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Does Patrick Mahomes make Chiefs’ RPOs more efficient?

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He just might.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Atlanta Falcons Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Arrowhead Pride had the opportunity to ask Football Outsiders five questions about the upcoming season. This week, we’ll talk about all five and provide our reactions.


Will Patrick Mahomes make run-pass options (RPOs) more efficient?

Derrik Klassen with Football Outsiders: “Patrick Mahomes will not make Kansas City any better at the RPOs they already had installed for Alex Smith, but he may open up the offense to a wider variety of RPO concepts. Smith’s best RPO was having the zone-read tagged with a bubble screen to the read side. With this concept, Smith could either hand the ball off, keep the ball himself, or sprint out a few steps to throw the bubble screen. The play was safe, yet provided Smith with a handful of options. Kansas City did not run some of the more aggressive RPOs that the Philadelphia Eagles or Carolina Panthers did, though, due in part to Smith having average arm talent and a bit of a windup to his throwing motion. Mahomes, on the other hand, has outstanding arm strength, a quick throwing motion, and flexibility in his throwing platforms to more easily enable him to transition from the fake hand off to making a throw. In turn, the Chiefs should be able to incorporate concepts such as the counter/post RPO or outside zone/slant RPO that require the quarterback to throw beyond the line of scrimmage.”

My reaction: I agree with the majority of what Klassen had to say here. I anticipate that the Chiefs will utilize more aggressive RPOs with Mahomes at the helm. That should play perfectly with his skill set.

I do believe he made the bubble RPOs more efficient last year, averaging over eight yards per attempt on bubble throws in Week 17 last year. His ability to get rid of the ball so quick can be an important asset on those bunch bubble RPOs.

I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see the Chiefs steal some of the concepts of former offensive coordinator and current Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Peterson. He found some great ways to utilize the concept to align with his talented quarterback and the offensive weapons around him.