Everyone knows it’s just a matter of time before Patrick Mahomes supplants Alex Smith as the quarterback of the Chiefs. And even though Smith is having one of the best years of his carer, anticipation is building for the debut of Mahomes.
Fueling the anticipation? High praise from key offensive players like tight end Travis Kelce.
“Pat’s right there trying to learn everything he can from Alex and Alex is trying to help him out as much as he can,” Kelce said in an interview that aired on Wednesday’s PFT Live. “But I think what Alex has done best is he’s been running this offense to a ‘T.’ So he’s showing Patrick just how to execute it and what Mahomes does in practice is just unbelievable. I mean what kind of behind-the-scenes stuff that you guys haven’t seen on Sundays is Mahomes is getting better, getting more fluent, getting more comfortable just being a professional athlete and understanding the scheme and the timing, how long the seasons are, stuff like that. He’s gauging all this stuff and I think when he gets on the field eventually knowing that he is going to get the keys to the car eventually, everyone knows that, and when he does I can’t wait to see just how good he is.”
That assessment makes an inherently awkward situation even more potentially awkward, but Smith continues to help his potential replacement prepare to replace him.
“I mean, Alex is the ultimate leader,” Kelce said. “He’s the ultimate competitor but at the same time he’s the ultimate teammate. That’s what the best leaders do is that they make guys around them better, and right now he’s helping Mahomes understand just how to be an NFL professional. Alex knows how it feels to have that much pressure and really not have that much success in your first couple years. So I mean for him to go through all of that I’m sure he would hate to see Mahomes have to go through what he went through at San Fran. I think it was six or seven offensive coordinators over there that he had before he came to Kansas City. He went through the works over there and I honestly think that he’s the ultimate teammate and embraces that, ‘You know what? While I’m here I’m still ballin, I’m still doing my thing, I know this is my ship to drive right now and why not help out the future and help out this kid grasp his professionalism?'”
For now, the most professional thing Mahomes can do is show patience, which has to be a challenge given that the quarterbacks taken eight spots ahead of Mahomes and two spots after Mahomes are starting and playing well. At some point, however, Mahomes may be one of the quarterbacks about whom many will be raving.
And Smith will likely be showing true leadership and excellence with yet another NFL team.