We are back with more updates for the AFC West Training Camps! Most of the news surrounds the Denver Broncos, as they began camp early due to their upcoming participation in the Hall of Fame Game (vs Atlanta). I’ll throw in some tidbits from the early-goings of the other three teams, but be sure to check back next week for more AFC West Training Camp updates!
- According to beat writer Zac Stevens, Broncos charted the reps of every player and no player has taken much more than 37% of the team’s snaps and no player much lower than 28%. Vic Fangio wants to see what he has in his players. Everyone getting a look.
- Emmanuel Sanders returned to team drills (7-on-7, handful of snaps) on Wednesday and seems on track for a bounce back from his Achilles tear last season. Many are skeptical due to the nature of the injury and history of players struggling to return to 100% after this kind of injury. So far, there’s been no set backs, but it’s early. Given his ADP, some owners willing to take a risk could really benefit. Fantasy owners might be more confident by draft time if this kind of positive news continues. However, the threat of reinjury or underperformance (due to impact of injury) surely is enough to keep some away.
- After the defense showed up the offense all camp so far, reports were more positive about the offense this week with their improved performance.
- Todd Davis (LB) continues to miss training camp with a calf injury.
- Jake Butt TE continues to miss camp as he recovers from his 3rd ACL tear of his football career. He suffered a “hit a little pothole” in his recovery this week. I think it’s safe to be skeptical that he returns to full health by season’s start, so Denver may need to lean on rookie Noah Fant and UDFA and training camp standout Austin Fort. As I mentioned in last week’s update, Fort’s training camp performance isn’t going overlooked.
- Speaking of the lack of TE depth, Bug Howard suffered an ankle injury and left practice Thursday which they believe to be a sprain.
- Injuries also continued to plague the WR corps. DaeSean Hamilton (WR) missed practice due to a hamstring injury. Right now, the coaching staff is playing it down, stating that it “could be” a short term injury but “you know how those hamstrings go”. This could go either way and, as we know with soft tissue injuries, this could increase the likelihood of reinjury/aggravation down the line. Hamilton missing time opens the door for UDFAs Trinity Benson and Kelvin McKnight. Benson, who I wrote about in my first update, has been a stand out at training camp so far. McKnight (slot) stepped in this week with Hamilton out and did “alright” according to Head coach Vic Fangio. Broncos receiving corps hit retirement and injury bumps already, so these rookies should get plenty of opportunities to impress. Definite candidates for DFS preseason, as the Broncos will want a hard look at them to determine who makes the final roster.
- Denver signed 5 year veteran WR Nick Williams on Friday to add depth at the position.
- WR Juwann Winfree (calf) returned to practice after missing with minor injury. He’s also been a name commonly mentioned in training camp highlights so far.
- Center Conner McGovern struggled with shotgun snaps this week and Fangio noted this, but was quick to acknowledge multiple factors (QBs taking eyes off the ball, etc.). He stated that “obviously got to get perfect soon”.
- Kareem Jackson will practice only at safety during training camp to gain more experience at the position.
- Phillip Lindsay ranks #68 on NFL’s top 100 list. First undrafted rookie to be voted to top 100. Just thought I’d share that little tidbit.
Kansas City Chiefs
- The Chiefs started camp on Wednesday and let’s just start with the good news: Travis Kelce says he’s fully healthy. Also returning from injury is rookie safety Juan Thornhill and offensive lineman Cam Erving.
- Chiefs noted that they are “easing” Kelce back in, but there were no signs of setbacks or lingering issues post-surgery. Kelce voiced that his ankle bothered him at least the last two years and finally got a “clean up” procedure this off-season. He described himself at first camp as “100% flying out there, having some fun”. Good news.
- Kelce described Mahomes as in “tip top shape” and confident.
- Kansas City has 8 tight ends on the roster and the spot behind Kelce is wide open. There isn’t a strong indication who leads the TE2 battle, but Coach Reid previously commented on Deon Yelder. So, we will see how this training camp battle plays out.
- Main training camp battles are for TE2, QB3 (Kyle Shurmur or Chase Litton), and backup center.
- The starting offensive lineman haven’t reported to camp yet, so the Chiefs used Cam Erving at tackle. He is versatile and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him practice in multiple positions on the line during training camp.
- Standouts so far (remember, we are talking about a day): WR Mecco Hardman, QB turned TE John Lovett and WR Cody Thompson.
- First full-team practice will be Saturday, July 27th.
- The Chargers began camp on Thursday, but coaches noted they will be a “full go” on Friday.
- Running back Melvin Gordon has not arrived at training camp. Coaches emphasized that they are focusing on the players at camp, but were tight-lipped about the situation otherwise.
- Hunter Henry is 100% healthy. The team considered him “back” from his ACL injury since January’s AFC playoff game. He caught a nice pass down the sideline from Phillip Rivers for large gain and reminded all us why we like him so much.
- Teammates praised veteran LB Thomas Davis (13 NFL seasons), stating that he looked “like he’s about 24” on the field. He brings leadership and experience to the defense. Head Coach Anthony Lynn noted his high energy and work ethic. He plans to hold Davis out “some” to “keep hi fresh” for Week 1.
- Veterans arrived to camp on Friday, July 26th. Updates to follow in future articles.
Thanks for joining me for this AFC West Training Camp Update! Be sure to stay up to date with reviewing news/notes from last week for the Broncos in Week 1 and find me on Twitter @TheOnlyJenSmith. And, of course, check out all the great content TheFantasyAuthority has to offer as you prepare for your drafts!