ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — The No. 1 offense had a rocky day at times on Wednesday as some of the backups turned in strong performances as the Chiefs resume training camp following an off day.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes tossed two interceptions and had a third wiped away by a penalty. The team spent a lot of time on run situations with squad in full pads, and some of the contact was fierce.
Offensive play of the day: It wasn’t flashy but the training camp crowd loves it when fullback Anthony Sherman finds the end zone. The No. 1 offense moved into the red zone and Mahomes checked into a fullback screen, and Sherman wiggled his way in for the score.
Defensive play of the day: Rookie linebacker Raymond Davison got to etch his name one the list of defenders intercepting Mahomes. The quarterback admitted after practice he called the wrong play in the huddle and then made a bad play worse by forcing a throw. But Davison read the play well and made a clean catch and return of the interception.
Running back Kareem Hunt took to the field with the No. 1 offense during the padded practice, which should ease any concerns fans have about his hamstring injury. This was Hunt’s first extended time on the field during camp, but he took hits and made catches out of the backfield while showing no ill effects.
The first dozen plays of 11-on-11 work included a few notable substitutions. Cameron Erving started at left guard but Parker Ehinger swapped in and remained on the field with the No. 2 group. While Erving looks like the prohibitive favorite as the starter there, he’s also the likely No. 1 backup at every other offensive line position. If an injury occurs, even at tackle, expect Erving to go there and open the door for Ehinger at left guard.
Right now the No. 1 defense is rolling with Eric Berry and Daniel Sorenson as the starters with Eric Murray coming in as the dime safety. There’s a real logjam at the position, though, with Robert Golden and Leon McQuay running with the second team and Armani Watts also working into the rotation. Jordan Sterns has looked good too, but there’s a lot of players to climb past. Murray picked off a pass Wednesday when Chad Henne underthrew Marcus Kemp and the ball deflected off Kemp and the defender. Murray rallied to the plea to grab the loose ball.’
Padded practices means one-on-one work with receivers versus defensive backs, and some of the receivers turned in nice plays. Demarcus Robinson made an adjustment on a deep ball with cornerback Arrion Springs in good coverage. Robinson tracked the ball and come back to it in making the reception. Jordan Smallwood showed blazing speed getting past Robert Golden and hauling in a deep ball in stride.
The Chiefs next live period focused on the red zone, and head coach Andy Reid reached into his bag of tricks. Hunt lined up in the backfield with Tyreek Hill and, Mahomes wandered left motioning to a receiver. Hunt took the direct snap for no gain.
Iowa linebacker Ben Niemann received first-team reps behind Terrance Smith again on Wednesday. With Reggie Ragland and Ukeme Eligwe out with injuries, Niemann continues making the most of his opportunities. He tipped a Henne pass to stop one play. Newly signed inside linebacker Otha Peters (wearing No. 52) went through individual work but did not participate in team periods.
The offense moved to the goal line next, and that’s where Mahomes made a mistake he probably wouldn’t make it a game. He rolled right and appeared to have daylight to the end zone but instead fired a pass toward tight end Demetrius Harris. Safety Leon McQuay picked off the pass. Mahomes said after practice he chose not to run it in because he thought defensive players would give him static since that can’t hit him. Probable to believe Mahomes run it in during a regular season game.
The Chiefs kickoff team worked on onside kick situations with the new return rules. The kicking team cannot overload to one side nor have a running start. Special teams coordinator Dave Toub had kicker Harrison Butker testing different kickoff styles. The kick team nearly came up with a recovery on a line drive that struck up-man Dorian O’Daniel in the leg and squirted away. Butker also kicked a few knuckleballs that proved elusive to pick up. That might be an effective weapon deployed at the right moment.
All three offensive units turned in strong performances during seven-on-seven, bring us to the final live period of the day. Mahomes threw the interception to Davison on his first rotation. On his second rotation Mahomes found Hill on a corner route for a touchdown. On this final rotation, Mahomes had a free play and fired a quick pass to Hunt on a seam route. Hunt didn’t turn around in time and Golden picked off the pass, but the offsides penalty wiped it out.
On the next play Mahomes connected with Hill on a comeback route with Springs draped all over him. While it’s still not the speed and tenacity of a real game, Hill has looked strong during live padded work making contested catches with defenders on him.
David Amerson settling in
The Chiefs cornerbacks have had a promising camp thus far, including free agent addition David Amerson. He came to the Chiefs after stops with Washington and Oakland but so far feels comfortable with the club.
“I think every team is different, every coaching staffs different, every practice is different,” Amerson said. “It’s been an adjustment but it’s been good for me. I think I’ve adjusted well and I’m enjoying myself.”
One of those adjustments is getting use to Reid’s practices.
“I definitely think coach Reid is old school and the practices are a lot tougher,” Amerson said. “I definitely see how it prepares you for the game and how it’s been a winning program throughout the years.”
Another adjustment – facing off against Tyreek Hill when the No. 1 offenses and defenses clash.
“He’s definitely one of the elites in this league,” Amerson said. “I feel like it’s good for you. If you can run with a guy like that then you can run with anybody in the league. It definitely gets me better.”
Two Chiefs did not finish practice. Defensive lineman Derrick Nnadi left with elbow injury while wide receiver Marcus Kemp suffered a low ankle sprain. Kemp remained on the sideline lifting weights and riding a stationary bike and expects to make a quick recovery.
Linebackers Reggie Ragland (knee) and Ukeme Eligwe (foot), running back Charcandrick West (concussion), cornerback Keith Reaser (quad) and offensive lineman Dillon Gordon (undisclosed) did not practice on Wednesday.
Ragland remains on the non-football injury list while West is in the league’s concussion protocol.
Quote of the day
Offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy on the process of getting plays into Mahomes in the huddle:
“It’s been a good process. Obviously as a coach I’ve had a few hiccups too. I’m not perfect. I will say that. I always point that out to my guys, understanding that we’re human. But at the end of the day, we are all putting in the same time and energy. We want to make sure that we’re doing it the right way. If I screw it up, my job is to have Pat fix it. When Pat screws it up, it’s my job to help Pat fix it. We are working in cahoots together.”
The Chiefs practice at 8:15 a.m. on Wednesday for approximately two hours and 40 minutes. The team then takes a quick day off before game week begins leading up to the Aug. 9 preseason opener at Arrowhead Stadium against the Houston Texans.
The forecast calls for clear skies with temperatures near 70 at the start of practice and ranging up to 80 by the end of the morning’s workout.
Matt Derrick is the lead beat writer for ChiefsDigest.com. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @MattDerrick.