The Kansas City Chiefs held their third and final padded training camp practice of the week on Wednesday at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Missouri. They’ll likely have a lighter 10-10-10 practice in spiders on Thursday to close out the week before they partake in padded practices again starting on Saturday.
This practice was rained out, with the players practicing behind closed doors at the indoor facility at MWSU for the first time in 2022. That doesn’t mean the team didn’t get some good work in, though. Willie Gay Jr. made a standout play on the defensive side of the ball and there were some nice things done overall by the team on what was an abnormal day away from the crowds of fans.
Here’s a look at three of the things we’re taking away from the team’s third padded practice:
Willie Gay Jr. believes he can take a step forward in pass coverage
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Chiefs’ third-year linebacker Willie Gay Jr. notched his third interception of training camp on Wednesday. This was another interception of star quarterback Patrick Mahomes, following his pick-six on Day 3. He says it’s a big assurance that he can reach a goal he has for the upcoming season.
“It gives me a lot of confidence,” Gay said. “You know I’ve got goals to lead linebackers in the NFL in interceptions this year. When Pat (Mahomes) throws me some, I know other quarterbacks will because they’re not as good as him.”
Gay isn’t letting that confidence reach cockiness, though. He added he doesn’t get into any trash-talking with his quarterback after interceptions. He knows better.
“Oh naw,” Gay said. “I ain’t that cocky.”
Last season, Gay felt he missed some opportunities to make some game-changing plays on the defensive side of the ball with his pass coverage. He’s confident that he can lead all NFL linebackers in interceptions if he just makes the most of the opportunities that are presented to him.
“Because I know I can do it,” Gay said. “Coming out of college, man. I feel like I was a guy that was drafted because of my coverage ability. Man, like I feel like I dropped four (interceptions) last year. Cowboys, Broncos, a couple of other (games) I could say. If I make those opportunities and make a play, that’s like five or six interceptions (total). This year I can really take it to the next level, I know that for a fact, so I’m going to do that.”
Isiah Pacheco earns praise from coaching staff
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Chiefs RB Isiah Pacheco is getting praise on back-to-back days at training camp. Yesterday, it was special teams coordinator Dave Toub, who named Pacheco the guy at kick returner for Kansas City.
“We’re going to start him off as the guy (at kick returner) and see if he can handle it,” Toub said of Pacheco on Tuesday. “(We’ll) see how he does in the preseason. In a few games, we’ll be able to know right away. He’s promising. He’s a big guy, 215 (pounds) plus. Ran 4:37 (at the combine). That’s kind of scary back there if we can get that thing going. We used (Byron) Pringle that way. We think we can do that with (Isiah) Pacheco.”
On Wednesday, Chiefs HC Andy Reid was asked about what he’d seen from Pacheco so far.
“Yeah, he’s got a little juice to him,” Reid said on Wednesday. “He’s got good speed, toughness, all of that. I’m looking forward to getting him in a game and seeing how he does there. He’s working hard and picking everything up and doing a nice job there.”
Reid overall was feeling good about the draft picks that Brett Veach brought in this year, but he continues to stress that he needs to see more. Especially in live game action. That will come when the team faces the Chicago Bears in preseason Week 1.
Justin Watson doing well, but Big Red wants to see more from him (and everyone else)
AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann
Another name that has come up a lot recently is free agent WR Justin Watson. Dave Toub named him as a player who could play Marcus Kemp’s role as a gunner on special teams. He’s been getting some hype from Patrick Mahomes and even the national media.
When asked about Watson, Reid complemented his size, speed and smarts, but he too wants to see more out of Watson ahead of the season.
“So, he’s done a nice job,” Reid said. “Big target, big kid, tall, fast, smart. Penn grad, right? So he’s got capacity there. He’s taking everything in and working hard.
“Again, it’s just working in the offense more and more and more,” Reid said. “The reps that he gets are so important. He’s working in with the 1’s and the quarterback he trusts him, so that’s a plus. It’s just a matter of more. Back-to-back these practices. And that really goes for all of these guys. The ups and downs aren’t so good, you want to keep building (up). He’s been really working hard at that and he’s done a nice job.”
While Reid is proud of the hard work that is being put in by Watson and others, he knows it’s still early in training camp and the team has a lot of work left to do. That work yet to be done will play a big part in whether players like Watson end up making the team.
“We’ve just got to keep going,” Reid said. “It’s early yet. But I love the way they’re working and they powered through these last three days with the heat and the length of the increasing every day. I appreciate the work ethic they brought here and kind of bought into what we’re doing. That’s important.”