Training Camp Rolls Into Preseason Week 1
Every single year, there are training camp rumors that mean absolutely nothing and rumors that could win you a lot of money if you pay attention closely.
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Chiefs’ Offensive Firepower
There are two interesting reports out of Chiefs camp that have come out over the past week that are very relevant for different reasons. The first being that Mecole Hardman is finally assuming the WR2 treatment, at least on the team’s depth chart. This is going to be a huge year for Hardman and his career because of the uncertainty surrounding him leading into the season.
Hardman has really been used as the Tyreek Hill backup. With elite speed and a small frame, Hardman fits what the Chiefs have done with Hill for years. Now it’s time to see if they can both operate on the field at the same time. If not, we may see someone more physical like Cornell Powell to come over by season’s end, but the upside with Hardman is undeniable.
The second report is more near and dear to the Chiefs fan’s heart. Trey Smith, 6th round pick out of Tennessee at right guard, is supposedly dominating the defensive line at practice. The Chiefs O-line was abysmal at the end of last season, and it has been the goal of the front office to improve it at all costs in the offseason.
Smith wasn’t someone they relied on for instant playing time, but it appears to be heading that way. While we never know how a player will play on Sundays, I love the reports about Smith because he was an elite, elite recruit. Smith went to a disastrous Tennessee program and never became the player he was supposed to be, but maybe a professional contract and an elite organization have changed that for Smith.
Trey Lance and Justin Fields continue to be the talk of their respective camps, and it sounds like both of these guys will be impact players once they do see the field. Lance is getting rushing reps with the first team, and the coach is insinuating that they have plans to use packages with Lance in certain situations. This is actually a way that I could see Lance stealing the job from Jimmy G quickly.
Fields continues to wow at practice, and the talking points about Fields just grow over the day. It seems as though Fields is at a similar level to Dalton but rising fast, and I think preseason could tell us a lot about this QB situation.
Joe Burrow was the talk of Twitter last week when an Athletic article suggested that Burrow was really struggling in camp, resulting in a low completion percentage, high INT rate, and lack of explosive plays. Burrow has even admitted that the knee injury he suffered from last year isn’t 100%, something that has been speculated going into the season. My biggest concern with Burrow is that he made a career based on confidence in his final season at LSU.
Burrow was a UDFA-type prospect headed into his final season when he exploded on the scene with multiple elite playmakers around him, throwing contested like it was his job and making a bunch of big plays. If Burrow struggles early, does that confidence disappear and never come back?
Two teams that seem a bit jealous about the play of Lance and Fields are the Jets and Broncos, both of whom had the chance to draft at least one of those 2 QBs in last year’s NFL Draft. The reports from Broncos camp are not great for either Teddy Bridgewater or Drew Lock. The Broncos look like a nice team if they can get good QB play, but at this point, that is a very big “if.”
Zach Wilson has made big plays, but they have been met with too many bad plays, and that has his overall play a bit underwhelming at camp thus far. It is early, but other rookies seem to be ahead of Wilson at this point.
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