7 takeaways following conclusion of Chiefs training camp

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The Kansas City Chiefs wrapped their final training camp practice of the season on Wednesday.

The team has officially laid the foundation for the 2021 NFL season, completing a successful training camp. From here on out, the team will switch over to regular-season mode and give players a taste of what that’s like for the rest of the preseason. We’ve learned a lot about this team during the course of training camp, though. They’ve given us a glimpse into what we can expect for the upcoming season.

Here’s a look at seven things we’re taking away from the entirety of training camp.

The best training camp is an injury-free training camp

AP Photo/Ed Zurga

The Chiefs escaped this year at training camp without suffering any major injuries. They entered camp with Kyle Long having suffered a big injury in OTAs. The team dealt with some ticky-tacky injuries throughout training camp, like Willie Gay Jr. missing some time with a concussion. The most significant injury was Laurent Duvernay-Tardif breaking a bone in his hand. It knocked him out for the remainder of training camp and likely the preseason. Andy Reid says both Long and Duvernay-Tardif are trending in the right direction. Getting out of St. Joseph, Missouri injury-free is a big win for Kansas City. Now if they can just do the same through the remainder of the preseason, they'll be golden.

Offensive line coming together quicker than expected

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Chiefs are trending toward having five new starters on the offensive line for the season opener. Typically, that'd be cause for alarm, but for Kansas City, it feels like the ideal outcome. Rookies Creed Humphrey, Trey Smith and Lucas Niang all have risen to the occasion and look the part of NFL caliber offensive linemen. Usually, people would caution that the unit will need time to jell. In this group's first preseason outing they looked remarkably sound, just as they have throughout training camp practices. The great thing is that all of these new players coming into Kansas City have been hyper-aware of the expectations that this team has for themselves. They've attacked their work at training camp and we saw a preview of the results on the field against the San Francisco 49ers. Will there be a few hiccups along the way with this group? It's probable. But don't be surprised if they hit the ground running this season, potentially becoming a top unit in the league from the get-go.

Patrick Mahomes looks as good as he ever has

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

There was plenty of speculation heading into training camp surrounding Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes. A lot of it had to do with his offseason surgery to repair a turf toe injury. Some of it had to do with how he would respond to the Super Bowl LV loss. He quickly put any concerns to rest with his performance on the field at training camp. Mahomes has looked healthy, calm and poised on the field throughout training camp. He seems to be adjusting well to the new-look offensive line, including new center Creed Humphrey. He continues to build up that chemistry with some of his newer targets that he's been working with like Noah Gray, Jody Fortson, Jerick McKinnon and Michael Burton. All-in-all, this has quietly been one of Mahomes' best camps yet. When the season arrives you can expect all gas and no brakes from the Chiefs' quarterback.

Running back group is diverse and improved

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Last season, the running back group felt incomplete in Kansas City. They relied heavily on rookie RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire. When he was injured they saw Darrel Williams emerge a bit heading into the postseason, especially running between the tackles. Now, with a year under his belt and an offensive line that better suits his game, Edwards-Helaire looks much improved. Beyond the second-year starter and the undrafted veteran, Jerick McKinnon adds a different flavor to the offense that the Chiefs didn't have last year. He's a speedster with great vision. He also brings some elusiveness and shiftiness to his game, boasting great hands working out of the backfield. Expect big improvements from this group heading into the 2021 NFL season.

Defensive roster cuts are going to be very tough

AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn

This is the deepest the defense has looked in Kansas City since Steve Spagnuolo took over for Bob Sutton in 2019. Perhaps surprisingly, the defensive line has proven to be the clear strength for defense during training camp. It's really going to make roster cuts tough. At the defensive end position, in particular, the team probably could make a case for keeping eight guys. They're going to make it exceptionally tough on decision-makers moving forward. The secondary and linebacker spots are also quite deep with some players emerging during training camp and the preseason. Guys like Chris Lammons, Bopete Keyes, Omari Cobb, and Devon Key are going to force some tough decisions on the back end of the roster. The bottom line is, the Chiefs are going to end up cutting some good players on the defensive side of the ball. Guys who are deserving of starting jobs and might end up getting those opportunities elsewhere.

Byron Pringle might actually be WR2

AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Mecole Hardman may be the No. 2 receiver on the depth chart, and Demarcus Robinson may get the second-most snaps, but that doesn't necessarily mean either will secure the WR2 job for Kansas City. Outside of Tyreek Hill, the receiver who has seemed the most consistent throughout camp has been fourth-year WR Byron Pringle. He's proven to be someone that QB Patrick Mahomes can count on to get open and score points. "Yeah, I mean he’s always been a guy that works extremely hard," Mahomes said of Pringle. "(He's) extremely physical, goes out there and makes tough contested catches." With other players like Mike Hughes and Jerick McKinnon likely to make the team. The Chiefs might be wise to take Pringle off of kick return duties and let him solely focus on contributing on offense.

Daurice Fountain and Marcus Kemp neck-and-neck for a spot

AP Photo/Tony Avelar

At the beginning of training camp, Marcus Kemp was running away with a roster spot between his contributions on offense and special teams. Over the past week-plus, Daurice Fountain has closed the gap, especially with his performance on offense. Kemp has the advantage of being a starting gunner for Kansas City, but Fountain has looked the better player on offense. He made plays during preseason Week 1, but he's also worked his way up to increased repetitions in practice at training camp. It's going to be tight between these two players, especially if the team only decides to keep five receivers on the 53-man roster. How both perform in the final two games of the preseason could well be the deciding factor over that final spot in the receiver room.

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