With temperatures hovering around 60 degrees, a steady cold breeze blowing and a constant drizzle beating the football fields at St. Joseph, the Chiefs had an opportunity to move their Saturday practice indoors.
Instead, the team welcomed the challenge and continued training camp outside battling the unusual elements.
“We’ve had perfect weather the other days I’ve kicked,” Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos said. “Today was kind of the most challenging one.”
Through seven days of training camp, Santos was a perfect 30-for-30 on field goal attempts. He missed his first Saturday, pushing a 41-yarder wide right. Santos admitted the conditions affected his kicks, but he didn’t shy away from the test.
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“I should make everything, but if it’s a tough day like today, (weather) can get you,” Santos said. “I’m glad it happened today and not in a game. I was kind of wondering, when is it going to happen (referring to his first miss). I was 100 percent. It’s awesome having that confidence going right into the season.”
Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt added, “Whenever you have weather like this, it changes our direction, how far the offense has to get into Cairo’s zone and it’s just as crucial for me because the ball acts differently when it’s wet. Wind gives you a chance to get better because you’re working on different stuff that could arise over the course of the year.
Santos said he worked on his game during the offseason, practicing with seven different NFL kickers in the spring and summer. The Chiefs coaching staff has noticed his dedication and decided not to add another kicker to the roster.
“We talk about it every year how good is competition and bringing a guy in to push me, but I always say I’m my biggest competition,” Santos said. “I was expecting at least somebody else here, I feel like I still need to prove to them … give these coaches the confidence and confirmation that I’m the guy.”
So far, Santos has been that guy for the Chiefs. Through three seasons, he’s been the franchise’s most accurate kicker. Santos is coming off his best year, when he made 31-of-35 field-goal attempts, 88.6 percent.
“He’s really having a good camp,” Chiefs special teams coach Dave Toub said. “Dustin as well, we only have the two guys. They push each other and they do a good job of pushing themselves. That’s why we don’t need to bring another person in ... we compete.”
Santos appreciates bad weather days and maintains the same approach rain or shine.
“I’d rather be out here every day than going indoors,” Santos said. “This is what makes you better.”