This week Chiefs head coach Andy Reid announced that he’d be sitting the starters for Sunday’s game against the Broncos, including quarterback Alex Smith. This makes sense; getting rest for the playoffs is important when the game’s outcome won’t influence seeding. However, it also gives Chiefs Kingdom a chance to witness something that some fans have called for since the NFL Draft. We get to see Patrick Mahomes start and evaluate what the rookie quarterback can really bring to the table. The Chiefs will start their first rookie first round pick in over 35 years on Sunday against the Denver Broncos. Here’s some things to look for.
Since Mahomes won’t be playing with the full squad of starters around him, he’ll be at a bit of a disadvantage. The Broncos have a fairly stout defense, which means Pat will have to step up to compensate for playing with backups. However, he developed a rapport with some of the backup receivers in the preseason, including Demarcus Robinson. If he’s allowed to by Coach Reid, expect Mahomes to try out a deep ball or two with his favorite preseason target.
As Chiefs fans are aware, Mahomes has plenty of arm strength and throwing talent. But a good quarterback has to have more. Pat’s success or failure Sunday may depend on if he has the presence of mind to check down, throw the ball away, or get running at the right time. He will benefit from his fantastic maneuverability, which allows him to slip away from sticky situations.
Mahomes played college football at Texas Tech, where he acquired the reputation of being a spread quarterback only. While Andy Reid has incorporated and retained some spread offense elements in Kansas City, the Chiefs still run a pro-style offense for the most part. There are still some doubts about Mahomes’ game. Can he operate fluidly from under center? Can he call the right plays in the huddle and make adjustments at the line? Has he worked on his throwing platform? After watching the preseason, I think he’ll have it…down pat.