The Kansas City Chiefs were back at it for the third day of training camp on Monday morning and - for the first time since narrowly falling in the AFC Championship Game last January - the players hit the field in pads.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes impressed yet again during the practice period, highlighted by a 60-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Tyreek Hill, while second-year defensive back D’Montre Wade hauled in his second interception of camp.
For more analysis of what all occurred, check out BJ Kissel’s Five Observations video below.
And here’s a look at the injury report per Head Coach Andy Reid following practice:
Reid went on to add that Reaser may have suffered a torn Achilles tendon and will undergo further evaluation.
In addition to Reid, wide receiver Sammy Watkins and linebacker Frank Clark each spoke with the media after practice finished up. Here are five things that stood out from all three pressers.
1. Reid began by discussing the Chiefs’ first padded-practice of camp and how he felt about the team’s performance.
“The guys worked their tails off. I appreciated their effort. Got a lot of reps in. I thought the guys worked hard and challenged each other. If we keep that pace up and keep sharpening up with the plays, on both sides, we'll be better,” Reid said. “It's not going to be perfect the first day in any of the three phases, but with that effort and the mindset that they have, we'll be OK. They'll keep working it.”
2. Reid also spoke about how he and his staff evaluate the non-starters on the roster in preparation for a long season.
"Depth is important in the National Football League, especially with the way we approach it where somebody could get hurt and it's next man up and we have to go,” Reid said. “How you practice and how you go about your business is huge. Those guys do it. They work, they come out and work. [Quarterback] Chad [Henne] is a complete pro and he's great for the room. He's also great for the [second team] so that they can continue to grow as players. Again, he brings energy with him. All of them do that. Those guys work hard."
Seemingly every year, camp yields impact players who make a difference at some point during the season. Offensive guard Andrew Wylie, for example, earned a spot on the roster during camp last August and went on to earn Chiefs’ Mack Lee Hill honors, which serves as the team’s Rookie of the Year Award.
The opportunity is there for another player to make his mark, and it begins with camp.
3. Clark, meanwhile, talked about the growth of Kansas City’s defense under new Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.
“I’m not going to lie, Spags is a legendary coach. You know he came in and he threw everything at us in the spring. He put the whole script out there and put it into our hands as players and [asked us] to really invest our time into learning this playbook,” Clark explained. “You know you look down at his [path] of him coaching with Coach Reid, him coaching in Philly and him coaching the New York Giants defense. He’s just a great coach, and it’s no mystery that when guys really adapt to his calling and what he is saying, we fall in line with the success we can have.”
Clark is entering his first year with Kansas City after coming over in an offseason trade with the Seattle Seahawks, where the four-year veteran established himself as one of the top edge-rushers in the NFL. In fact, Clark is one of just seven players to tally at least nine sacks in each of the last three seasons and his 13.0 sacks in 2018 ranked 10th in the league.
The guy can get after the passer, and under Spagnuolo’s leadership, he’s looking to bring a similar tenacity to Kansas City’s defense this upcoming season.
4. On the other side of the ball, Watkins expressed his excitement over hitting the field in pads for the first time this summer.
Watkins is headed into his second season with the Chiefs after hauling in 40 catches for 519 yards and three touchdowns over the course of 10 games in 2018. A nagging foot injury cost the veteran wide receiver the latter portion of last year, but now fully healthy, Watkins is understandably excited to be back on the field.
“It felt great just to be on the field and then throw the pads on,” Watkins said. “I feel better than I did yesterday, catching a couple of balls and just really running around and having fun. I think that’s the biggest part about it.”
Watkins is part of a crowded – but talented – group of wide receivers at camp that includes fellow pass-catchers Jamal Custis, Felton Davis, Rashard Davis, Gehrig Dieter, Davon Grayson, Mecole Hardman, Tyreek Hill, Marcus Kemp, Byron Pringle, Demarcus Robinson and Cody Thompson.
And while it’s only Day 3, Watkins is already impressed with the entire group.
“I’m pretty sure it’s going to be hard on the coaches. We have 13 guys, and literally, I think all these guys that are in the group have a chance to go out there and play,” Watkins said. “It’s a great group, it’s competitive and I wish the best for the guys that don’t make the team and go somewhere else.”
It remains to be seen how many receivers the Chiefs will carry into the season, but an abundance of capable receivers is certainly a good problem to have.
5. Speaking of those other receivers, Watkins explained that he’s taking on more of a leadership role this season as he enters his second campaign with the Chiefs.
In fact, Watkins specifically mentioned Hardman – who the Chiefs selected in the second-round of the 2019 Draft – as a guy he’s trying to take under his wing.
“I think [trying to be a leader] just helps me be myself and express myself more. Mecole is a guy that I’m trying to help out and the other guys,” Watkins said. “I think it helps me be that leader because I can’t be talking to him and then go mess up, so I think it’s a good thing.”
Watkins, Hardman and the rest of the roster will return to the field on Tuesday as the Chiefs prepare to chase down Super Bowl aspirations in 2019.
For a look at the full training camp schedule, click here.