ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — Patrick Mahomes wanted to go again.
Engaged in a goal-line throwing competition with his fellow quarterbacks, the Kansas City Chiefs star clapped his hands for the ball, aimed and squarely hit the tackling dummy placed at the front corner of the end zone 5 yards away and to Mahomes’ left.
Mahomes fit his next throw into a window on a passing net directly in front of him, then barely missed his next target – the crossbar at the back of the end zone. On the fourth, Mahomes rolled to his right, whipped a behind-the-back pass towards that corner of the end zone and nearly hit his target.
With each throw, an audible buzz permeated from the fans seated on the hill behind the end zone. Cheers followed each make and good-natured groan of disappointment followed the narrow misses.
Yes, they were hanging on every throw of a simple passing drill. You see, Showtime Mahomes executed each throw of that round LEFT-HANDED. The kid’s a righty.
A year after he took the NFL by storm, throwing a blistering 50 touchdown passes and earning MVP honors, Mahomes is still making most everything look easy.
In 2018, he directed an offense that led the league with 35.5 points a game and 6,810 total yards. They made a deep charge into the postseason and narrowly missed reaching the Super Bowl after losing to New England in overtime of the AFC Championship game.
Mahomes enjoyed his offseason, and rightfully so. He attended commercial and photoshoots for endorsement deals. He appeared on late-night talk shows. He attended awards ceremonies and baseball games. He rekindled his college days, leading Texas Tech’s student cheering section during the men’s basketball team’s march to the national championship game.
“Definitely the most fun experience was Final Four with Texas Tech,” Mahomes told USA TODAY Sports during a post-practice interview Saturday. “Just seeing all those guys get to the national championship and work and achieve their goal of making it to a Final Four. … Just being a fan of someone and being in an environment where I get to root for them was something that I’ve missed and glad I got to experience.”
But now it’s back to work. (The work never completely ended, because throughout his travels, Mahomes carved out time to improve his body and skills). But, Mahomes is officially back on the clock now.
As Year 2 as a starter kicks off for the quarterback, the questions loom large.
What does he do for an encore? Can he possibly maintain that level of play? Can he actually get even better?
Year 2 certainly will bring challenges. The entire league has a season’s worth of game film to dissect. Defensive coordinators have spent the offseason trying to pinpoint his weaknesses. They’ve tried to find flaws to exploit.
The Chiefs of course aren’t lost on this.
“I always look at it like this,” offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy told USA TODAY Sports. “You want to make sure that we’re working on staying two or three steps ahead, and the rest will take care of itself. That means going out, every day, executing with an attention to detail.”
Mahomes is definitely into the details.
He’s great at self-critiquing. Even as a first-year starter, Mahomes would come into meetings and rattle off a laundry list of errors he had committed both in wins and losses.
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SOURCE: USA Today, Mike Jones