Chiefs Sunday training camp notebook: Patrick Mahomes showing growth through camp’s first two weeks

The Kansas City Chiefs understood Patrick Mahomes was the game’s best player last year, yet they still gave the 23-year-old points to improve upon this offseason. Some of the areas included were overall footwork, pocket presence and trusting his offensive line protections.

Asked for an update Sunday, offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy explained that through nearly two weeks of training camp, Mahomes has been coming along.

“Every day, we’ve seen a little bit of good, and some days, there were some things that could have been off,” Bieniemy explained. “The overall has been very, very consistent, and I’ll say this every time that I talk about it—the kid can tell you exactly what he did wrong, and that’s a good thing.

“That’s an autocorrect deal that Pat has from within, and so when he’s not right in the pocket, he’ll say, ‘Hey coach, I should have did this. I should have stepped up. I should have had my body in this particular position.’”

Bieniemy raved about Mahomes’ ability to recall plays around this time last season, the quarterback took his savvy mental makeup into the regular season, one in which he threw for 50 touchdowns and 5,000 yards.

Mahomes’ desire to improve and apparent growth has been impressive to watch, even for those in the huddle across from him trying to do the same.

“[He’s improved] vision-wise, awareness, just locating stuff, knowing what he’s supposed to do faster,” wide receiver Demarcus Robinson said. “Like when we’re watching film, just hitting moves, faster reading the defense’s coverage and knowing where we’re supposed to be out of our breaks.”

Robinson added that despite him winning the game’s top honor in 2018, Mahomes is not satisfied.

“I mean he won MVP last year,” Robinson said. “I think it’s pretty hard to keep that up – to win MVP again – but he has chips on his shoulders. He had something to sustain his MVP last year. He had 50 touchdowns, and I think he is trying to do the same thing again. So, you have to work even harder than last year to do the same thing again.”

Observations

  • The Chiefs began practice with the temperature in the low-to-mid-70s, but by practice’s end, it had climbed to above 80 degrees.
  • The Chiefs held live tackling periods on Sunday, allowing the offensive/defensive line and running backs to get some true work in. With Damien Williams out, Carlos Hyde and Darrel Williams garnered most of the top-team reps. Hyde is doing a nice job in the absence of Damien, but Darrel looks more explosive to me. Rookie Darwin Thompson, who is faster than both Hyde and Williams, predominantly takes his reps with Chad Henne and the second team.
  • Over the past two days, it is beginning to become obvious why the Chiefs needed to trade up to select wide receiver Mecole Hardman in the second round of the NFL Draft. Hardman shows blazing speed, a knack for getting behind the Chiefs defenders and an early rapport with Patrick Mahomes. Hardman should press Demarcus Robinson for the day-one WR3 position, and if not Week 1, I’d expect him to have it by midseason.
  • Hardman is tough as nails. The Chiefs ran a jet sweep and it looked like the rookie collided with two Chiefs defenders. Hardman stayed down for about two minutes and walked off the field slowly with trainers. Rather than going to the injury tent, Hardman ran off the lower-body injury and had his helmet back on shortly thereafter. At a time in camp when Chiefs are dropping like flies, Hardman earned a bit of respect from his teammates.
  • Behind the top four receivers, critical special-teamer Marcus Kemp flashed at his WR position on Sunday. Bieniemy on Kemp:Marcus Kemp is just one of those Steady Eddie guys. He understands his role. He’s one of those guys that young players and young kids should gravitate to. He doesn’t take anything for granted, he understands his role. He’s fought and scratched from the bottom of the roster, earned a spot on our team as a practice squad, has developed a reputation for being a heck of a special teams player. And when he gets called upon, when guys get pulled from practice, he just jumps in and finds a way to make plays. That’s the type of people we want in our organization.”
  • After the starting offensive line, which is set, it looks to me like Cam Erving will be the swing tackle, Jimmy Murray will be the backup center, and Kahlil McKenzie and Nick Allegretti will mix in at the guard positions.
  • The Chiefs like John Lovett. I noticed Bieniemy harping on him during pass protection drills. Dave Toub already mentioned that he likes Lovett on special teams. If he can show some progression as a blocker, he should make the Chiefs on roster cutdown day. Let’s be clear on one thing: I think Kansas City sees Lovett as an offensive weapon, not a TE2. The final cutdown will likely included Travis Kelce, Lovett, who is listed as a tight end, and an addition tight end—right now I have Blake Bell over Deon Yelder in that spot.
  • Wide receiver Jody Fortson had a noticeably nice day, and it was not the first I’ve noticed out of him. Fortson is making a strong case for being included on the Chiefs’ initial practice squad.
  • The defensive standouts on Sunday were Reggie Ragland, who made a few great plays in coverage, Frank Clark, who continues to dominate offensive linemen and Armani Watts, who grabbed an interception off of Chad Henne in 11-on-11s. Watts also had a pass breakup against Kelce. These are good signs for Watts, who is behind Tyrann Mathieu, Daniel Sorensen and Juan Thornhill.
  • Tanoh Kpassagnon came in as the top left defensive end when defensive linemen Alex Okafor and Emmanuel Ogbah left practice within minutes of each other. The emergence of Kpassagnon as a key defensive contributor remains one of the most significant surprises of Chiefs camp. I noticed Kpassagnon working on pass-rush moves closely with defensive line coach Brendan Daly during O-line vs. D-line drills. Kpassagnon and Breeland Speaks have always been linked together as back-to-back second-round picks—in my opinion, Kpassgnon has eclipsed Speaks in the eyes of the Chiefs.
  • Kicker Harrison Butker made a 60-yard field goal after hitting a 58-yarder indoors on Wednesday. I doubt the Chiefs will have to kick many field goals, but when they do, they’ve got a good one in Butker.

Injury report

In somewhat of a surprise, wide receiver Tyreek Hill missed practice on Sunday. Starting running back Damien Williams has now been out for a week’s time. Click here for our full injury report.

Tweets of note

What’s next?

The Chiefs resume practice Monday in St. Joseph at 9:15 a.m. Arrowhead Time. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid will speak to the media and the offensive and defensive linemen will sign autographs after the workout. The practice will lead into a day off on Tuesday.

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Pete Sweeney
DistinctAthlete.com is an entertaining sports site. The site specializes in viral sports content. Content includes controversial and original opinions, news stories, off-beat stories, humorous videos, entertaining photos, exclusive interviews, and witty banter between the writers and commenters. Distinct Athlete was launched in May of 2012 and has been featured and/or cited on several prominent sports sites.

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