ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — As the second week of training camp rolled along Thursday at Missouri Western, the Kansas City Chiefs went through a 10-10-10 practice, which is a “throttled down” workout, according to defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.
The structure of such practices lends itself to strong performances on offense and wide receiver Mecole Hardman Jr. took full advantage.
He caught three passes from quarterback Patrick Mahomes during the first set of 10 plays as the first-team offense worked against the defensive backups.
During the second round of 10 reps, Hardman caught Mahomes passes on the first two plays, including once as the second read when the defense appeared to successfully diagnose a rollout flats pass to tight end Noah Gray.
Hardman continued to be a top option on jet sweeps and reverses during that period.
On the opening play of the third offensive series, Mahomes uncorked a deep corner for Hardman and posed as the fourth-year receiver ran under the 50-yard lob for a touchdown.
Two plays later, Hardman caught another pass, cementing his place as the featured player in the 10-10-10 practice.
It’s clear that he’ll take on a larger role in the Chiefs’ offense in 2022, but he seems comfortable with the increased role and Mahomes seems to trust him for now.
Moore continues to shine, MVS battles drops
There will still be plenty of reps available in the wide receiver run game without Tyreek Hill, who averaged 15 carries and one rushing touchdown during his six seasons in Kansas City.
Skyy Moore, a rookie second-round pick from Western Michigan, seems poised to pick up some of that slack.
He also was used heavily as the Chiefs ran through some jet sweep/reverse plays, but Mahomes also found Moore deep down the seam for a touchdown during practice.
“That’s nothing new for me,” Moore said. “I like just getting the ball fast. The faster you can get the ball, the faster you can make something happen with it. That’s what I like with those plays.”
If there was a blemish for the offense, it was a pair of drops from Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
He atoned with a long reception in the final period, but the drops continued a trend that marked Valdes-Scantling’s career in Green Bay and cropped up earlier in camp as well.
Pacheco’s flashes speed, hands
Running backs Ronald Jones and Isiah Pacheco took handoffs and rumbled around the left end on back-to-back plays.
The difference in speed down the field was noticeable.
Pacheco, a rookie seventh-round pick from Rutgers, had more burst as he pulled away from the defense to finish his rep in the end zone.
But Pacheco’s biggest highlight came during the final set of first-team plays when he made a contested catch down the right sideline, outmuscling linebacker Mike Rose for the Mahomes pass.
Punt return battle
Hardman also remained the first man up during punt-return reps, but Skyy Moore, Corey Coleman, Omar Bayless and Trent McDuffie also got work fielding Tommy Townsend punts.
McDuffie, who closed camp with an interception of Dustin Crum, didn’t field any punts during the first punt-return session, but he was the only returner to catch Townsend’s kicks during a truncated second session.
<h2>Humphrey hunting blocks in space</h2>
Second-year center Creed Humphrey looks to be in midseason form, pulling into space on screen passes.
He was a notable snub among the Chiefs’ Pro Bowl selections last season, but he’ll cement his place as one of the top interior linemen in the NFL if he stays healthy this season.
Three players — cornerback Rashad Fenton (shoulder), right tackle Lucas Niang (knee) and offensive tackle Prince Tega Wanogho (leg) — remain on the physically unable to perform, or PUP, list.
Tight end Jody Fortson (quad) also remained sidelined.
Two wide receivers, Daurice Fountain (groin) and Gary Jennings (concussion), also missed practice Thursday.