By Matt McMullen – Chiefs.com Reporter
The Kansas City Chiefs hit the field for the first full practice of training camp on Sunday morning as the reigning Super Bowl champions took another step toward the upcoming season.
These early practices are not padded and there is no “live contact” allowed, but the team can still get plenty of work done, particularly in the passing game. Specifically, these first few days are all about seeing how well each player retained the information taught to them during the offseason training program.
“It was great to get everybody back here and working,” said Head Coach Andy Reid. “They were out here competing. The offense had some good snaps, and the defense had some good snaps. It went back and forth, and there was great energy. For this type of a camp without pads on, that’s a great thing.”
With all of that in mind, here are some quick notes from Sunday’s practice.
1. The fans showed up in droves for the first day of camp.
Thousands of fans flocked to Missouri Western State University on Sunday morning as individuals from all over the region took advantage of their first opportunity to see the defending Super Bowl champions in person.
“It’s so exciting, and it’s something that I think really benefits the team – particularly the players – by having the fans out here. It adds a level of energy to the practices, and you don’t get that [otherwise],” said Chiefs Chairman & CEO Clark Hunt. “It’s a very different environment [when compared to offseason practices]. I think we’re expecting maybe record crowds this year, [which is] certainly [justified] coming off the Super Bowl win. So, it’s great to be here and it’s great to share this with our amazing fan base.”
This marked the first of 17 training camp practices open to the general public this summer. The majority of practices are free to attend, but tickets are still required. For a look at the training camp schedule or for more information on how to reserve free tickets, click here.
2. The offense began practice with a bang.
The fans in attendance on Sunday didn’t have to wait long for a big play, as quarterback Patrick Mahomes connected with wide receiver Skyy Moore for a pass deep down the sideline on the first play of 7-on-7 drills. Mahomes then found tight end Jody Fortson and wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling on successive plays to begin the session with three consecutive completions.
Another standout from the 7-on-7 period was rookie tailback Deneric Prince, who tallied multiple receptions during the session. Prince caught a pass near the sideline on a wheel route, a pass over the middle and another pass deep down the sideline a bit later. It was a strong first day for a player who generated considerable buzz throughout the offseason training program.
Defensively, cornerback Trent McDuffie recorded an impressive pass-breakup in a 1-on-1 situation deep down the sideline during the 7-on-7 period. Linebacker Willie Gay also tallied a noteworthy defensive play with a pass-breakup in the end zone.
3. Patrick Mahomes and wide receiver Rashee Rice combined for one of the plays of the day.
A highlight of the morning took place during the 7-on-7 red zone period when Mahomes zipped a sidearm throw to Rice, who hauled in the grab for a touchdown in the corner of the end zone.
It was a terrific throw by Mahomes and a great job by Rice to finish the play with a score. This was only the first full day of camp, but Rice’s growth within the Chiefs’ offense will certainly be something to watch in the weeks to come.
4. Veteran wide receiver Richie James put together a strong first day.
James, who joined the Chiefs following a breakout season with the New York Giants in 2022, certainly made a good impression during Sunday’s practice. First, James made a solid catch on an intermediate route over the middle during an 11-on-11 period. Then, a bit later, James hauled in a quick reception during an 11-on-11 red zone period before juking out multiple defenders on his way to the end zone.
James’ shiftiness is undoubtedly one of his best skills, and it was on full display during Sunday’s practice.
5. Coach Reid provided a quick injury update following practice.
Coach Reid reported that wide receiver Kadarius Toney left practice early because he “tweaked his knee.” His status will be something to monitor in the days to come, as Reid added that they’ll “just have to see how he does as we go forward.”
Rookie offensive tackle Wanya Morris (hamstring strain) and defensive tackle Tershawn Wharton also didn’t participate on Sunday due to injuries. Wharton remains on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, but Reid said that he expects Morris to return “fairly quickly.”
The Chiefs will take the field for the second full practice of training camp on Monday morning, which marks the first of two exclusive Season Ticket Member days. The next practice open to the general public will be on Tuesday morning.