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How did Patrick Mahomes fare in Chiefs preseason opener?

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) looks for a receiver during the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the San Francisco 49ers in Kansas City, Mo., Friday, Aug. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Friday night, we finally got to see Patrick Mahomes play an NFL game. The league gained a glimpse of the man the Kansas City Chiefs hope will be their future franchise signal caller. His stat line was 7-9 for 49 yards and a touchdown. His first throw from scrimmage went for almost that whole 49 yards, but was negated for a hold. This throw sums up Mahomes as a player.

I love that Andy Reid let Mahomes air it out on his first throw. That’s how you get rid of the nerves for a QB. The easy completion is played out. Let your gunslinger launch it. Let him play to his strengths. Getting into the play, Mahomes knows where he wants to go the entire time. He holds the safety off by looking left as long as he can. He then comes back and airs it about 50 yards. The ball was a little underthrown. That’s also a little nitpicky. The receiver was so far out in front that it didn’t matter.

Mahomes must show that he can be consistent. The deep ball is something Mahomes has always excelled at. I don’t think anyone would argue that Mahomes brings an element that isn’t currently on the Chiefs’ roster.

That throw above was negated by a holding call as I mentioned. The next few throws were screen passes. The following throw is a simple “Houston” concept every offense has. The slot receiver runs a flat route. The outside receiver runs a curl or a slant. In this situation he runs a slant.

I’m showing this throw because it takes some arm strength to fit the ball between the defenders. The read by Mahomes is actually incorrect. The quarterback is taught to read that “hang defender,” the guy lined up over the slot receiver. If the defender sinks, the quarterback should throw to the flat and the slot receiver. If he stays, the QB must throw the curl route. Here’s the play:

As you can see, the defender sinks. Even with the wrong read, you can see the velocity Mahomes possesses. It also shows that he has no hesitation. With Mahomes, it’s more of a “results as the process comes along” mindset, as opposed to a “process over results” train of thought.

On the next throw Mahomes does everything right except for the most important part: completing the throw. He looks left and doesn’t force the throw. He comes back across the field and buys extra time in the pocket.

I like how Mahomes didn’t drift in the pocket and go backwards. Instead he stepped up and found a receiver in the back of the end zone. Unfortunately the throw sailed on him and the pass was incomplete. The following throw was a bootleg that went for a touchdown. Mahomes was able to find a receiver in similar fashion crossing the middle. He took a little off and made the easy completion.

The hot and cold Mahomes showed up on the two following throws. He made a solid throw on an over route of roughly 15 yards. The following throw was an easy curl route over the middle where there was a little confusion. The receiver started like he was running and then stopped. Mahomes threw where he anticipated his receiver would be; the ball was incomplete. I wouldn’t fault Mahomes too much. The biggest issue on that play: Mahomes could have had his feet set and chose not to.

All in all, Mahomes was fine — not outstanding, but he doesn’t have to be. He missed some throws. He made some mistakes. The Chiefs simply want to see continued growth. I think we’re already seeing that. I still believe he’ll bring an aspect to the Chiefs that wasn’t previously on the roster. Let’s see how much Mahomes improves the next game. Also, let’s see if Reid will take the training wheels off.

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