The Chiefs are in the full swing of the offseason and are conducting mini-camp practice this week. Find out about what’s going on as the Chiefs get ready to tackle 2022.
There’s nothing like blowing off work to spend the morning and afternoon watching the Kansas City Chiefs go through mini camp. I was fortunate enough to get a ticket through a friend to the practice which was at the Chiefs facility on the southwest side of Arrowhead Stadium. It was a great time, and very fun to get to see a glimpse of what the 2022 team will look like. Of course, with this being an unpadded mini-camp practice the big boys and hard hitters were limited in what they could do, but there were some good glimpses of different formations, personnel groupings, and of course getting to watch Patrick Mahomes deliver the ball to his teammates. Below is the Twitter thread with the notes I took while watching practice. Phones were not allowed out during the event, but I had a pad of paper and a pen.
For most of the offseason, I have seen many people discount Pacheco as just a late-round pick who may not even make the roster. After doing my film analysis on him disagreed with most of those comments, but seeing him as the number one kick returner and working so much with the one offense was encouraging for his prospects to not only make the team but also find playing time.
The linebackers did their individual drill work right up close to where I was standing so I got the best view of them. Leo Chenal is a huge human, and his triple extension and athletic ability were on display. Nick Bolton and Willie Gay were crisp and clean. This should be a big year for both of them. In the matter of one offseason, this weakness has become a strength.
The offensive line looked odd without Orlando Brown, but Roderick Johnson appeared to have the offense down while he was out there. Wylie got the nod over rookie Darian Kinnard, and Lucas Niang was present but did not participate.
George Karlaftis was going hard and had a good battle going with Wylie all day. Can’t wait to see how that plays out when the pads come on up in St.Joe.
With Jerrick McKinnon back in town, the running back room got more crowded, but the competition seems to have elevated the mood of Clyde Edwards-Helaire and his play. Upbeat all day it looks like he’s taken on a leadership role within the team, and I noticed him talking to the younger backs throughout practice. He also leads some laps for conditioning purposes. On the field, he was utilized in the passing game, and while he did have one drop he seemed to be moving quicker than last season.
Patrick Mahomes will need to utilize the size of his pass catchers this year. With Jody Fortson back healthy and Marquez Valdes-Scantling in the mix, there will be some massive catch radiuses on the field
It’s hard to evaluate defensive players and offensive linemen this time of year, but seeing big guys move effortlessly in 90-degree heat, and rookie safeties constantly around the football is a good sign for the future.
Moore has been dealing with some hamstring issues this offseason and missed time during OTA’s. My guess is he is still recovering and will need some more time to adjust to the speed of the pro game.
The defensive end room is not exactly full of experience right now. Clark has been reported to be out of practice awaiting the birth of his child but the unit is bare right now. I also made an error, Malik Herring did not practice today. I believe it was Tershawn Wharton who moved out to the edge for a few plays. They have similar builds and play a similar brand of football.
Noah Gray looked more rocked up than last year, and it’s clear a year of NFL strength and development has done him well. A willing blocker he will need to show more consistency this season, but he was heavily involved with the first-team offense.
Andy Reid spoke to the fans briefly after practice and displayed his gratitude for everyone in attendance saying “When Arrowhead is rocking there was nothing like it”.
This season will be some of his best work yet. Three of the offensive formations the Chiefs ran stood out to me in particular for both their creativity and how they utilized the new players.
The Chiefs will still have plenty of speed, but now they add size and catch radius. Valdes-Scantling and Jody on the same side of the field will cause issues, especially with Kelce in the mix. It almost makes me think that after a few years of watching Mike Williams and the L.A. Chargers use their size and length to take advantage of the Chiefs that Andy Reid and Brett Veach decided that they wanted some tall wide receivers as well.
All in all a tremendous practice and a tremendous day. Mahomes, Kelce, and Clyde seem to be the leaders of the offense, while Nick Bolton, Chris Jones, and Justin Reid lead the defense. This practice was concise, and to the point, and everyone was engaged and competing. This season could be shaping up for a lot of fun and I can’t wait to make it up to St.Joe and do some more reporting on how the team looks.