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Isiah Pacheco Doing ‘Very Well’ Despite Chiefs Taking Things Slow at Camp

Even with being held back in Chiefs training camp practice, Pacheco is progressing just fine.

The Kansas City Chiefs have a preseason game on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints and while head coach Andy Reid hasn't yet formulated the team's plan for reps being divvied up, second-year running back Isiah Pacheco is expected to be inactive.

Pacheco, who burst onto the scene as a rookie in 2022, has spent a good chunk of the offseason recovering from hand and shoulder injuries. James Palmer of NFL Network reported last week that the hand is "good" but the shoulder isn't, and he listed Aug. 20 as a potential deadline for Pacheco to be cleared for contact. 

Currently sporting a yellow non-contact jersey during training camp practices, Pacheco's workload is limited until he's given the OK from doctors to move on to the presumed final step of his rehab. Following Monday's practice, Reid praised his 24-year-old halfback for the work he's managed to put in thus far.

“He’s done very well," Reid said. "We’re doing everything we can to hold back on him. To tell him to go slow is a hard thing so he’s just got to have patience and he doesn't have a lot of that. He’s doing great, he’s doing great. We just have to see as it goes on here with the contact part but he’s getting good work in without that.”

Coming out of Rutgers, Pacheco's draft profile featured some commonly shared thoughts regarding his inconsistent patience as a runner. With that said, many also applauded him for his tough attitude and constant willingness to fight for extra yards. He plays a physically demanding style of football — one that requires a high level of energy at all times. Pacheco admitted that it's tough for him to be held back in practice, although he's also finding new value in mental repetitions while he's physically restricted for a bit longer.

“It’s very frustrating," Pacheco said. "But when you’re on the side and getting those mental reps, you’re just detailing and getting those reps in the back – asking Coach (Reid), ‘What’s this play?’ Doing those mental reps and in the back, it allows me to stay on top of my task.”

In his first year as a pro, Pacheco played in all 17 regular-season games for Kansas City. Getting just 31% of the team's available offensive snaps, he carried the ball 170 times for 830 yards (4.9 yards per rush) and had five touchdowns. With Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jerick McKinnon serving as veteran depth behind him and undrafted free agent pickup Deneric Prince being a possible candidate for a roster spot, Pacheco is expected to lead the Chiefs' running back room once again in 2023. The injuries don't change that. 

Even as the team continues to take things slow with Pacheco's rehab plan and eventual clearance for contact, he doesn't feel like his overall progress is coming along at the same slow pace. He believes the game is slowing down from year one to year two, which is good news for the Chiefs while they wait. 

“It’s slowed down a lot," Pacheco said. "Obviously, I trust myself and I trust the scheme, the quarterback and the coaches. For me it’s just like I said before, finding the little things that I got to get better at. Like I said, I got high standards and I’m unsatisfied.”

Read More: Andy Reid Reacts to Charles Omenihu’s Suspension