ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — Chiefs fans following training camp practices seem to ride a virtual rollercoaster with every throw from Patrick Mahomes fixating on every touchdown and dwelling on every interception, but head coach Andy Reid swears he doesn’t care.
“I told you at the beginning of camp I don’t care about all that stuff,” Reid said following Thursday morning’s practice. “I want him to test the offense. It’s so important and so important we give him a ton of plays. I want him testing it.
“If you don’t have the intestinal fortitude to go test it, you’re going to be one of these quarterbacks that checks it down every time, and that’s not what it’s all about,” Reid explained.
Some took that comment as a slight toward former Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, who endure the words “check down” as a pejorative much of his career.
“But then you saw Alex grow into having trust to throw it down the field because he practiced that,” Reid said. “And then he became a very good down the field thrower.”
Just as Smith reinvented himself in Kansas City, Reid believes Mahomes can take a similar path, albeit without the struggles Smith endured through organizational instability in San Francisco.
Reid may not dwell on the mistakes, but Mahomes does to a degree. Sometimes trying to avoid mistakes leads to errors anyway.
That happened on Wednesday. Early in practice Mahomes scramble to his right with room to dart into the end one for a touchdown. He pulled up and threw a pass toward tight end Demetrius Harris, which safety Leon McQuay intercepted.
“I easily could’ve ran it in,” Mahomes said. “We were in a live period and I didn’t want to hear the defense talking trash to me, if I run it in, because they can’t tackle me.”
Mahomes immediately admitted his mistake on the sideline to offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy.
“He even said, ‘Hey, I could’ve ran it,’” Bieniemy said. “I said, ‘Listen they all count out the same. Six points is six points. If you can run it, go get it.”
Lesson learned, Mahomes noted.
“They said, ‘Well then do it. Don’t train bad habits,’” Mahomes reported. “For me, I’ve just got to keep working on just running it in knowing they can’t really tackle me, but at the same time that was the play that needed to be made on that one.”
On Thursday, Mahomes faced a similar situation during goal line work He rolled to his left and saw daylight. Rather than force the ball to a covered target, he ran the ball into the end zone.
“Hopefully I make those mistakes now and don’t make them in the game, so I’m going to keep trying to learn from those and keep trying to get better every single day,” Mahomes said.
Reid extolls Mahomes’ penchant for not making the same mistake twice.
“He sees everything, he knows it,” Reid said. “When he does make a mistake he comes back and he can talk to you about it. He’s done nothing but get better and better as we go and he’s got a load on him here.”
And at times, Mahomes even sounds like his predecessor Smith.
“I want to get out there and be efficient,” Mahomes said. “I want to get out there and score touchdowns or field goals. You want to not turn the ball over, you want to go out there and just really execute the offense, get in and out of the huddle and move the chains.”