KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Patrick Mahomes was drifting to his left and unable to step into a throw at a recent Kansas City Chiefs practice, but by merely flicking his wrist, Mahomes still got off a pass to backup wide receiver Gehrig Dieter for a touchdown.
The Chiefs have seen Mahomes successfully make an unusual throw many times, both in practice and games. That doesn’t mean they’ve become hardened to it. Such plays still inspire awe even from a veteran coach like Andy Reid.
“I appreciate his talents,” Reid said afterward. “I remind the coaches often that that just doesn’t happen all the time, with every quarterback. But he makes it look easy and does it time after time. You don’t ever get complacent or satisfied with those. You enjoy each one of them.”
Reid gives him his blessing to try some of these passes and Mahomes often obliges.
“There have been times where I’ve made these throws and they worked out and we scored touchdowns,” Mahomes said. “Then I threw one one day that was an easy interception. He lets you try those different things and you just learn from them, see what you can and can’t do. It helps me when I get into a game. I know what I can do and what I can’t.
“I try to find a way to find ways to get the ball to the receivers the quickest way possible.”
These types of plays are one reason offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy recently called Mahomes a “competitive p—k.”
“He wants to improve at everything he possibly can improve upon,” Bieniemy said. “He wants to be the best at whatever he can do. And along the way, he wants to make sure that he’s leading the guys. He wants to be held accountable by his peers . . . that’s what you love about being around him every single day.”
Neither Mahomes nor Reid took offense.
“I’m going to go out there and compete every single rep and I’m going to have that fire every single time,” Mahomes said.
Reid said: “We get to see it every day. We get to see how competitive he is. It’s something that the fans only get to see on game days. We get to see it every day. He keeps practice alive, challenges the defense and really makes everybody around him better just by his attitude and how he goes about it. If you talk to people, he probably competes in everything he does.”
Rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, the Chiefs’ first-round draft pick, said he saw some impressive throws at LSU last season from teammate Joe Burrow, who won the Heisman Trophy. But he said the things he’s seen from Mahomes so far at camp are on a different level.
He cited a recent play in practice as an example.
“The play looked just completely shut down,” Edwards-Helaire said. “Nobody looked open and he tossed it up and all of a sudden Tyreek [Hill] came out of nowhere and they completed a pass and it went for 45 yards or whatever it was.
“It’s a little special.”
Those kinds of plays can be demoralizing to a defense.
“Look, he’s going to make those plays,” Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said. “I think our guys understand that. But it does challenge us to be sure. When he’s scrambling around, our thing is you have to plaster the receivers so that everybody finds someone and you try to keep the quarterback contained. It’s a great challenge for us because we’re going to face certainly in the first three games quarterbacks similar with athletic ability and able to make those kinds of plays. So it’s good for us.”
“Oh yeah, it’s a lot of help,” defensive end Tanoh Kpassagnon said of facing Mahomes in practice. “That guy can run, he will bounce out of the pocket, he’ll go 10 yards back down the field, and he’ll throw some crazy sidearm ball. Those are plays that you expect from those top tier quarterbacks. I really feel like that helps us as a defense, as a whole, to prepare.”