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Patrick Mahomes sees improvement, confirms he’s not playing hurt

The quarterback acknowledged the 2021 season is a work-in-progress while also assuring he is 100% healthy.

NFL: New York Giants at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Over Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ four years as Kansas City’s starter, fans have grown accustomed to him being among the league’s best in both passer rating and quarterback rating, but he has had his struggles this season, finding himself out of the top 10 in both categories.

The worst stat of all is that Mahomes leads the league with 10 interceptions through eight games after having 11 total through 2019 and 2020.

While the Chiefs’ 20-17 Monday Night Football win over the New York Giants was by no means perfect, it was a small step forward for the offense and, in particular, Mahomes, who did throw another pick but finished 29 of 48 for 275 yards and a touchdown.

“I feel like I did a better job of kind of getting into the pocket and being in the pocket,” said Mahomes, before outlining the negative. “I still feel like my base wasn’t the way I wanted it to be. There were times where I was high on my toes, which is never good at the quarterback position, so that’s stuff I’ll have to work on this week and just be better mechanically. Whenever I’m better mechanically and making those throws, the other stuff comes with it.”

Headlines this week presented a question as to whether or not the quarterback is entirely healthy, reminding readers of the turf toe surgery he underwent at the beginning of this past offseason.

Mahomes appeared to be limping during a portion of the game against New York.

“Yeah, I feel fine,” he confirmed. “I was limping because I landed awkwardly out of bounds when I was running there, so just trying to make sure it was all good. I feel fine, I’m ready to go, and I mean, that’s what you do in football. You go out there and play.”

Mahomes outlined what he needed to improve after the Chiefs’ 27-3 loss to the Titans — he wanted to be better in the pocket, improve his footwork and get his timing down.

Chiefs coordinator Eric Bieniemy saw progress in the narrow win over the Giants.

“Here’s what I see — I see his confidence and his leadership,” said Bienienmy. “And the thing about it: we just don’t want him second-guessing anything that he does. Yes, I’ll say it again. No one wants him to go out there and throw any picks, OK? No one wants him to second-guess things that he’s done that has helped him to achieve the status that he’s achieved, but when it’s all said and done, we just need to make sure we’re doing the necessary things to help us to be productive.”

It sounds like the Chiefs have gone back to the fundamentals a bit with Mahomes.

“It starts with taking the snap,” said Bieniemy. “When he’s dropping back, making sure he’s evaluating everything in coverage, and then on top of that, just making sure he’s making the correct read.

“I’m not worried about Pat. I’m just worried about us collectively as a unit making sure that we’re playing the team ball that needs to be played... The kid is a unique kid. He’s a special kid, and he’s very aware of the mistakes that he makes.”

This Sunday, Mahomes will look to build on that momentum in Kansas City’s matchup against the Green Bay Packers.