The Chiefs have made a significant investment in rookie quarterback Patrick Mahomes. But they still plan, at least for now, to entrust the starting job to veteran Alex Smith. And they hope that Smith will be willing to help tutor the man who eventually will take over.
“The thing you know about our team, and it really doesn’t matter what the position is, guys are willing to help,” coach Andy Reid told reporters on Monday, at the conclusion of the team’s rookie minicamp. “That’s a ‘Catch-22’ by [Smith] knows [Mahomes is] going to be right behind him. . . . [Smith] sure can help and he will. That’s how he’s wired. But he’s also going to get himself ready to roll.”
The Chiefs have officially commenced the process of getting Mahomes ready to roll.
“We saw him come in and improve every day that he was here with his verbiage and his footwork,” Reid said. “Does he have a ways to go? Absolutely. But the nice thing about him is that we found out that he likes to work and that’s the big thing. . . . He had great questions. He studies hard. If he doesn’t know it, he’s going to ask you and then he’s going to go do it. He doesn’t make the same mistake over and over. That’s a plus.”
Reid also has seen leadership qualities in the rookie.
“Great quarterbacks make everyone around them better,” Reid said. “They take charge of that huddle and if an alignment is not right, which you saw him out there moving guys around, you’ve got to be able to do that. You’ve got to make all the guys in that huddle better.”
Mahomes also needs to focus on making his footwork better.
“He’s getting his drop down,” Reid said. “That’s a tough deal even if you’ve done it in college. That’s not part of that offense [at Texas Tech]. To get the drop down, according to the play, which each play has a couple different options where you can go with the football, you have to read the coverage on top of it and the last part of it is that you have to know the guy that you’re throwing to.”
And so it’s going to take time, which Mahomes and the Chiefs have. It’s also going to take help from Smith, which Reid believes Smith will be willing to provide. To a point.