On Tuesday, it was Mahomes’ turn to speak following training camp practice at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph. The reigning league MVP described how working so many new players into the team’s offense in 2022 — en route to a Super Bowl championship — helped him become the player he is.
“I think it just helped with me being able to teach the guys what I want,” Mahomes recalled, “and Coach Reid gave me the freedom to do that. Obviously, we do some stuff out there [where] there might be some mistakes. We go in the film room, and Coach Reid lets me talk a lot.”
While Kelce putting the quarterback on par with a coach closing in on 250 regular-season wins is hyperbolic, Mahomes does realize that on-the-field coaching is increasingly crucial to his position.
“Obviously, [Reid] is going to get his point across because he’s the master of the offense,” observed Mahomes. “But he can let the guys hear it from me — and give me the freedom to do that. And then [when] we do the walkthroughs? Same thing.
“Having that experience last year with a lot of new guys, I can kind of talk through it and have more confidence knowing I’m saying the right thing. The evolution of the quarterback position is being able to learn more — and teach the other guys around you.”
As in 2022, this year’s version of the Chiefs features a number of new pass-catchers. This year’s squad is also undergoing turnover at both tackle positions — and Mahomes is happy to again find himself as the instructor.
“I like to test guys,” he explained, “because I feel like now, I have a good sense of the offense, obviously. So I like to do stuff to see how guys react — if that’s using a lot of cadences throughout practice to see if the offensive line will sit in there with the new guys and be off the ball at the right time, or if that’s with the receivers and others.”
Mahomes then brought up a player who is of interest to many Chiefs fans.
“One time, in the red zone today, with Justyn Ross,” he revealed, “I tried to throw him the fade ball. That’s not something that he necessarily is taught to do — but it’s the next step. [So] let’s try it out here. If he messes up and he doesn’t do it right for the next time, whenever we get to the game days, he’ll do it right and maybe [we] score a touchdown.
“It’s stuff like that: just testing guys — doing that stuff that maybe is not as talked about in the meeting room, but it’s something we do in our offense. This is where you test it out — and Coach Reid gives me the freedom to do that.”
Reid also spoke after Tuesday’s practice. According to the coach, Tuesday turned a page for his camp’s intensity — with a bigger milestone coming later in the week.
“It was good work today,” Reid noted. “The guys were challenging each other. We were able to put the shells on today — and then the practice kicked up to an hour and 55 minutes. We’re continuing to ramp up here. We’ll take a little step back once we get into pads on Friday, but for today and tomorrow, it’ll be that hour and 55 practice with shells.
“I like the tempo [and] I like the challenge that guys are doing. You’re getting good offensive play [and] good defensive play, so they’re busting their tail with each other — and still taking care of business.”
His quarterback has no issue with the longer practices.
“I like it because it kind of feels more of a game-like atmosphere,” said Mahomes. “Obviously, it’s harder, but guys are going to continue to build through. In a game, not everything’s going to be perfect. I think having these little bit longer practices, you go through the ups and downs of practices — and you see how guys respond.
“Obviously, the first one’s a little harder for most guys, but I thought they did a great job of battling through — and we had some positive stuff happen out there.”
Reid is also happy with what he saw from his longest look yet at the team’s new players, though the work is far from done.
“The urgency picked up a little bit today with the shells on,” he claimed, “and they’ll pick up another notch with the pads. It looked like they picked it up a little bit today, and as long as they can do that and hang with the scheme, I think they’re going to be OK. They’ve been good players in the past, and they’ve got good tape. I think they’re going to be OK, but they’ve got to push through. There’s a certain level we expect them to be at.”