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Patrick Mahomes preseason game three: something good, something bad

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One good and one bad takeaway from Mahomes’ final game of the preseason.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Chicago Bears Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

This is part one of a three part weekly film analysis on the performance of Patrick Mahomes.


It wasn’t all doom and gloom in the Windy City for the Kansas City Chiefs. There were still moments to build off of. One of them was the spurts of great play from Patrick Mahomes.

It was not all perfect for the kid, and we have some issues we’ll address this week. However, with streaks of six and eight completions within two and a half quarters of play, there were some positives to his performance.

Something good

There’s been a lot of talk about Reid wanting Mahomes to figure out what he can get away with in the offense. I think that’s necessary. It looks like he can get away with this.

We’re not used to a quarterback aggressively attacking the deepest route of a sprint out concept. The Chiefs incorporate play action and have Travis Kelce sealing on this play. Sammy Watkins runs a whip route (sell short in-breaking route, whip back out of it), Demetrius Harris runs a crossing route from the opposite side of the field and Tyreek Hill runs a deep comeback. Typically on a sprint out concept like this, the quarterback is reading from high to low.

The field safety has a chance to undercut the throw to Hill, but when he steps toward Harris, Mahomes feels confident enough to deliver the ball before he can. If I was a betting man, I’d say Mahomes manipulated the safety to commit to Harris enough to give himself a bigger window. He seems to throttle down slightly on the sprint out to let Harris get across, and I bet his eyes were there as well. It was a nice job by the quarterback to be on time with the ball, with velocity and placement on the outside shoulder of Hill, making it harder for the safety to contest it

The same way Mahomes is figuring out what he can get away with, I think Andy Reid is as well. This is a simple, one side for the quarterback. Mahomes is proving capable of hitting the deepest option on the play. I wonder if some of these lessons will allow Reid to starting seeing if he can push the depths and limits of some of these simple concepts for the kid.

Something bad

Remember how cool The Throw was? Me too. We are in awe of Mahomes’ arm talent on a weekly basis. It allows him to do some truly special things. He can get away with more than just about everyone on the planet from that perspective. The problem is, it has allowed him to get away with things in the past that will become increasingly hard to sustain.

This ball didn’t have to be inaccurate. He had a clean pocket to work in, he had time to establish a better base than what he did. This is lazy footwork. For his entire existence as a quarterback, Mahomes has been able to throw with above-average accuracy from less than stable platforms. While he still can do that when necessary, he also does it at times he doesn’t have to.

Mahomes needed to open up his hips more to the out route. The ball typically goes where your hips are aligned and in this case they were too closed. What’s more Mahomes is falling away from the throw. It’s hard to be accurate when those two things come together. The degree of difficulty was unnecessarily increased when it didn’t have to be.

Efficiency and consistency has to continue to be a focal point of Mahomes’ development. We’ll be talking more about that later this week.


Quarterback anecdotes

Every week I’m going to add a quick note about something I’ve picked up about the quarterback position through my time learning the game.

There’s a checklist of things that quarterbacks and coaches alike are trying to identify in their preparation for next week’s opponent. We’d be quizzed at random in practice, waiting to take reps. One of those things is which cornerback is more susceptible to a double move. I would imagine Orlando Scandrick might be high on Phillip Rivers’ list after Saturday’s game.