Jul 27, 2022

Chiefs wrap first full day of camp, Smith-Schuster impresses

Posted Jul 27, 2022 10:01 PM
Juju Smith-Schuster (9) hauls in a sideline pass. Photo by Tommy Rezac
Juju Smith-Schuster (9) hauls in a sideline pass. Photo by Tommy Rezac

St. Joseph Post

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — It was a warm, muggy Wednesday morning on the Mosaic Training Fields at Missouri Western in St. Joseph for the first day of Chiefs training camp.  Overall, coach Andy Reid was pleased with the intensity on day one.

"I like the competition between the offense and the defense," Reid said. "Offense won a few, defense won a few. They were competing. It's the first day, we'll keep rolling, but I was happy with the attitude and the work they put in."

Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire was on the field and active Wednesday - one day after being placed on the physically unable to perform list.

Elsewhere, defensive end Frank Clark came onto the field about halfway through practice around 10 a.m. He missed the early portion due to illness.

Wednesday's workout was in half pads and was relatively short - about an hour and a half. One of the standouts was, not surprisingly, receiver Juju Smith-Schuster, who was signed by Kansas City in March after five fruitful years with the Steelers.

Patrick Mahomes during 7-on-7. Photo by Tommy Rezac
Patrick Mahomes during 7-on-7. Photo by Tommy Rezac

Smith-Schuster had several nice snags throughout the day, including a wide open deep ball that was a bit overthrown. He made a diving catch on that route, which drew some applause.

The first thing that stood out to Smith-Schuster Wednesday was the heat, but also the fans.

"It was hot today," he said. "I'll tell y'all that, man. It's hot. They always told me, 'Be ready, be ready. Camp is no joke.' They were right! To see the fans out here in the heat, and the support, that's so much love."

 On the field, Reid says he notices a trust developing between Smith-Schuster and quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

"This isn't Juju's first rodeo," the head coach said.  "We liked what we saw before. He was banged up just a little bit, but he's back now and healthy. It was good work today."

Smith-Schuster played only five games for Pittsburgh in 2021 after suffering a shoulder injury last October.

Another standout Wednesday was safety Justin Reid - a fifth-year pro who signed with the Chiefs in March. He had a couple of solid pass breakups and intercepted Mahomes in the endzone during seven-on-seven drills.

"(Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo) tells us what to do, we go out and execute it," Justin said. "When you do that, you buy into the program. You be a good teammate. You be a good student of the game. Good things usually happen, so I try and keep myself humble. Plays like that happen when you have your opportunity. You just have to catch it."

Coach Reid had praise for all of the young secondary players, including rookie corner Joshua Williams - drafted in the fourth round from Division II Fayetteville State.

Joshua Williams (23) gets a pass breakup against Mecole Hardman (17). Photo by Tommy Rezac
Joshua Williams (23) gets a pass breakup against Mecole Hardman (17). Photo by Tommy Rezac

"The young secondary players did a nice job today," Reid commented. "I thought they got in there and competed. I liked that. The catches that were made (by receivers) were contested. You had bodies next to bodies."

Justin Reid is one of the more veteran defensive backs the Chiefs have. Corner Dicaprio Bootle is a first-year pro, L'Jarius Sneed is in his third year, safety Juan Thornhill is in his fourth season and rookie corner Trent McDuffie got reps with the first team defense.

While Justin is a newcomer to the Chiefs, the veteran safety is impressed with the personnel he's surrounded by.

"The young guys have been doing a great job, taking it in stride," he said. "Listening to the older guys. Being learners and not being combative. Being open to coaching. They've been coming along well. We've put a lot on their plate, and they're up to the challenge."

Orlando Brown, Jr.

Left tackle Orlando Brown, Jr. was not present at camp, as he and the Chiefs continue to try and reach a long-term deal.  The latest reports indicate they are not close to reaching that deal.

Right guard Trey Smith was asked about Brown, Jr. after practice Wednesday. Smith called him "a good friend" and says they talk often, but would not speculate on whether or not Brown Jr. will play this fall.

"They're going to make the right decision," Smith said of general manager Brett Veach and team leadership.

Also absent Wednesday were those players previously placed on the PUP list. Corner Rashad Fenton is recovering from shoulder surgery, offensive tackle Lucas Niang is recovering from a knee injury, while receiver Justyn Ross recovers from a foot injury. 

Defensive tackle Cortez Broughton is also on the PUP list.

The Chiefs practice again on Thursday morning at 9:15. That'll be the first practice open to the general public.