Chiefs Rookie QB Patrick Mahomes Talks Playbook, Opportunity and More

Posted May 6, 2017

Mahomes spoke Saturday morning about learning the Chiefs’ playbook and more

Just an hour or so before he took the field for the first practice of his NFL career, Patrick Mahomes, the Kansas City Chiefs’ first-round pick, took a second to reflect upon the fact that he had put on an NFL jersey for the first time in his career earlier that morning.

“It meant the world to me,” Mahomes, who chose the No. 15 to wear because it was his old basketball number from high school, explained. “The dream is coming true. It’s just the start, but at the same time, you’re in the NFL.

“It’s hard to believe, but you’re here, and that’s something not a lot of people get to experience.”

Mahomes, who was drafted with the No. 10 overall pick after the Chiefs traded up 17 spots to select him, was joined by the five other members of the Chiefs’ 2017 draft class, along with 63 others for the start of the Chiefs’ three-day rookie minicamp.

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It was Mahomes’ first opportunity to get on the field with his draft class, and it was also his first opportunity to show the coaching staff how much he’d learned in the 16 hours he had the Chiefs’ voluminous playbook in his possession.

Mahomes was given the Chiefs’ playbook Friday night. The team took the field Saturday at 1:20 p.m. after an install meeting and walkthrough in the morning.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid spoke of the challenge Mahomes faces in learning the playbook.

It’s the verbiage part,” Reid explained. “We know he can throw the football. It’s a matter of getting in, getting the verbiage down, the formations and making sure he’s comfortable with that.

“It’s a good period for him to learn.”

When asked how much they’ll throw at these guys during this minicamp in regards to the playbook, which includes more than 400 passing plays, Reid said they’re careful not to overdo it right now.

“We give them enough where we think that they can handle,” Reid explained. “[Mahomes] is a smart kid, so it might be a couple more (things from the playbook thrown at him) than what you might have if you didn’t have that (intelligence).

“You try to find a balance there where you’re still challenging them, but they can function.”

When asked if he had any tips for them, Reid said everyone learns differently.

“There’s no easy way,” Reid explained. “You have to get in there, get in front of the mirror and call the stuff. If you’re having to repeat it in front of the mirror, you’re probably going to have a problem when you get out there.

“There’s no easy way around that. It doesn’t matter who it is – you have to get the verbiage down.”

Mahomes, who said he crammed all night, is just as concerned with understanding the bigger picture what it means than simply regurgitating the words of a play call.

“The words are pretty difficult, but you get those down,” Mahomes explained. “It’s about knowing what’s happening when you say the words. You can’t just say them and not know what’s going on. For me, it’s all about knowing what’s going on in the entire play and knowing why coach is calling this play.

“It’s a whole new experience when you come in and you’re trying to learn a new playbook. At the same time, you have to be reading the defenses. You have to really make sure you know what’s going on so you can read defenses and make the right plays.”

Mahomes said his process to learn the playbook is predominantly visual.

“It’s a ton of writing down,” he explained. “I’ll write the same play down three or four times until it sticks in my head. That’s the biggest thing for me. I will use notecards and go through the formations and stuff like that.

“I’ve voice-recorded myself, got in front of the mirror and all of that stuff. I feel like I make the calls and say the stuff the right way, but it’s about operation and making it go smooth.”

During Saturday’s practice, there were a handful of throws from Mahomes that displayed the kind of arm talent that had the NFL Draft world buzzing, and Chiefs fans fawning.

But perhaps more importantly, Mahomes stayed after practice with a few guys to get some more work done on the field. That’s as good of a sign as anything that happened on the field during practice. He's ready to work.

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