By Matt McMullen – Chiefs.com Reporter
The Kansas City Chiefs took the field for the third practice of training camp on Tuesday morning as the defending Super Bowl champions continued their preparation for the upcoming season.
Here’s a quick rundown of what took place during Tuesday’s practice, and for reference, Sunday’s practice report can be accessed below.
1. The Chiefs’ young defensive backs continued to impress.
Much has been made about how Kansas City’s young defenders feel significantly more comfortable entering this year’s camp when compared to last year, and the players have been backing it up on the field.
Cornerback Trent McDuffie, for example, made a tremendous, diving pass-breakup on a throw toward the sideline during an 11-on-11 period of Tuesday’s practice. Cornerback Joshua Williams also had a strong day, as he tallied an interception off a deflection deep down the field during 11-on-11 work.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes spoke about the Chiefs’ young defenders following practice.
“I talk to all of those guys a lot and [tell them], especially out here, I’m going to test you,” Mahomes said. “I’m going to try and see if I can get those throws in. I got one in yesterday, but today [McDuffie] got his hands on one and almost had an interception. [This is where] you test each other and how you can improve together.”
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) July 25, 2023
2. Wide receiver Kekoa Crawford made one of the plays of the day.
Perhaps the offensive play of the morning took place when Patrick Mahomes connected with Crawford, who made a leaping catch over the middle during an 11-on-11 portion of practice.
Crawford is the newest member of the team, as he signed with the Chiefs following a successful tryout at mandatory minicamp last month. The 25-year-old Crawford tallied 40 receptions for 513 yards at the University of California in 2021, including 14 catches of at least 15 yards. It was a strong finish to a collegiate career that began at the University of Michigan (2016-17) before ending at Cal (2019-21).
The speedy Crawford recorded a 4.42-second 40-yard dash at Cal’s pro day last offseason, and while he didn’t hear his name called during the 2022 NFL Draft, Crawford signed with the Indianapolis Colts shortly afterward as an undrafted free agent. He was later released the day before the Colts began training camp, however, and is still seeking his first game action as a professional.
Another offensive standout on Tuesday was wide receiver Skyy Moore, who had another busy day with several catches. Rookie wide receiver Rashee Rice also put together a strong day, as he hauled in an over-the-shoulder catch in the corner of the end zone during 7-on-7 drills.
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) July 25, 2023
3. Linebacker Drue Tranquill recorded pass-breakups on back-to-back snaps.
Tranquill put together an impressive practice on Tuesday that featured pass-breakups on back-to-back snaps during an 11-on-11 period. First, Tranquill successfully defended a short crossing route before making a leaping pass-breakup on a throw downfield just moments later.
The 27-year-old Tranquill, who is known for his coverage abilities, certainly demonstrated what he can do on Tuesday.
4. The running game was a focus point of Tuesday’s practice.
The Chiefs are currently in a “ramp up” portion of training camp, meaning that the time spent on the field has gradually increased each day. Additionally, Tuesday’s practice marked the first time that the players wore “shells” – or shoulder pads – as opposed to just shirts. That steady progression culminates on Friday, which will be the first padded practice of training camp.
It’s all to say that there are physical limitations in place during this first week of camp, but that didn’t hinder the Chiefs from working on the mental aspects of the running game on Tuesday. In fact, Head Coach Andy Reid devoted an entire 11-on-11 segment of Tuesday’s practice to it, and while no live contact was permitted, it provided the players on both sides with an opportunity to work on their footwork, leverage and recognition.
“I think it’s about just gearing yourself up. Obviously, to me, it’s a lot different with the pads on, but you’re just gearing yourself up,” said defensive lineman Charles Omenihu. “For me, from a mental [standpoint], it’s about understanding what blocks I can get, understanding the formations I can get, and playing fast.”
5. Here’s a look at Tuesday’s injury report.
Wide receiver Kadarius Toney (knee) and defensive tackle Tershawn Wharton (knee) did not participate in Tuesday’s practice. Rookie linebacker Isaiah Moore left early due to knee inflammation.
In regard to Toney, Coach Reid provided an update following practice:
“Kadarius had surgery on his knee this morning for a cartilage [issue], and it should be relatively quick as we go here,” Reid said. “There’s a chance [that he will be back] for the first game, but we’ll just have to see how the recovery goes. He is bound and determined to be there for the first game, so we’ll see how it goes.”
The Chiefs will take the field for the fourth practice of training camp on Wednesday morning. For a look at the training camp schedule or for more information on how to reserve free tickets, click here.