're really working with him on. You just have to play to the next play, but I'm very impressed with his demeanor, his approach to the game and the things he does on the field. He will correct himself even if there's something that goes off the rails. He'll come off and say, 'Man, I was supposed to run this, or I should've looked the other way.' He's somebody who's constantly self-checking himself."
The Chiefs return to practice on Friday for yet another day of pads as they continue to prepare for the upcoming campaign.