Everything that could be said about Patrick Mahomes has been said this offseason.
- Kent has done a masterful job of building an offense around the Kansas City Chiefs’ new franchise quarterback in a spectacular 90-part series. OK, so it was just nine, but there is enough good analysis there to fill 10 times as many.
- His college coach raved about his “phenomenal talent” that is “already translating” to the NFL.
- Mahomes himself talked about film review, preparation and the NFL’s best offensive weapons.
- Matt Waldman revisited the Denver game to help set expectations for Mahomes in 2018.
- Bucky Brooks and Tamba Hali are speaking out, representing the Pat Mahomes fan club within the national ranks.
- Our old friend Seth talks about how Mahomes will pair with Andy Reid and looked beyond the arm over at The Athletic.
We also know every negative thing that you’re about to say about Mahomes.
- There is uncertainty around Mahomes.
- He probably won’t be as efficient as Alex Smith was, statistically.
- He is going to throw at least some interceptions.
- He is going to hold the ball too long at times while trying to make the big play.
- He is going to try and force the ball in windows he shouldn’t.
- He is going to throw a 50-yard pass into double coverage when his underneath receiver was open.
- He might just cost the Chiefs at least one game this season trying to be the hero.
- We fans are overhyping him.
- The Chiefs aren’t helping, with their inability to hide their own excitement.
- We are putting too much pressure on a 22-year-old.
- Mahomes does live in a trailer park with his mom. OK. Maybe not that last one.
Look, Mahomes is going to change the Chiefs in so many ways, we might not even recognize the team that starts forming in St. Joseph and ultimately takes the field in the regular season.
I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating.
Just having Mahomes on the field has the potential change the entire attitude of the offense, defense and special teams. The defense is going to want to play with some of the reckless abandonment they see in its quarterback. The defensive players will have extra motivation to get off the field to get the ball back in the hands of the guy that can literally win the game with a flick of his wrist.
Receivers, running backs, tight ends and offensive lineman will be more on their toes, because a play isn’t dead until the whistle blows. The whole team might just play with a little more swagger, mirroring the guy behind center.
Not to mention the fans, the other group of people that have never seen anything like Mahomes. How many times have we sat and watched the Chiefs look helpless as an opponent snatches victory from the jaws of defeat? Did it not seem inevitable that our team would find a way to lose a game they should have otherwise won? Even when they won, often it was closer than it needed to be. Imagine seeing the Chiefs offense get the ball down by a touchdown with two minutes left to play and actually knowing that they’d drive the field for the win.
That feeling of confidence that comes with having a wildly talented franchise quarterback who can strike from any spot on the field... It changes everything.
This isn’t a knock on the prior administration. Alex Smith won a lot of games for Kansas City, and he was even heroic at times. But it seems he was never able to truly inspire and capture the imagination of this team and the fanbase that obsesses over it. Patrick Mahomes can do that, and he already has started. It continues this week in St. Joe.
So, what can we actually get out of watching training camp and the reports we’ll see?
- Mastery of the offense: Mahomes has a full season and two offseasons of studying the playbook, watching film and working in practice. Watch to see how comfortable he is in the huddle. How much is he able to change plays at the line of scrimmage? Is he directing traffic, showing a mastery not only of his job, but the jobs of others around him?
- How the offense changes around him: We often lose sight of what might be the biggest strength of Chiefs head coach, Andy Reid. It’s his ability to innovate and adapt an offense that matches his quarterback. All signs point to this being an entirely new offense built around Patrick Mahomes. We’ll see new formations, spread concepts, and maybe, just maybe, some stuff the NFL hasn’t seen before. Watch the formations the Chiefs offense practices in camp. Look for multiple-receiver sets and multiple-running back sets that give defenses more speed than they can handle.
- How Mahomes gets on the same page with the first team: Maybe the most mind-blowing part of the excitement around Mahomes is the fact that we haven’t really seen him on the field with a full complement of starters yet. All the highlights we saw in preseason 2017, the game-winning drive against Denver... that was nearly all done without the starting offensive line, and without guys like Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill and KareemHunt. That was also prior to the addition of Sammy Watkins. Watch the offensive line, how its performance looks different with Mahomes running around behind them. Watch the chemistry as it develops between quarterback and starting receivers. If they can get on the same page early, watch out NFL defenses.
- Yes, it’s OK to enjoy the highlights. We’ll likely see huge numbers of spectacular Mahomes plays captured in GIFs and live-tweeted from camp. We’ll see just as many comments from people saying, “It’s just training camp; don’t get too excited.” I’m here to tell you that it’s OK to get excited. Watch for the routine plays as well. See how the velocity Mahomes is able to put on the ball affects screen passes and slants. See how the mere threat of Mahomes throwing deep passes opens up the running game. Watch Mahomes grow more comfortable executing handoffs and his attention to detail on play fakes. But, don’t feel guilty about enjoying the highlights, we’ve seen enough already that we can rest assured that they are not a fluke. Mahomes is the new human highlight reel in the NFL. Embrace that.
- The general feeling of excitement and confidence: Don’t expect to get anywhere near Mahomes during autograph sessions, as he’ll be mobbed like a rock star. But, soak in the atmosphere of the team and fans in St. Joseph. I think you’ll be able to sense a palpable excitement that we haven’t seen before. Watch the team celebrate the plays made by their young quarterback, as he puts on a show for the fans. I have a feeling you’ll notice my primary thesis: everything is different now.
Now, tell the people something they don’t know about Mahomes.