The Kansas City Chiefs returned to practice on Wednesday following an off day on Tuesday as the final week of Training Camp came into focus at The University of Kansas Health System Training Complex.
Wednesday's practice kicked off a stretch of three-straight days in pads, and despite a hot August morning, there was a noticeable energy and intensity throughout the period as Kansas City prepared for the upcoming season.
In terms of who didn't take the field on Wednesday, offensive guard Kelechi Osemele (shoulder), defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi (ankle), defensive end Alex Okafor (calf), tight end Deon Yelder (groin), defensive end Mike Danna (calf), wide receiver Gehrig Dieter (groin), offensive lineman Yasir Durant (head), linebacker Emmanuel Smith (hamstring) and offensive lineman Martinas Rankin (knee) were all sidelined due to injuries.
Safety Armani Watts, defensive tackle Braxton Hoyett and wide receiver Maurice Ffrench all returned to practice while wide receiver Tyreek Hill (hamstring) did some individual work as he continues to make his way back to the field.
Head Coach Andy Reid provided a brief update on Hill following practice.
"Tyreek got some work today," Reid said. "He's heading in the right direction."
For what happened on the field, here are a few quick notes from Wednesday's practice:
- Tailback Clyde Edwards-Helaire caught a long touchdown pass down the sideline in team drills.
- Wide receiver Mecole Hardman had a strong practice with several catches throughout the period.
- The defense put together an impressive practice as a whole with several tipped passes and disruptive plays.
- The seamless connection between quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce was clicking throughout practice.
- Defensive end Frank Clark, safety Tyrann Mathieu, defensive tackle Chris Jones and linebacker Anthony Hitchens all contributed to a would-be safety during goal line drills.
Following practice, President Mark Donovan, Coach Reid, and offensive tackle Eric Fisher spoke with the media via web call.
Here are five things that stood out from their pressers.
1. Donovan began his media availability by speaking about the Chiefs' plan to host a limited number of fans at Arrowhead Stadium this season.
"We are very confident in our plan. We've said this numerous times, and we'll say it again, we will reiterate it – our plan is only as good as compliance. The following of directions, the following of protocol for our staff, our players, our coaches, and our fans, it's critical that everyone follows the protocols. If they do, we feel pretty confident that we can do this," Donovan said. "We're not alone. We are definitely in the minority when you look across the league. I think there are five or six teams that are going to go with tickets and fans in the stands for the first week. I know six to 10 are contemplating after Week 2 or 3 and then beyond. We take the responsibility very seriously…We understand that we've got to get this right and we've got to be very diligent in our processes and in our protocols in order to be successful – in order to have another game with fans. We know that other teams and other leagues are looking at us. I would also say we're not alone in sports, right? Last night, Sporting KC here in Kansas City hosted fans successfully, as far as I've heard. Other teams in other markets are hosting fans, so we're hopeful and we're confident in the plan. We appreciate all the support we've gotten from medical experts who helped us put that plan together."
2. Donovan also spoke about the Chiefs' voter registration efforts and what the organization is aiming to do in the months to come.
"We have some plans to do things in and around this election that are going to be focused on, No. 1, awareness of the importance of voting. No. 2, creating awareness of the ways people can register to vote, the ways people can engage and doing that through the experts in that space," Donovan said. "RISE to Vote is somebody the league is working with and somebody we are actively working with. They've met with us as an organization, they met with our players and they are going to meet with our staff [and] our stadium staff to make sure that everybody is aware of the opportunities they have to register to vote and to vote."
Donovan went on to explain an idea the organization hopes to act on moving forward.
"I think one of the most compelling things that we can do to address that directly is we've got a plan right now – which is not final, but I'll share it with you all that we're committed to doing it, but have some challenges – we want to make Arrowhead a polling location," Donovan said. "We want to create an opportunity for people to come to Arrowhead and vote, and in addition to that, with the awareness, you're going to see a lot of things around the highest points of awareness for us as an organization that are going to be focused on voting and the awareness of voting and ways to vote. One of the [things] that I personally [believe] - and that I think this organization believes is a platform we need to get behind - [is] the beauty of the vote. You can have different opinions. You can vote for different people, but vote, and that's really what we're trying to engage in."
3. Reid began his presser by addressing the shooting of Jacob Blake.
"I think you guys know I'm into team, I'm into peace and [I'm into] people getting along. So, right or wrong, we all need to join hands here and make this world a place where we can go to each other's neighborhoods and be comfortable, and that we appreciate life and how important it is - how hard it is to create life - something that really none of us are capable of doing in a test tube," Reid said. "So, it's a precious thing. It's complicated and it's precious. At this time, everyone needs to come together and join hands, like I said, and love each other for what we are, and the privilege that we have in this short period of time that we're on Earth - as opposed to walking in fear - to walk with strength and pride and make this country the greatest place ever, along with the world. We do that and we'll be a great example to the world. My heart goes out to Jacob and his family in that situation. I don't know the whole story, but I just hate seeing the way things are going right now. We're better than that - absolutely better than that. Like I said, [if] we respect each other, we're going to be in a great place."
4. In terms of what's occurring on the field, Reid spoke about his level of satisfaction with how camp has gone so far and what the plan is moving forward.
"Listen, I'm proud of the guys and how they're pushing through. They're doing it with a great attitude. We're getting better, and we need to keep going with this and finish camp strong. We have a great challenge [in Week 1] with the Texans, so we understand that, and we know how tough they are," Reid said. "So, we're still preparing for the season – we're not necessarily preparing for a team right this minute as far as plays go. We're still doing our Training Camp plays and working through those."
5. Lastly, Fisher spoke about the continuity the Chiefs possess on offense and how some of the new additions on the roster, including fellow offensive linemen Mike Remmers and Kelechi Osemele, are fitting in so far.
"The coolest thing is we have most of our guys back, and I think that gives us a step up on everybody…The majority of this team has been in this offense for quite a few years, so I'm pretty excited about that," Fisher said. "For these guys coming in [on the offensive line], they're catching on and they're veteran guys who have been in multiple systems. [Offensive Line] Coach [Andy] Heck is doing a great job getting them up to speed, and the guys we brought in have natural chemistry [with us]. There's either chemistry or there's not, and that's the nice thing about Mike and Kelechi, they're veteran guys who know how to do it. We're just rolling out there and it's good stuff."
The Chiefs return to practice on Thursday as they continue to prepare for the upcoming campaign.