Kansas City Chiefs fans are more than a little impatient to see starting quarterback Patrick Mahomes back on the field. With eight games played, the season is now halfway over — and we haven’t seen Mahomes at full strength since the very first game of the season against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Sure... Mahomes has been on the field for all but six quarters of the 32 that have been played. But ever since his ankle was rolled in Week 1, few of those watching thought Mahomes was at his best. He’s started a few games, looking more or less like his normal self — perhaps just a bit more cautious and careful — but each time, once his ankle was exposed to any kind of hit, he was suddenly less than effective.
And each time that happened, the Chiefs struggled. It’s been a significant part of why they are 5-3 instead of 6-2, 7-1 — or even 8-0.
But if you were looking for a glimmer of hope that Mahomes might recover enough from his dislocated kneecap to play against the Minnesota Vikings this Sunday, during his Wednesday meeting with reporters, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid didn’t want to give it to you.
He didn’t mind throwing compliments toward backup quarterback Matt Moore, whose better-than-most-expected performance against the Green Bay Backers in Sunday’s 31-24 loss raised eyebrows in Kansas City — and across the league.
”Listen, I appreciated how he handled his business last week,” said Reid. “I don’t know him as well as maybe the other guys — but I liked what I saw. He goes about it the right way. The players around him have confidence — which ends up being very important.”
Reminded by a questioner that he isn’t a medical doctor — but still probably has a list of things to observe when an injured player is back at practice — Reid didn’t volunteer much.
”Well... movement,” he replied. “We do enough stuff where he’s got to move around, you get a chance to see if he’s moving pretty good. You guys got to see him before our game. He was out there running around.”
During Wednesday’s practice, Mahomes was second in line (behind Moore) in getting quarterback reps. Asked if Mahomes would get more of them if he was making significant progress, Reid was steadfast.
”We’ll see how it goes,” he said.
Might former backup Chad Henne be activated from injured reserve before the Vikings game? Again, Reid stood firm.
”I’ve got to see him work this week,” Reid said. “See how he does.”
Only when he was asked how he would make his decision over which quarterback would play when Minnesota comes to town did Reid finally unleash the torrent of information reporters were seeking.
”We’ll see,” he declared. “We’ll see how it goes. I’m taking it day by day here. Going to watch them do their thing and see how they do.”
We’re obviously having a little fun at Andy Reid’s expense. But the probable truth is that Reid doesn’t really have any idea which quarterbacks will be on the active roster by week’s end — much less which one will start against Minnesota.
This isn’t last week, where there was probably an extremely slim chance Mahomes would be able to play — and a strategic advantage is being coy about it. This week, it’s unlikely Mahomes will be able to play — but there’s at least a significant chance he will; essentially, we’re a bit past Lloyd Christmas in Dumb and Dumber (“So you’re telling me... there’s a chance?).
The Chiefs are likely to be just as anxious to get Mahomes back on the field as their fans — and just as worried about bringing him back too soon.
That adds up to a lot of uncertainty — and in the case of Andy Reid, a healthy dose of, “We’ll see” for the rest of the week.