Speaking on Day 1 of the team’s mandatory minicamp, new Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster hyped a moment from his new quarterback Patrick Mahomes — one that he witnessed from the sideline.
“Today, he did the no-look pass,” Smith-Schuster recalled, speaking to reporters after practice. “He got me — and I was on the sideline. I guess everyone saw it — because I thought I was the only one who saw it. It got the linebacker [Willie] Gay and threw him off. Everyone thinking he’s going outside, but he went inside. I was just like, ‘Wow!’”
Smith-Schuster: "[Mahomes] got me, and I was on the sideline. And I guess everybody saw it 'cause I thought I was the only one who saw it, but it got Gay, and it threw him off... I was just like, 'Wow.'"— Pete Sweeney (@pgsween) June 14, 2022
Based on his previous experience playing with Mahomes, Smith-Schuster can sympathize with Gay for getting thrown off on the play. After the Pro Bowl two seasons ago, Smith-Schuster is still waiting to catch one of Mahomes’ trademark no-look passes.
“I got one of those, too — in the Pro Bowl where he threw the ball to me — and it went through my hands,” Smith-Schuster admitted. “Because I didn’t expect him to throw the rock to me. He was drawing out right [and] I was coming across the field. He was looking this way down the field, but he threw a bullet straight to me. I was like, ‘OK, that’s Pat for you. That’s what I’ve got to expect.’ I haven’t gotten one yet this training camp — so we’ll see.”
Smith-Schuster also claimed that he did not consider at the time that Mahomes might one day be his actual teammate.
“Back then I was Year 2,” he explained. “I was on a rookie contract. I didn’t think about playing with any quarterback at the time. But I’m here today. I’m blessed and thankful for this organization — and playing with Pat.”
Smith-Schuster comes to Kansas City after five years with the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he played with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger — a likely first-ballot Hall of Fame player. He noted the difference in play between Mahomes and his former quarterback, saying that the biggest one is how long he must stay engaged in a play.
“Ben,” he said, “he threw the ball. He could do pretty much all the stuff. I just feel like Pat — when it gets to the scrambling part — that’s where it’s like, he can throw the ball across the field; he can do this, he can do that. We’re always taught just to stay on the move, because you just never know what you’ll get out of him.”
The emphasis on unscripted plays appears to set the Chiefs apart from his previous experience with the Steelers.
“We have a period where we practice it,” Smith-Schuster observed. “That’s how you know it’s taken very seriously.”
In addition to playing with a second quarterback on a Hall of Fame path, Smith-Schuster will now play for a second Super Bowl-winning head coach: Andy Reid. He discussed how Reid is similar to Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.
“He gives me the Coach Tomlin vibe,” Smith-Schuster said of Reid. “Coach Tomlin’s like a defensive-minded guy. He controls that defensive part. Then I come here — and Andy Reid coaches the offense. He’s in there, telling us what to do. As a head coach, it’s different versus the OC doing it. Not saying the OC doesn’t — I feel like all the coaches do — it’s actually really cool that Andy Reid, he’s the offensive-minded guy. That’s the cool part that I like. There’s more talking to him — he’s really funny. He’s a funny guy, and I like him a lot.”
As he prepares for his first season in Kansas City, Smith-Schuster is very confident about what fans can expect from the Chiefs’ revamped offense, echoing what teammates have said about the transition.
“I think with this offense this year,” he said, “we’ve got so many guys who do so many different things. It’s all around. We’re not just ‘Hey you go here, you go there.’
“Everyone plays every position. Everyone knows what everyone’s doing. I think that helps a lot going into the season. Sky’s the limit. We going to have to show you all this year.”