Thursday’s preason finale resulted in the first NFL start for Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. And Mahomes generated rave reviews for a seeing-eye rocket launched on the run. It was enough to give Alex Smith the body language of a guy whose body eventually will be spending a lot of time holding a clipboard.
But it wasn’t enough to change the party line in Missouri. Chiefs coach Andy Reid has insisted that Smith remains the starter. On Saturday, G.M. Brett Veach echoed that sentiment.
“Coach made a statement a few days back,” Veach told reporters, “there’s no gray area. Alex is our quarterback. Alex is so far advanced from the mental side of things in regards to his ability to read coverages, to shift to better plays and really play the chess game. He’s so far ahead of what Pat is. I don’t think it’s even close right now. But going back to Pat, the development he has made and the strides he has taken in those departments has exceeded our expectations to this point. So we’re excited where we are and again the longer that Alex and Pat are together, the better we will be.”
That’s what they need to say. The reality, however, is that the Chiefs didn’t invest two first-round picks and a third-round pick on a five-year lease of a Ferrari with no intent of driving it. Alex and Pat will be together for maybe a year. Maybe at some point this year Mahomes will get a chance to do more of what he did on Thursday.
Sure, the Chiefs support Smith. Until they don’t. The moment it’s in their interests not to, they won’t.