Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid joined Mike Florio and former quarterback Chris Simms on NBC Sports’ Pro Football Talk set in Phoenix, Arizona, on Wednesday (which you can watch in full above or by clicking here).
Whether it be because of the national stage, a relaxed setting or something else, I always find the interviews with Reid away from Kansas City tend to be better, and this was no different.
After some initial questions we’ve heard before regarding Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Florio and Simms asked about when Reid truly knew that Mahomes was a different type of player. Reid told an anecdote about former Chief and now-Indianapolis Colt Justin Houston.
“He did one of those no-look jobs in practice early and Justin Houston went this way and the ball went that way. Justin looked over—and you could always tell with players. When players go, ‘Man this dude’s the real deal,’ [you’re] pretty sure that’s the case. So Justin, really, he went, ‘Listen, this guy’s unbelievable. That thing he just did right there, you just don’t see.’”
Continuing on the topic of Mahomes, the duo asked Reid about what steps he will take to improve upon his MVP season in 2018. Mahomes had 50 touchdowns and 12 interceptions while throwing for more than 5,000 yards.
“The second year, these great defensive minds of the NFL have a chance to go back and look at him and study [Mahomes],” Reid said. “At the same time, he has an opportunity to study himself and so those cutups that we’ve put together and gone through as a staff and critiqued and change here or there, that’s going to be so beneficial to him this second year. He’ll handle it the right way. Sometimes, guys get complacent. That’s not his nature. He’ll keep driving it—he wants to be a great player and that’s how he’s wired. That’ll be the challenge this offseason, and he’s got little things. You’re always working on a feet—that’s a continuous thing. That’s like being a farmer, right? The work’s never done there. You’re going to keep working that ultimate platform to throw from, and so no matter who’s chasing or how you have to move off a 3-technique, whatever it might be. He’s great with all that stuff, at working it, and he’ll continue to do that.”
Florio then brought up in-game situations from last season in which Mahomes shined as a playmaker. Rather than always staying in the pocket, Mahomes bounced around, sometimes taking the scenic route in what led to a big play or first down. There were several hold-your-breath moments.
Florio asked how Reid manages Mahomes, keeping in mind that sometimes the play won’t look pretty, but more times than not, he’ll get the job done.
“I learned that with Brett (Favre),” Reid said. “Nothing was pretty but when the ball came out it was a beautiful thing. His consistency was the chin to the shoulder on his follow-through and he and Johnny Unitas were the two guys that really had that. But Brett was all over the place with his feet and arm angles and everything else, but when the follow-throughs came, it was kind of the same. A little bit like Arnold Palmer or Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods. You look at those guys—the backswing’s different but when the club-head hits, it’s perfect. It gets to the same point. With the quarterback, I don’t care about all that stuff. I don’t care how it looks. I’m not trying to change his game—that’s why we brought him there. We saw at Texas Tech the same thing you guys saw, so you leave that alone and you get enough reps with him—if there’s a problem, let’s fix that problem. Let’s go in and sort it out and see what we can do with a couple extra reps and maybe a tweak here or there.”
One of the non-Mahomes topics Pro Football Talk covered with Reid included the Chiefs’ push for equal number of possessions in overtime. As a painful reminder, the Chiefs lost the AFC title game, 37-31, with Mahomes never having an opportunity to touch the football.
“When you have a great quarterback, you’d love to have that ball, that opportunity. And there are ways around it. I think the fans would love it. You get in those playoffs and you can’t tell me that if that Patriot game went on a little bit longer that people would turn it off.”
The league has since “tabled” the Chiefs’ proposal until May. One of the interview’s final questions involved wide receiver Tyreek Hill, but had nothing to do with the off-the-field situation. Simms wanted to know if Hill was the fastest player Reid had ever had the opportunity to coach.
“I was blessed also to coach DeSean Jackson, and so those two can giddy-up and go now,” Reid said. “I think you’re splitting hairs. They’re both very, very fast. I like testing their speed. I don’t mind — let’s go. Take five-hitch and throw it as far as you can throw it. Let’s see if we can complete it. Both guys are fast.”
Florio and Simms ask if Reid ever considered starting Mahomes as a rookie, more on Brett Favre similarities and what offensive plans he has in store for 2019. Watch the full video above or click here.