Camp notebook: Patrick Mahomes gunslinging highlights training camp practice
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- Tempers flared near the end of Monday's practice, and that may be the surest sign that training camp is coming to a close.
The skirmish appeared to start when offensive lineman blocked defensive lineman Jarvis Jenkins at the end of a run play. Several Chiefs defenders took exception, which Chris Jones and Justin Houston appearing to have words with Wylie. After everyone cooled down, quarterback Patrick Mahomes gave a pat on the helmet to Houston and Wylie and returned to action.
Mahomes also had quite the day on Monday, showing every indication of heating up his arm as the team prepares for its second preseason game Friday night at the Atlanta Falcons.
Offensive play of the day: Mahomes showcased throws from a couple of different platforms on Monday, but the winner came courtesy of his two-minute drill throw to Tyreek Hill. Mahomes scrambled to his right to extend the play, then fired across his body over the middle to Hill on a dime. That's the kind of play that few quarterbacks can make. If Mahomes becomes a star quarterback, that's the type of throw that could become his signature.
Defensive play of the day: Tight end Alex Ellis caught a Chase Litton pass, but safety Eric Murray arrived and forced a fumble. Fellow safety Leon McQuay scooped up the loose ball and headed for a score.
The Chiefs defense started out with a twist, adding edge rusher Breeland Speaks for an defensive lineman and rushing the quarterback with Dee Ford off the left side, Speaks on the right and Justin Houston over the middle. Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton has pulled out this look several times during camp. It remains to be seen if it's a staple of the defense or just an experiment.
Anthony Hitchens and Reggie Ragland worked together more on the inside. Ragland appears fully recovered from his swollen knee episode workload inside. Hitchens continues to share reps with Terrance Smith as he returns from a hamstring injury.
Mahomes started the day well, dealing 4-of-5 passing on his first rotation. Chad Henne took the field with Demarcus Robinson, Marcus Kemp and De'Anthony Thomas at receiver, Tim Wright at tight end and rookie Darrel Williams in the backfield. Robinson is all but etched in ink as the No. 4 receiver. Kemp increasingly looks like the No. 5 receiver by virtue of his camp improvement at receiver and his special teams value.
The Chiefs might carry six receivers, and that final spot remains up for grabs. Thomas took reps with the second-team Monday. Gehrig Dieter and Byron Pringle have also received snaps with the No. 2 offense. Jehu Chesson is a curious case, as his offensive reps have increasingly been on the third team.
Kemp has had a great run the last three days making one spectacular catch after another. One of those came on Monday during the two-minute drill. Mahomes scramble to his right and fired a high pass in the direction of Kemp with Kendall Fuller in coverage. Kemp high-pointed the ball perfectly and hauled in the catch for a big gain. He appears increasingly comfortable using his 6-foot-4 frame and long arms in establishing a wide catch radius.
The Chiefs practiced one of their emergency drills during the two-minute period. This involved the backup field goal team lining up for an extra point. Travis Kelce delivered the snap to a hold from Chris Conley and a kick from Dustin Colquitt. The first try went terrible awry, with Colquitt skulling a wicked line drive well right of the goal post. He converted the next two, however, with both the snap and hold showing improvement.
Leon McQuay, returning from a hamstring injury, took on a greater role as practice progressed. While Eric Murray and rookie Armani Watts started at safeties on the first team session, McQuay later replaced Watts and playing alongside Murray. Head coach Eric Reid praised McQuay for his play prior to his injury.
Kpassagnon finding his groove
When the Chiefs moved up in drafting edge rusher Breeland Speaks in the second round of this year's draft, the decision prompted many questions about the role of Tanoh Kpassagnon, last year's second-pick.
Kpassagnon's rookie season proved largely a wash, with the team changing course and moving him from defensive end to outside linebacker during training camp. This year's camp has been competely different for the 24-year-old from Villanova.
“I am way more comfortable than last year,” Kpassagnon said. “Just seeing the playbook again and going over the calls and being in the meeting room. Last year, when I was spending three extra hours trying to study, now I am just 15 minutes here, 20 minutes there and it is just getting that information in my head. It is a lot easier this year.”
Kpassagnon looked quick in the team's first preseason game against the Texans, picking up a quarterback hit and nearly landing a sack. Playing with greater quickness is a priority for him this year.
“If you play fast, it fixes a lot of things,” Kpassagnon said. “I have learned that over time. One of my goals was to play fast and play hard and everything else will come.”
Kpassagnon has also added moves to his pass-rush repertoire from his teammates and coaches.
“Justin has been giving me wisdom since last year, Tamba (Hali) was here last year giving me a lot of little tricks they have learned over time,” Kpassagnon said. “Honestly, it is everyone in the room. Coach Mike (Smith) and even our rookies. I am learning stuff from them because they do some things where I am like, ‘Wow, how did you do that? I should be able to do that.’ It is awesome.”
The Chiefs officially confirmed that offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif suffered a concussion on Sunday. He did not attend practice Monday and is the league's concussion protocol. There is no timetable for his return.
Safety Eric Berry also missed practice with a sore heel. Running back Damien Williams watched practice from the sidelines after injuring his shoulder Sunday. A team spokesperson confirmed it's the same shoulder on which Williams had surgery for a separation during the offseason. But the injury is affecting a different area of the shoulder and is a distinct injury from the separation.
Offensive linemen Jimmy Murray (knee) and Alex Officer (knee) and safety Daniel Sorensen also sat out practice.
Several players who missed practice on Sunday returned for Monday's workout. That includes defensive tackle Xavier Williams, who left practice Sunday with a stinger. Also returning were safety Leon McQuay (hamstring) and cornerbacks Keith Reaser (quad) and Makinton Dorleant (hamstring). Running back Charcandrick West (concussion) was a partial participant.
Quote of the day
Linebacker Anthony Hitchens when asked about fellow linebacker Reggie Ragland calling him a mentor:
“I respect that he said something like that because that’s what I’m trying to do here, be a leader in the locker room to not only the linebackers but the whole team and the defense. The first part of that is learning your job and learning everybody else’s job so you can help others out. I’m glad he speaks that highly of me being a leader and all I’ve got to do is keep showing up and being that leader.”
Tuesday's final training camp practice starts at 9:15 a.m. and should last approximately one hour and 40 minutes. Admission is free but parking costs $5 per car. It's also military appreciation day at camp.
The weather, however, may not cooperate. The forecast calls for overnight rain and thunderstorms possible. The team typically doesn't cancel practice for rain, that could change if precipitation levels are significant. If lightning is in the area, practice will move indoors. Indoor practices are closed to the public.
The Chiefs expect to make a decision on whether practice will be open by 8:45 a.m. on the team's Twitter account.