After what has felt like the longest Kansas City Chiefs offseason in several years, we are finally less than two weeks away from the start of training camp at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph (full camp schedule here).
And it’s a good time for it, with the Patrick Mahomes hype train pacing so fast it’s about to fly off the rails.
Fort Worth sits about 300 miles east of Lubbock, where Mahomes attended college at Texas Tech University. Reporters in Texas are only used to seeing Mahomes as a starter, so some were wondering what he was able to learn as No. 2 in 2017, sitting behind now Washington Redskins-quarterback Alex Smith.
“I learned a ton,” Mahomes said. “Alex was an amazing guy. He really brought me into the quarterback room and accepted me and did his thing and had a great season himself and at the same time taught me things. Just to see what it took to mentally prepare for the game and what you have to do in order to have success on the field was something that I’ll utilize over this next season.”
One of the biggest differences between college and the pros, Mahomes noted, was just how much film the quarterbacks watch.
Without having to worry about classes, the only focus is football.
“The amount of film watched, especially by the quarterback, is tremendous,” Mahomes said. “College, you watch the team that you play and then you watch yourself and you think you’re good, but when you’re in the NFL, you watch the team that you play, you watch if you played them two or three years ago, you watch all this different stuff. It’s stuff where you have to spend that time in order to get that competitive advantage.”
That competitive advantage will be key for the Chiefs and Mahomes right out of the gate in 2018, with the first four games of their schedule as follows: at Los Angeles Chargers, at Pittsburgh Steelers, vs. San Francisco 49ers and at Denver Broncos.
“You have to make sure you’re ready for everything they can throw at you,” Mahomes added. “There’s a lot of times in the NFL, they show stuff for seven or eight weeks, then you get to the game that day and they throw something totally different.
“When I was on the sideline last year, I would be trying to help. ‘We need to do this, this and this in order to have success.’ But when you’re in the game and they throw that on you and you have to make a play, you have to make sure you know what you can utilize in order to have success.”
What Mahomes has to utilize as a first-year starter is one of the most dynamic supporting casts the NFL has ever seen.
Just the other day, ESPN’s Bill Barnwell called the Chiefs offensive arsenal the league’s best. Mahomes realizes that embarrassment of riches should ease the pressure he has on his own back.
“It helps out a ton, especially it being my first year of playing quarterback,” he said. “I can throw a five-yard pass and Tyreek (Hill) can take it to the house. It’s stuff like that — you have (Travis) Kelce who catches everything, you have Sammy (Watkins), who I think is really evolving his game and getting better and better every single day and you have Kareem (Hunt), so if I just need to get a couple yards, or if I need a touchdown, I just hand it to him. To have those weapons, it helps a quarterback, always.”
Chiefs training camp opens to the public on Thursday, July 26.