KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Day two of Kansas City Chiefs minicamp was the defense’s turn to shine.
That’s not an easy feat with the restrictions on full-speed contact, without pads and with no tackling, but rookie safety Bryan Cook helped the Chiefs’ defense steal the show Wednesday on the team’s practice field at the Harry S. Truman Sports Complex.
Cook intercepted Patrick Mahomes, who had rolled far to the right and chucked a deep pass across the field toward the middle of the end zone.
Cook, a second-round pick from the University of Cincinnati, drifted back and snagged the throw.
With Chad Henne in at quarterback, Cook nearly picked off another pass on the very next rep, ranging toward the right sideline (from the offense’s perspective) to break up another deep shot.
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As the team period continued, morphing at one point into seven-on-seven drills, Brandin Dandridge, a second-year player from Missouri Western, and Jaylen Watson, a seven-round pick from Washington State, intercepted Dustin Crum and Shane Buechele, respectively.
Late in the second 11-on-11 period, Cook intercepted Henne on a deep corner throw intended for Omar Bayless.
After his second interception, Cook embraced Kansas City defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and had a quick chat a few yards onto the field before joining his teammates on the sideline.
During the final team period, defensive tackle Chris Jones also was taking at least one snap at the right defensive end position.
He said he may bump outside depending on the game plan for a few reps this season.
“Every team offers different schemes, when you go in week by week,” Jones said. “Once you get in the season, we can kind of scheme on that. Wherever Coach Spags and (defensive line coach) Joe (Cullen) feel comfortable with me playing, I’m good there.”
The Chiefs experimented with moving Jones to defensive end last season, but abandoned the position change after a few games and with Jones battling a wrist injury.
“I learned the D-end position is hard as hell,” Jones said of lessons from that time. “It’s hard as hell. There was a learning curve for me, especially mental-wise. Knowing the sets, knowing the drops. I think it improved my overall game as a player mentally.”
He believes that mental toughness will carry over to the 2022 season, no matter where he lines up.
“If we have a tackle that’s light, I’d like to play D-end — take advantage of that,” Jones said. ‘If we have a guard that’s not as good or first year in the league, I’d like to take advantage of that. So, wherever the advantage is at, I’m willing to play.”
Tight end Jody Fortson — a training camp darling last season, who made the team after multiple position switches and several years on the practice squad — continues to impress as he works back from a ruptured Achilles.
Fortson made a leaping catch on an out route from Mahomes during team drills, looking explosive athletically and dangerous as a route-runner on several other occasions.
Mahomes’ chemistry with wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling, a free-agent acquisition from Green Bay, continues to grow and show itself during 11-on-11 drills.
Kansas City’s running backs also continued to make plays in the passing game, including Ronald Jones who beat rookie linebacker Leo Chenal to the sideline by several yards on one flats pass.
Gordon goes down
Early in the first team period, wide receiver Josh Gordon finished the play lying on his back near the defensive sideline.
Trainers and teammates checked in Gordon, who got up and walked off the field on his own power after a few minutes.
He went straight to the locker room, but the Chiefs didn’t provide an update on the apparent injury.
Gordon has been a standout through organized team activities and early in minicamp.
Coach Andy Reid said he’d slimmed down and fellow wide receiver Mecole Hardman Jr. said he felt more comfortable with the playbook.
It has shown with some big plays, including a few down the field, during the open portions of recent non-padded practices.
Defensive end Frank Clark was excused from practice for the second consecutive practice.
Minicamp is mandatory, but several players have been absent, including Clark and left tackle Orlando Brown Jr.
Brown isn’t currently under contract, because he’s yet to sign the Chiefs’ franchise-tag tender. He and the team are at an impasse in negotiations for a long-term contract extension, which must be done before July 15 or the $16.7-million tag offer locks in for the 2022 season.
Two other veterans coming off known surgeries — right tackle Lucas Niang (knee) and cornerback Rashad Fenton (shoulder) — also have not participated in minicamp, though Niang has been present for workouts on the sideline.
Rookie cornerbacks Trent McDuffie and Joshua Williams, who left Monday’s practice with apparent injuries, also missed Tuesday’s practice.
Williams, a fourth-round pick, watched Tuesday from the sideline, but McDuffie, a first-round pick, was not spotted on the field or sideline.
Kansas City did not provide any information about the rookie corners’ apparent injuries.
Tight end Blake Bell, wide receiver Justyn Ross and defensive end Malik Herring also missed practice for the second straight day, while offensive tackle Prince Tega Wanogho wasn’t on the field Tuesday.