All eyes were on Patrick Mahomes Thursday night in the Chiefs preseason opener against the Houston Texans. It was the young quarterbacks’s second start for the Chiefs, and his first time on the field alongside a starting offensive line.
And, as you could imagine, the feeling of excitement that comes with being back on the field at Arrowhead for the first time this season felt really good.
“It was awesome getting out here in front of the fans and back into the swing of things,” Mahomes said. “Of course, you want to score touchdowns and kick field goals, but getting some chemistry with those guys — and getting into the huddle — was a great experience.”
Mahomes not only felt good to be out there, but also felt like he was able to keep those initial nerves in check from the get-go.
“Yeah I think I was able to on the first snap,” Mahomes said about maintaining his composure on the first play. “I’m glad I got a completion on that one — just trying to get the drive going. There’s a ton of excitement, and you can just feel it in the stadium.”
Despite the excitement — and the good and bad moments of the game — Mahomes feels optimistic overall, and is willing to trust the process in order to find success.
“I felt like as a unit we did a lot of things well,” Mahomes said about the offense. “There’s a lot we have to keep working on — I mean it’s hard when you go get those first two series, but you know it’s a process, and it’s kind of how you have to go about things in order to have success in this league.”
And while Mahomes’ success in the league will stem from a lot of things, one thing in particular is his 2017 game against the Broncos.
“I think the start last year has helped me a ton moving into this year,” Mahomes said. “It really helped me get the speed and not being too panicked and just calming yourself down. I feel like that’s a big thing I learned last year in that start, and today I felt like I did that to the best of my ability.”
Another thing he’s going to do to the best of the ability is practice this season’s motto of coaches Andy Reid and Eric Bienimey: be aggressive.
“It’s stuff that I’m just going to keep trying to attack every single day every single game,” he said. “Right now, we’re learning — trying to get the kinks out, trying to go out there and have some success on the field offensively. Hopefully I can keep learning as we go on.”
And one thing that will help him continue to learn is by having a team and staff that is constantly communicating.
“It’s open communication between all of us — and so for me that helps me out a ton,” Mahomes said. “We try to help each other out every single day between the coaches and the other quarterbacks, and I feel like as the process has gone on, we’ve learned more and more. We’re just going to keep making adjustments and trying to make the best play possible.”
One other quarterback in particular — backup Chad Henne, who has 11 years of experience in the league — will be extremely helpful for Mahomes this season.
“I feel like [Henne is] a veteran guy who’s been around a ton of different offenses. He knows what he likes, and knows how to explain what he’s seeing out there on the field — and that’s something that’s going to help me out a ton as the season goes on.”
And if it’s not Henne that’s challenging Mahomes by pushing him to be better and giving him advice. It’s head coach Andy Reid.
“He challenges me. He makes sure that I’m on my best stuff, and really making sure that i’m really studying and learning,” Mahomes said. “For him to get me up there to do the plays is something he’s going to keep doing — keep trying to challenge me and keep making me prepare myself for those moments.”
Now, with the next three preseason games coming into view, Mahomes is excited to get back out there with his star-studded offensive unit, and try and get the ball into their hands.
“I’m extremely excited. We have a great unit and a lot of offensive linemen back,” Mahomes said. “We have slot guys, we have tight ends and running backs. So, it really is a great unit of offensive personnel, and for me, it’s to go out there and try to get it in their hands and let them make the plays.”