Last year as a rookie, Patrick Mahomes said he was prouder of the times at practice in which he got the protection calls right than he was when he’d make a great throw down the field.
Mahomes was more concerned with understanding his role in the grand scheme of the offense—most notably the mental side and the responsibilities that come along with playing the position—than he was the physical side of the game that simply comes naturally to him.
He knows he can make a lot of throws that many other quarterbacks simply can’t make, but he also knows it doesn’t really matter if he doesn’t understand how to adjust protections when necessary because he won’t have time to make those kinds of throws in the first place.
And during the Chiefs’ offseason workouts this year, coach Andy Reid intentionally took it up another notch in that area in testing Mahomes’ understanding of that part of the game.
“We wanted to come in and make sure we challenged him,” Reid explained of Mahomes. “I thought he handled that very well. One of the big things for young kids is just the blitz game, so we put a big emphasis on that and tried to give him a lot of different looks there.
“(Chiefs’ Defensive Coordinator) Bob [Sutton] can do that. He’s got a pretty good package with blitzes. I thought [Mahomes] handled that very well, even better than I expected.”
It’s an area Mahomes also said he thought he handled well and he knows it’ll really help him when the season rolls around.
“I feel like it is going to help me a ton during the season,” Mahomes explained. “[Sutton] is working on their defenses and different stuff they can show. It helps me learn what I can do against certain defenses that I might not see but once or twice a year.”
During these practices, a lot of those blitzes the defense would run would lead to chatter between the offensive and defensive players after the play was over. The guys would argue whether or not Mahomes was “sacked” before he made a throw.
Even without contact, the competitive juices were always flowing.
There were several instances when veteran outside linebacker Justin Houston and Mahomes would have some friendly banter back-and-forth after a play was over.
Players and coaches put in work on the second day of Chiefs Minicamp
Now, as Mahomes and his teammates get set to take a little break before reporting to training camp in about five weeks, Reid said he didn’t have to give much of a pep talk to his young quarterback on how to be ready by the time camp gets here.
“You don’t have to worry a lot about him in those areas,” Reid noted. “I’m not worried that he’s not going to look at his playbook or those things. That’s not where he’s at. I want him to step back for a minute and then he can do what he needs to do with that part of it. He’s not one of those guys, like Alex [Smith], he was the same way and that’s who he learned from.
“[Mahomes] isn’t one of these guys that you’re going to have to remind to be asked to work. That’s not how he goes.”
Earlier this offseason, Mahomes organized work with the rest of the guys on his own—scheduling throwing sessions at local high schools with the other offensive skill position players, and it’s something he’s already started talking about doing again with the guys over the next few weeks before camp.
“I’ll try to throw with everybody I can,” Mahomes explained. “You want to make sure you keep that connection and rhythm down. It might not be a ton because guys want to get their legs back and get ready for camp.”
Based on what we saw from Mahomes and the rest of the offense during OTAs and minicamp, there shouldn’t be a lack of interest in fans coming up to training camp later this summer to see a sneak peak of the show.
“You’re optimistic about it and there’s some young talent there that’s unknown,” Reid noted. “We’re all anxious to see how that develops, but let’s let it develop and let’s see how it goes. It’s exciting.”