ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — The rebuilt Chiefs’ offensive line gets its first test Saturday night in the preseason openers against the San Francisco 49ers, and Orland Brown Jr. is more eager than most to make his statement in his Kansas City debut.
“I’m just super excited to get out there and do my job to the best of my abilities,” Brown said after Tuesday’s practice. “It gives me an opportunity to showcase to the fans, to the organization and all my teammates, just kind of what they got and I’m super excited to get out there.”
Training camp normally serves as a tuneup for veteran players. This season Brown is working in a new position with a new offense and a new set of teammates while trying to help a Super Bowl contender create a new identity for its offensive line.
“We’re definitely gelling as a group, the five that have been up there for the past week or so,” Brown said. “From an identity standpoint, we just want to be tough. We want to be tough, we want to be consistent, we want to be physical and we want to fly to the ball.”
Two of the biggest challenges for an offensive lineman moving into a new system are learning the language of the offense and learning new techniques. When players put the pads on for the first time last week, Brown used the one-on-one pass blocking drills with defensive linemen to test his refined tactics.
“I really use that drill as an opportunity to just work on whatever I want to work on,” Brown said. “At the end of the day to me, I’m not necessarily approaching it to win. I’m approaching it to work on my technique that I’m set working on for that day, whether that be super aggressive with my feet, super aggressive with my hands, punching, stuff like that.”
Offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy is pleased with what he’s seen from Brown thus far.
“Orlando is doing a very good job,” Bieniemy said. “I know those guys are doing some things, learning some communication, but the thing that I’m impressed about is the mistakes that he does make, he doesn’t repeat them. That’s a great sign.”
While many things have changed around Brown entering his fourth season in the league, one thing remains the same. He’s still playing with the same chip on his shoulder that motivated him to succeed in Baltimore.
“I look forward to being able to get rid of that sigma of this guy can’t play left tackle in a pass-first offense,” Brown said.
The Chiefs took part in a 10-10-10 practice on Tuesday. That means 10 plays for the No. 1 offense testing what they’re working on against the No. 2 defense followed by 10 plays for the first-team defense with the second-team offense as a scout team. Those are usually followed by 10 minutes of special teams practice.
Monday’s padded practice with third-down situations and long-drive put the offensive in difficult positions, and Tuesday’s 10-10-10 session does the same for the defense, according to coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.
“That’s one of those 10-10-10 practices that are painful for a defensive coach because it’s hard to simulate a look,” Spagnuolo said. “It’s painful, I’m being honest with you. It’s tough on those young offensive guys, they don’t really know yet how to operate as a look squad.”
Tuesday’s 82-minute practice under cloudy skies and windy conditions brief rain shower served as largely a mock run-through for the offense without much for the defense. Special teams, however, may have been the most productive with Harrison Butker, Tommy Townsend and return specialists getting an opportunity to work in adverse conditions.
Notes and observations:
- The first-team offense was workmanlike in its three sessions, including a run-heavy final period.
- Despite Spagnuolo’s complaints of not much productivity for the defense, his squad did produce three turnovers at the expense of backup quarterback Anthony Gordon. Cornerback BoPete Keyes picked up his second interception in as many days while safety Devon Key also turned in a pick. Fellow safety Dan Sorensen added the third, which likely would have been a pick-six.
- Receivers Mecole Hardman and Darrius Shepherd have taken most of the looks at punt returner in camp but both cornerback Mike Hughes and receiver Byron Pringle took reps on Tuesday. Hughes, who averaged 7.3 yards per punt return the past two seasons with Minnesota, would be an intriguing option as a punt returner.
- Butker kicked into a fierce headwind on Tuesday with winds clocking in around 15 miles per hour including gusts up to 35 miles per hour. His range appeared at a maximum of 50 yards kicking into the wind, and he was perfect on six kicks inside 50, including two from 48 yards. His only miss came on a kick from 50-plus.
Right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif has been wearing a soft cast on his right hand, and on Tuesday the NFL Network reported he suffered a broken bone. The injury does not require surgery but the 30-year-old lineman could start the season on injured reserve.
The Chiefs otherwise reported no new injuries on Tuesday. Linebacker Willie Gay brought his helmet to practice for the first time since entering the league’s concussion protocol on Aug. 4 but he remained on the sidelines.
Running back Darrel Williams (knee) and offensive lineman Darryl Williams (COVID-19 reserve) both returned to practice. Defensive end Joshua Kaindoh (hamstring) also practiced after leaving workouts early on Monday.
Three other Chiefs remain working on the side while recovering from injuries: right tackle Mike Remmers (back), defensive end Alex Okafor (hamstring) and tight end Evan Baylis (ankle)
Wide receiver Antonio Callaway (bone bruise) was the only player absent from practice on Tuesday. Offensive lineman Kyle Long (leg) remains on the physically unable to perform list and defensive end Malik Herring (knee) is on the non-football injury list.
Training Camp Playlist
- “House Arrest Tingz” — YoungBoy Never Broke Again
- “Stripes Like Burberry” — Future and Lil Uzi Vert
- “Welcome to the Jungle” — Guns N’ Roses
- “Oath” — Hotboii
- “Before I Go” — Kodak Black (featuring Rod Wave)
100 percent, man. I don’t want to say that I’m a gamer or anything like that because I think that’s kind of weird. But I definitely approach games differently, I feel as though. It’s just a different switch once you get out there and the lights are on. It’s just a different feel. I feel like for some reason it’s a lot easier for me to let my emotions roll in agame-like situation.Chiefs LT Orlando Brown Jr. on whether he has a different switch for practice settings versus game day
The club has an off-day on Wednesday before returning for a planned padded practice starting at 9:15 a.m. Thursday. The club heads to San Francisco on Friday for their first preseason game at the 49ers kicking off at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. After another off-day on Sunday, the team returns to St. Joseph for the final three days of training camp starting Monday.
Tickets for most training camp practices are free but fans must reserve tickets online in advance.