First things first: Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is fine, albeit a bit shaken up, after he and his friends were held up at (assumed) gunpoint. Although it’s not clear if the two men who robbed him and his three friends actually brandished a weapon or not, police apprehended the suspects and — most importantly — Mahomes and his crew were unharmed.
Shutdown Corner spoke with Mahomes late Thursday after his frightening incident and said he’s thankful nothing worse happened.
“I can’t get into all the details of it,” Mahomes told SDC by phone while attending the NFLPA Rookie Premiere weekend in California. “It’s an open investigation and all that. But I am just glad that my friends and I are all safe. I am happy the police got the suspect fast. Everyone is safe, which is most important.”
The one detail he could share: It appeared to be a random act. Mahomes said neither he nor his friends knew the men in question who allegedly held them up and robbed them before being captured shortly thereafter.
Now Mahomes says he’s thankful to put that scary deal behind him and focus on what lies ahead. Namely, his exciting NFL future, but one he knows he must be patient with. Although the Chiefs made a dramatic move to trade up in Round 1 and land Mahomes with the 10th overall pick, he likely will sit and watch behind Alex Smith for the foreseeable future.
When Mahomes takes over is anyone’s guess. It could be in 2018. Still, he’s signing autographs in L.A. with Panini America and taking pictures for the first time in his new Chiefs uniform. Fun note: he adds “2 PM” to his name, as he’s Patrick II — son of the former Major League Baseball pitcher, Pat Mahomes.
After that, the work really begins in earnest. For now, Mahomes says he only knows one way to prepare for his exciting but unknown future — even if it begins with him being a backup to start.
“Alex Smith is the quarterback right now. I know that,” Mahomes said. “I know I just need to come in dive into the film, get my work in on the practice field and wait my turn.”
Smith reached out to Mahomes shortly after he was picked to help diffuse the potential awkwardness, and the Texas Tech rookie appreciated the gesture. And it’s not as if both couldn’t see this possibly coming. Chiefs coaches watched film of Mahomes (and other draft QB prospects) with Smith, and Mahomes said Thursday he suspected the Chiefs were a strong possibility for a landing spot.
“I wanted to go to Kansas City,” he said. “That was the team I wanted the most. You hope it happens, but you don’t know. But yeah, I had a feeling they could be the one. Right now, that excitement has turned into focus on learning the playbook, working as hard as possible and being a good teammate. That’s literally all I am focused on. That’s what I am here to do.
“When you have a leader like that, someone who has the team’s best interests in mind, that’s huge. He knows every aspect of the game and can help everything work smoothly. He’s a leader and a starting quarterback, so that respect is automatic. He said he’ll take me under his wing, and I really can’t wait to start learning from him.”
And certainly both Smith and Mahomes have been in similar situations before. Smith had to endure being replaced by Colin Kaepernick on Jim Harbaugh’s San Francisco 49ers teams, watching them go to a Super Bowl with someone else throwing passes. Mahomes beat out Davis Webb for the Red Raiders’ starting job, and the two had to put aside any personal feelings and continue to push each other and be supportive knowing only one man can hold the starting QB job.
“It was tough, but we are still friends because of it,” Mahomes said if Webb, who was drafted in Round 3 by the New York Giants after he played his final season at Cal. “He’s actually out here at the Rookie Premiere with me, and we sat together in groups and stuff like that. The relationship is still strong because of the way we handled all that.”
Mahomes had some comments taken out of context when he noted how tough the challenge of learning the Chiefs’ playbook would be, but he says he just wanted to note how much work will go into switching from the “Air Raid” offense in which he played in college to the scheme Andy Reid will have him try to master.
“When I said that, I was trying to get across that, it wasn’t that the playbook was hard but that I was undertaking a new challenge, and that I knew it was something that was going to take a while and something I would be better at tomorrow than I was today,” Mahomes said. “Every rep, every mental rep, you get better at it. But it’s a process and you don’t know until you start doing it, and do it to where there’s no second guessing at all.”
As for that college offense he ran, Mahomes wants to dispel the rumor that it was chock full of predetermined reads, screens and half-field reads. Really, he says, there was a lot going on that he had to determine pre-snap that few really got to see.
“I had full control of that offense,” he said. “I could check out of stuff based on the coverage, stuff like that. Earning that control takes time. You have to show you can know everything that’s thrown at you. But there really was very little that was [predetermined], some [half-field reads] but a lot of decision-making at the line, pre-snap to where I had to get everyone on the same page.”
Many have compared Mahomes to Brett Favre, whom Reid coached, for their gunslinging, freewheeling styles. At times, Favre drove Reid nuts when they were together as player and coach early in their career together. But it has been noted that Reid has been chasing the ghost of Favre ever since then, hoping to find his next unicorn QB.
Has Reid found a Favre clone in Mahomes? Perhaps — with a cannon arm and a flair for the dramatic, there is some obvious overlap. Heck, Mahomes threw for 734 yards against Oklahoma and had the ball in his hands 100 times that game — 88 pass attempts and 12 rushes — and said he “never got tired and wanted to play even more.” Mahomes even threw a lefthanded pass in that game, which is about as Favre as a QB can get.
But the rookie knows he has to rein it in at times, too, and that Reid can help him do that.
“Sometimes you just have to take what the defense gives you,” Mahomes said. “I don’t play a certain way just to play that way. I’ve always felt I’ve tried to give my team the best chance to win. I’m just honored any one person would compare me to [Favre], and that gunslinger mentality is probably a big reason why.
“You have to have the guts to make certain throws, try certain things. But you also have to play smart and not just take chances just to take chances. There has to be some thought behind it. You sometimes have to tone it down, and that’s what watching [Alex Smith] and being coached by Coach Reid will help [me do].”
There’s a chance Mahomes might not play this season. This will be tough, especially with two of the Chiefs’ games — at the Dallas Cowboys and at the Houston Texans — that lie a few hundred miles from where Mahomes grew up. He also said he’ll be closely watching the other quarterbacks in the 2017 draft class, with whom he’s gotten close and built a bond, knowing that others could get their cracks to start before him.
But Mahomes said he willing to let it all play out and that hard daily work, the grind that few see, will be his method of coping until he’s handed the ball.
“Yeah, I am going to keep an eye on all those other guys,” Mahomes said. “But what they do has no effect on what I do. I’ll compete every day for the Chiefs. I’ll push Alex and try to be as ready as I can as soon as possible. That’s what I’ll be doing. What they do with their teams, I’ll be watching from [afar], but it’s not anything that will change how my team thinks of me.”
– – – – – – –