We transition from our Bacon, Egg, and Chiefs Sunday brunch periodical to bring you the training camp edition of our Sunday preseason offerings – The Sunday Scaries
Charles Robinson @CRob5769
Writer – @ChiefsFocus
Chiefs Focus @ChiefsFocus
My wife and I were given a “dinner journal” for Christmas this past year, and when we opened it I thought “Well we’ll do this for a few weeks then it will sit on or near the dinner table.” As a veteran bachelor (met my wife at 31, engaged at 32, married at 34) these types of items were things that never even really existed in my brain, and certainly not my reality. And while they’ve been steadily introduced into my life over the last 3 years, the subconscious bachelor mindset resurfaces from time to time, it’s and inevitable thing for all men.
However, I was very wrong in my assumption. We actually fill it out every night, and it’s frankly a blast to sit back and think about some of the questions you get asked. But this got me thinking : how would I have answered these in my 20’s? And how much would Chiefs football play into these answers?
“Where would you go if you had a surprise, all expenses paid week vacation starting tomorrow?”
Current answer : after going back and forth with like 6 different places in my head for over a minute, I’d go with “somewhere in the Caribbean”. If you know me or my family you know decisiveness is not a strength.
Bachelor answer : St. Joseph, MO
“What do you enjoy most about hosting people at your house?”
Current Answer : company and conversation
Bachelor answer: Chiefs, beers, and barbecue.
“What’s angered you lately?”
Current answer : United Airlines losing my golf clubs on our trip to Colorado
Bachelor answer : How are we serious about Matt Cassel still being our QB?
“What required patience today?”
Current answer : Frank, Daisy, and Scout (3 dogs, 2 people. We’re Into self-torture)
Bachelor answer : waiting for the regular season to get here.
There are 202 of these total, so if you’d like to hear more adult vs. bachelor “One Question a Day for You & Me” answers, I’d be glad to give you examples of other (less personal) ones on twitter. But for now, I’ll dive deeper into the last one.
I think the theory of personal hell is an interesting one. Like hell is real but instead of it just being a big fire cave it’s custom built for everyone, featuring the things you hate the most on Earth. I’ve always theorized that mine would be standing in a DMV, it’s like 82 degrees inside, I can hear the sound of Styrofoam squeaking together, and I’m standing in a line.
Waiting. Waiting longer than I want to (I can stand to wait a short period of time) with no end in sight, and the thing that I’m waiting for seems like it’ll never get here.
That’s the point I’ve hit mentally this summer with the 2022 NFL season. Sure we’re a week into training camp, but that feels like the first little sip of water you get when you’re stranded in the desert – it’s a relief, but you’re far from hydrated.
But as it stands today, we’re 39 days away from the kickoff of the regular season when the Bills take their tank to Los Angeles to take on the defending Super Bowl champion Rams. 3 days later, 42 from now, the Kansas City Chiefs will open their 2022 campaign in Arizona at 3:25 to take on the Cardinals.
So close, but still so far away.
Training camp is without a doubt an exciting time in the season, though, where every team comes in with a renewed hope of “having a chance”. Nearly every camp has, in some form or fasihion, a goal to win it all this year. In some buildings – the Bills, Rams, Bengals, Buccaneers, Packers, and Chiefs – it’s an expectation. In some, a hope – Ravens, Chargers, 49ers, and Cowboys, perhaps? In others, it’s more of a dream.
As we trek over the next 5 weeks of camp, including cuts, preseason games, more cuts, injuries, holdouts – everything that training camp holds, there will be plenty of news to unpack, interviews to catch up on, and under the radar guys who are looking like they may be on the 53.
For now, after week 1, I want to share my takes on what look like the 4 biggest takeaways from Chiefs camp so far in 2022. There has been a lot of good to note, no real significant injuries thus far, and still no answer as to when we’ll see Orlando Brown, Jr. in pads.
My first takeaway is that the Chiefs defensive rookies have shown up ready to prove themselves. Throughout the course of the week there have been a couple of highlight reel catches from JuJu Smith-Schuster, and in coverage on the first one I liked you will see rookie CB Joshua Williams. Sure JuJu made the catch on Williams, but he was right there in coverage with a veteran receiver who is known to be one of the better over the middle route runners in the league.
Bryan Cook stepped in and took a healthy amount of reps with the 1’s earlier in the week when Justin Reid missed time. Rookie linebacker Leo Chenal showed some great hustle and looks like he’s going to be a heavy hitter up the middle of the Chiefs linebacking unit in 2022. And George Karlaftis was spotted after practice multiple days working with veteran Frank Clark on passrush moves.
Speaking of Frank Clark – my second takeaway from week 1 of training camp was the reported exceptional leadership from defensive veterans so far in camp. Frank Clark has been seen numerous times working with Karlaftis and other young pass rushers this week after the Chiefs team practices conclude, making sure the rookies are where they need to be when the Chiefs lace them up for real in Arizona in 42 days.
In addition to that, Juan Thornhill has shown up in a big way. Thornhill has been the subject of less than substantiated trade rumors coming into camp, and has been a noted absentee from defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s good graces for quite some time. But even Spags said earlier in the week that the one guy who has come in ready to communicate and lead the defense from an alignment and effort standpoint so far in 2022 has been Juan Thornhill.
Frank Clark also made comments yesterday about his maturation as a man. In the video clip you hear Clark discuss reasons for leaving the party lifestyle he grew to love at Michigan behind, and focusing on the more important things in life – football and his family. Clark followed a strict dietary regiment in the offseason, and stopped drinking hard alcohol –
“At some point, you’ve got to grow up. I’ve got 3 kids. I’ve got kids looking at me every day, my 6 year old daughter look at daddy to make the right decisions. I can’t afford to be nowhere drunk, nowhere missing days, missing anything important. I’ve got too many important dates coming up in my life.”
Sound perspective from a guy who the Chiefs will look to for big production in 2021. Especially with Carlos Dunlap coming in to occupy attention on the other defensive edge.
My third takeaway? Skyy Moore will be more of an offensive weapon than previously estimated. I know a lot of people were high on Skyy leading up to and after the Draft. He’s without a doubt a speedster and didn’t drop anything at Western Michigan, but how would his lack of size translate at the next level?
Well, Moore decided to try to make up for what he was missing in height by adding some thicccccness to his game, and he’s looking like an absolute throughbred in camp thus far. His athleticism and strength are going to allow Andy Reid, Eric Bienemy, and Matt Nagy to dig deep into the call sheets this fall. I would not be surprised at all to see Moore utilized in backfield and flex packages as well as in a traditional wideout role. His versatility allows Reid to call an offense with more speed on the field than he’s ever had before.
My final takeaway? The Chiefs depth and versatility on offense will allow Andy Reid to open up the playbook even further. We’ve all seen the highlights of Patrick Mahomes behind the back pitch to Clyde Edwards-Helaire running through a dress rehearseal for one of the Chiefs various option plays. But when you think about the offensive weapons that Reid, Mahomes, and the Chiefs offense are going to have at their disposal in 2022, you start to think – how much deeper can the bag get?
I have a feeling that answer is – really damn deep.
Mahomes has been spotted practicing backwards passes, and as camp moves on and the Chiefs finalized roster begins to take shape and eventually take the field, the diabolical brain of Andrew Walter Reid will be able to reach it’s full potential with the cast of characters the Chiefs end up with in 2022, in no matter what iteration. If the league thought they had the Chiefs offense figured out with Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce as the only real threats, there will without a doubt be an adjustment to be made coming into this season with the ways the Chiefs will be able to harm opponents on the field and in their heads.
So yeah, getting news and breaking down things like this helps the time. But I still can’t wait until September 11, 42 days from now, when the Chiefs kick off the real thing. Sure we’re going to get Pre-Call of Duty release Kyler, but it’s not going to matter. 2022 is the Year of Mahomes.