KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chiefs head coach Andy Reid entered Kansas City’s quarterback room on Tuesday to deliver the news that rookie Patrick Mahomes would start the team’s regular season final Sunday at Denver.
“We were in here watching film as a group and we were just trying to learn as we go and he went out and gave us the plan,” Mahomes said. “It was exciting news but now it’s going to work and getting the film done and all the practicing.”
Reid called it fortunate that the team can afford to give Mahomes a chance in the season finale.
“Every snap that he gets is a valuable snap for him whenever he has that chance of getting in there,” Reid said. “It’s invaluable.”
Mahomes will handle the team’s offensive reps during practice this week. Starter Alex Smith, meanwhile, will handle scout team work and individual drills to stay sharp while gaining valuable rest.
“He’ll do most of the scout team stuff and then any individual work he’ll get all that done,” Reid said about Smith’s plans for the week. “It’ll be good for him going down the stretch here. This will be a good period for him right here.”
Reid said he has no expectations for Mahomes other than to pick up experience and play his game.
“I just want him to go play, learn the game plan, play it and lead the team, the offense and most of all have an opportunity,” Reid said.
The rookie shares a similar view, with one exception — first and foremost he wants to win.
“The biggest thing for me is just to expect to go out there and win anyway possible, just go out there,” Mahomes said. “If that’s 300 yards, if that’s 100 yards, whatever it is, whatever it takes to get a win is the biggest thing.”
The Broncos plan to start Paxton Lynch, their own young quarterback with limited experience. Head coach Vance Joseph says a change in quarterback doesn’t alter his team’s approach against the Chiefs. His defense prepares for the same offensive system, yet Joseph recognizes that Mahomes brings different skills to the position.
“The first thing you see is a huge arm,” Joseph said. “He can make every throw. He’s got some Brett Favre in him when he can move, he’s moving right and throwing the ball over his left shoulder with accuracy.”
Like Joseph, Mahomes doesn’t expect offensive coordinator Matt Nagy to adjust the offensive too much to fit his particular set of skills.
“For me it’s about going out there and producing on whatever plays coach Reid and coach Nags and all them call,” Mahomes said. “It won’t necessarily get tailored more for me. I’m sure they’ll try to play to my strengths a little bit but the offense is a great offense just to be for anybody.”
Smith said he believes Mahomes understands the situation and stand ready to make the most his opportunity as the starter for a week.
“It’s not any one thing,” Smith said. “I think it’s the whole week as he prepares. It’s his first time to have a week preparing as a starter, a full week, a real game. I think kind of just how he goes about his business.”
Mahomes said he’s learned much this season from watching how Smith prepares each week.
“He’s one of the best at it of just being prepared, knowing every situation, knowing if this happens he needs to go here, if this happens go here,” Mahomes said. “Just those things of stuff I’ve watched him do and watched him make those adjustments from the sideline and just preparing to win a football game.”
The Chiefs rookie said he doesn’t want to make too much of the opportunity to start.
“I get a few more practice reps, that’s a big thing,” Mahomes said. “But at the same time I’ve been trying to do as much as I can every single week, so I’m going to try to stick to that routine.”
Matt Derrick is the lead beat writer for ChiefsDigest.com. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @MattDerrick.