"There's still room for a ton of improvement."
That was the overarching message from Kansas City Chiefs' second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes when he spoke with the media Wednesday afternoon at the team's training complex.
Mahomes is four games into his NFL career and he's handling weekly press conferences like a 10-year veteran, and it's not because he's some polished media savant, he's just being real about what he's accomplishing as one member of an offense that's become the talk of the NFL right now.
And despite a record-breaking start to the season, which is highlighted by an NFL-record 13 touchdown passes through the first three games, Mahomes is just as open about the plays he's not making as the ones we've all watched on repeat each week.
"There's still stuff that I might not go to the right read or we might have a bust in the route running, protection might break down, and that just speaks to the guys we have who can still make plays," Mahomes added. "We've been compared to some of those (all-time great NFL offenses), but it's still early in the season. We've still got to do a lot of things and prove a lot of things."
The Chiefs' offense is currently on pace to break the NFL's scoring record of 606 points, which was set by the 2013 Denver Broncos. They averaged 37.8 points per game that season, while the Chiefs are currently averaging 39.6 through three games.
It's obviously early for that kind of discussion, but it does provide context of how special the start to this season has been for Mahomes, who has made only four career starts but has already shown a tremendous ability to make plays inside and outside of the pocket.
Per Pro Football Focus, Mahomes has completed 79.4 percent of his passes and 10 of his 13 touchdowns have come when he's thrown the ball in less than 2.5 seconds, which is good for a passer rating of 149.7.
So, for all that's made of his ridiculous play against the 49ers when he scrambled around and then threw a missile to Chris Conley in the back of the end zone, the majority of his damage has been on quick, calculated throws that quickly get the ball into the hands of his playmakers.
"He's not trying to be the hero or do all of that," Chiefs head coach Andy Reid explained. "That's not his deal, he's trying to play the position within the offense and do his thing. If things don't work out, then he moves around and get it in his guys hands as fast as he can. He has a pretty good feel for that."
As has been mentioned often over the last 17 months since Mahomes first arrived in Kansas City, the fact that he had a father who played Major League Baseball for 10 years helped him develop an understanding of not only what it takes to find and achieve success, but also how to handle it, which is a key for him moving forward.
It's the first and most obvious question for any young player who hits this level of success this early in their career, and it's not something his teammates seem to be worried about.
"He's the same guy every day," center Mitch Morse explained. "He just shows up and works. Nothing has really changed."
"It's about today and what you're doing. Not what you've done," Reid noted of what he's seen from his young quarterback and his mindset. "He gets that right now, and I wouldn't expect that to change."
"I think as quarterback and as a football player you always want to get better," Mahomes added. "When you go into a game and you miss a throw, it's something where you feel bad about that. You can always regret missing it, but as a football player you have to move on to the next play.
"Whenever you get back and look at the film you make sure you learn from those mistakes and try not to make them again."
Mahomes hasn't thrown an interception this season and has twice been named the AFC's Offensive Player of the Week through three weeks, but he's constantly mentioning his "mistakes."
He's not satisfied, and it doesn't seem like he will be any time soon, if ever.