Chef training camp next month

by Matt McMullen

KANSAS CITY — The Kansas City Chiefs officially wrapped up the offseason training schedule Thursday as mandatory minicamp wrapped up at the team’s training facility. This marked the conclusion of a process that began in April and gradually increased the level of intensity in preparation for the next campaign.

“The guys finished today. They had a little conditioning thing that we did today, and they did a good job with it. Now they have time off and then they’ll be back and ready to go to camp,” head coach Andy Reid said. “It looks like the team is in good shape now, and it’s important that they strengthen it even a bit more for the long term of the season.”

The offseason program, which was segmented into three phases, began with basic strength and conditioning before incorporating limited field work two weeks later. This led to the start of “Organized Team Activities” or “OTAs” in late May, which enabled 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills for the first time. These weren’t padded workouts and there was no “live” contact, but it was Kansas City’s closest in real-world football since the end of last season. The minicamp then followed, spanning three days and marking the first mandatory training event of the offseason while adhering to the rules seen at OTAs.

Each team handles the offseason program differently, but it’s well documented that there are no wasted days under Coach Reid’s watch. Since arriving in Kansas City in 2013, Reid has used spring and early summer practices as an opportunity to lay the groundwork for what the team will master later in training camp. That was the case again this time around, and with so many new faces in attack, it has perhaps never been more important.

Reid was asked specifically about the progress being made between quarterback Patrick Mahomes and his new receiver group on Thursday, prompting a response that reflected significant growth.

“I liked what I saw. Do we still have room to grow? Absolutely, but [they’re] further than I anticipated at this point,” Reid said. “I like the guys we’ve brought in – they have a sense of space. I still care a bit about that, but they’ve done a good job. This camp is all about passing, we’re not running the ball It gives you a little idea in the passing game of what the guys are capable of. [doing].”

This process also goes both ways, as the Chiefs’ new receivers adapt to Mahomes’ unique abilities. New addition JuJu Smith-Schuster, for example, marveled at one of Mahomes’ “nolook” throws after practice on Tuesday.

“He made the no-look pass today, and I was just like, ‘Wow.’ He even got me, and I was right on the sidelines,” said Smith-Schuster, who went on to describe a no-look pass Mahomes threw at him in the 2018 Pro Bowl. This is what I should expect.

This is something that will continue to take time, and Mahomes and company don’t plan on wasting any of it. In fact, with official offseason practices over, Mahomes plans to invite his offensive playmakers to a series of informal practices in Texas before training camp begins in late July.

“I will have guys there. Fortunately, some of these guys are already living in Texas, and we’re going to practice and pitch,” said Mahomes, who held a series of similar practices in April ahead of OTAs. “You don’t want to do too much before training camp, but [we’re] just trying to keep everyone fresh and keep everyone working. We’ll have dates there, and I’m sure we’ll have some guys showing up.

One player who seemed to benefit from the first iteration of Texas workouts was wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who consistently impressed during the Chiefs’ “First Look” workout last Wednesday – which was open to several hundred members of the squad. season pass – with a handful of catches deep on the sidelines.

“I think he did a great job learning the attack very quickly and playing when his number was called,” Mahomes said of Valdes-Scantling. “[Early in OTAs], we had a few guys who were a little stoned, and he had a lot of reps and made a lot of sets. When you do that and the other guys come back, [I] have that confidence [now] that he can make those plays, so you saw a couple on the sideline where it was one-on-one, and I just threw him out and let him make a play and he did. It’s a good thing to see, and I hope it continues in training camp and throughout the season.

The additions of Smith-Schuster and Valdes-Scantling – coupled with the departure of former receiver Tyreek Hill – have led to much discussion about what the offense might look like in 2022, but the defense also includes a slew of new players which are worth discussing. on. This includes rookies such as cornerback Trent McDuffie, defensive end George Karlaftis, safety Bryan Cook, linebacker Leo Chenal and cornerback Joshua Williams to name a few, and at least until now they have held their own in training.

“[Those] the guys are in their playbook and they take this thing pretty seriously because they don’t make a lot of mistakes out there,” said safety Juan Thornhill. “They look like veterans with the playbook. They play with some of the older guys, and I think they’re doing a really good job with that.

These players, from veterans like Thornhill to rookies like Karlaftis, will now have some much-needed time away from the facility over the next few weeks, but just as Mahomes suggested earlier, it doesn’t seem like the collective goal of this group will decrease during the break.

“I’m going to train as hard as I can,” Karlaftis said when asked about his plans for the summer. “That’s it.”

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Richard V. Johnson