I know, I know, the one player on the Kansas City Chiefs who should be considered above reproach is quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Which is what makes this piece so painful to write. I desperately want to believe that Mahomes is perfect as the best quarterback in the NFL (and on most days, I believe this 100 percent.) But while watching the second pre-season game on Saturday I had a pretty gross thought: there is something Mahomes does, that I don’t like.
Before I go any further, I want to be very clear that after watching the first team offense totally dominate while they were on the field, I’m not worried about the Chiefs or Mahomes in the slightest. So consider this a mild critique, if even that. Maybe it’s more of just an open-ended question: Does Patrick Mahomes have trouble standing in the pocket?
Take a minute to think about it. Think of any given Chiefs play in the last five years. Got it? Does it end with Mahomes standing in the pocket or rolling out of it before launching a ridiculous laser downfield for a touchdown?
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes in the best QB in the league. But for all of the great things he does, there is one thing he could learn.
I’m afraid I see him roll out way too much. I asked some of our other writers about this to see if I’m the only one who sees it. Most of them contributed Mahomes’s continued escapism to the fact that he learned to play in the NFL behind a less than stellar offensive line his first couple of seasons. I understood that. In fact, it’s probably why I’m just now noticing Mahomes’s happy feet. For so long it was easy just to put it on the OL, which came to a head in Super Bowl LV. But last year, Veach totally remade the offensive line, and to be honest, he put together a pretty decent one.
How good is the Chiefs’ OL? Well they were ranked #1 in ESPN’s preseason rankings this year. That means that Mahomes finally has a sturdy wall behind which he can take his time. And yet, for the last two weeks, he’s scrambled like normal. Look at this play from Saturday’s game:
Yeah, the pass is insane. He’s the only QB in the league that can do that. But is he in the pocket? Far from it. And that’s my concern. Here’s another one, this time a touchdown pass from Saturday:
Does it work? Yes. Is it cool? Yes. Will it win games? Of course it will. But is Mahomes in the pocket? Nope, and I just can’t figure it out. Is it still an OL issue? Lack of trust? On that touchdown play to Jody Fortson, Mahomes does step up in the pocket as it collapses and almost into the arms of a defender, causing him to flee.
So is it a Mahomes problem? Is it even a problem at all? I tend to agree with my colleague that this criticism from an anonymous DC is nonsense:
But I also can’t deny that sometimes (or a lot of times), Mahomes runs away from his protection—and it’s the one thing I really want him to stop doing.