“Patrick has been through this for a year now, not only training camp but also the season,” Reid told reporters on Sunday. “He was lucky enough to be in a great room last year with not only great coaches but also great players. . . . Are there going to be growing pains and all that stuff that go on? Sure, he’s a young guy that’s learning the game. We’re here to teach him and that’s what we’ll do and he’s here to learn and then go play and have fun doing it.”
Part of the fun will include allowing him to take chances with his skills, which include a rocket arm that can be deployed with lightning quickness, on the run.
“You surely don’t want to stifle that at all,” Reid said. “One thing that he is blessed with is he has good vision, so you don’t ever want to stifle that and put him in a box with that. Allow him to see. Is there going to be a hiccup here or there? Yeah, there’s going to be a hiccup here or there, but you don’t want to stifle that at all. We’ll see how that goes and monitor as it goes. We don’t miss much, but we’ll continue to teach.”
Reid was careful to praise former Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, and Reid declined to compare the two players.
“I would never get into one over the other, that’s just not where I am at,” Reid said. “Alex was phenomenal and will continue to be phenomenal. . . . We feel very lucky to have Pat and to be able to step in and watch him grow here. Let’s see how he does. He can’t be in any better place than with the Kansas City Chiefs and I know he’s fired up about that.”
Reid plans to use training camp to build on the progress Mahomes made during the offseason program.
“He had a learning period that took place during the OTAs,” Reid said of Mahomes. “Let’s not back up. Let’s keep moving forward with that. Now in these live periods it will be a little bit faster than what you had in the OTAs because of that. With the pads on, which we weren’t able to do, let’s see what you can do. Let’s work through it. Let’s not be hesitant. If there’s an interception here or there let’s learn from it. Let’s challenge the offense, not only the player, but challenge yourself within the offense and see what you can get away with. If there’s an interception we will fix that, but don’t hesitate. If you see it, let’s shoot it and go.”
Ultimately, Reid wants to let Mahomes play the game the way he played it at Texas Tech — the way that prompted the Chiefs to trade up to No. 10 to get Mahomes, leaving 2017 rookie phenom Deshaun Watson on the board in the process.
“He’s a good person and carries himself the right way,” Reid said. “He does that with his teammates. He is a humble guy who loves to play the game and plays it aggressively. Normally you appreciate those guys. I wouldn’t expect that to change. I would encourage him not to change that part.”
Even if it may take some time for Mahomes to learn the limits of his abilities, Reid doesn’t seem to be inclined to restrict Mahomes in any way. That will definitely make for some exciting times for the Chiefs, and it will help push Mahomes more quickly than otherwise toward his NFL ceiling, whatever it may be.
Given Reid’s history of getting the absolute most out of his quarterbacks, Mahomes could be hitting his ceiling sooner than later.