Eric Fisher says Chiefs can maintain success in Patrick Mahomes’ first year
By Matt Conner
Kansas City Chiefs left tackle Eric Fisher doesn’t believe there will be any drop in success just because the quarterback is in his first year for the team.
Despite two consecutive division titles, the first such run of sustained success in team history, NFL analysts are largely projecting the Kansas City Chiefs to take a step back in 2018.
The primary reason is sitting under center, and no matter how many other changes the Chiefs have made on both sides of the ball, it’s all too common to find those “in the know” picking the Chiefs to give way to the Los Angeles Chargers or Oakland Raiders (or maybe even the Denver Broncos) as they transition from longtime starter Alex Smith to Patrick Mahomes in 2018.
The Chiefs traded away Smith in a January deal before the last Super Bowl for cornerback help in Kendall Fuller and an additional third round choice. The move finalized a plan long in the works that would pass an eventual torch to Mahomes in the least dramatic way possible. Everyone played their parts, players included, and now Smith has a lucrative new extension in the nation’s capital while Mahomes has been christened with the Chiefs.
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Despite the Chiefs year-long plan to anoint Mahomes as QB1, however, most seem to believe he’s still not quite ready. Despite the preseason reps, the year-long study, the ability of Andy Reid to alter his massive playbook to anyone’s talents, the tremendous ability of Mahomes and even a season-ending win playing with the Chiefs back-ups, Mahomes is somehow supposed to need another year to learn how to win games. The Chiefs believe he’s ready and have said so with their actions. The coaches are foaming at the mouth. The players are hyping him up. He even looks the part. Oh, well.
If you ask Eric Fisher, the Chiefs aren’t going anywhere except a third consecutive division title. Not that Fisher said that exactly, but he did say to reporters on Monday that Mahomes isn’t going to do anything except help keep the Chiefs in a winning situation from day one.
"Coach Reid has his system, and it works. We win football games. I think Pat is going to step right in and we are going to pick up right where we left off."
The good news for Mahomes is that his line, as experienced as they are, remain as hungry as he is to learn. Mahomes’s learning curve is a talking point around the league, but we often overlook the fact that even linemen like Fisher, who have been in the league for five full years already, remain as focused on their craft as much as anyone and are continuing to learn even as they as well into their second long-term contract.
"I want to constantly approve and get better. I think especially as an offensive lineman, it’s such a technical position, we watch film over and over again. There are little minute things to take your game to the next level. I hope to improve on those and come out here and work every day."
That’s the same mentality we’ve seen and heard across the board from Chiefs’ linemen this summer and every year from players like Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Mitch Morse and Mitchell Schwartz. That’s a good recipe for sustained success even if others want to look at the label “first year quarterback” and project a win total. The only thing that matters is the standings next winter anyway.