(ST. Joseph, Mo.)- It is Patrick Mahomes second time heading to St. Joseph for training camp, but this time around, he returns as the franchise quarterback.
“It’s exciting to know that you’re going to get the majority of the reps, you’re going to get to really work on your game," Mahomes said. "It’s something you dream of as a little kid. So, for me, this is the start of the new season. You really get to come here and work with the guys and just build that relationship and that bond.”
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, along with the other quarterbacks, a few veterans, and rookies arrived in St. Joseph for training camp Sunday.
Mahomes, along with the other quarterbacks, a few veterans, and the 2018 draft class, arrived in St. Joseph on Sunday for training camp.
"It’s great to be here in St. Joseph, Missouri Western State University," Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said. We love the hospitality here all the way from the president on down. They’ve rolled out the red carpet for us every year we’ve been here. As you know, we’re back. We’ve liked what they’ve presented to us. We look forward to getting started."
For the first time since Reid's arrival in 2013, a quarterback not named Alex Smith will start the season under center for the Chiefs.
“They’re all different, just like everybody here is different, so that’s the way you handle it," Reid said. "Patrick (Mahomes) has been through this for a year now, not only training camp but also the season. He was lucky enough to be in a great room last year with not only great coaches but also great players. Alex Smith, you know how I feel about him. He absorbed, that’s what he did and it showed during the OTAs. He was able to function at a high level and do what he needs. Are there going to be growing pains and all that stuff that go on? Sure, he’s a young guy that’s learning the game. We’re here to teach him and that’s what we’ll do and he’s here to learn and then go play and have fun doing it.”
The Chiefs traded Smith to the Washington Redskins during the offseason in exchange for a third-round pick and cornerback Kendall Fuller.
“I would never get into one over the other (Alex Smith or Patrick Mahomes) that’s just not where I am at," Reid said. "Alex (Smith) was phenomenal and will continue to be phenomenal for the Redskins. We feel very lucky to have Pat and to be able to step in and watch him grow here. Let’s see how he does. He can’t be in any better place than with the Kansas City Chiefs and I know he’s fired up about that.”
It's not the first time in Reid's tenure as a NFL head coach that he's traded away a veteran quarterback. During his time in Philadelphia, Reid traded Donovan McNabb (also to the Redskins) and promoted 2007 second-round pick Kevin Kolb.
There's not just changes happening at the quarterback position. The Chiefs added wide receiver Sammy Watkins in the offseason. The organization did not re-sign linebackers Derrick Johnson (Raiders) and Tamba Hali (free agent), and traded All-Pro cornerback Marcus Peters to the Los Angeles Rams.
“There’s more ‘new’ on both sides of the ball," Reid said. Some of the old guys that have been here aren’t here. Whether it’s a quarterback position, the inside linebacker position or outside linebacker position, you are missing a few of those guys and have new guys coming in that you have an opportunity to see perform. Some of them we haven’t seen. That’s exciting for me. I am looking forward to that. I know the players are too. There’s a ‘new’ maybe more so than we have had since the first year when I was new. I am excited about that.”
The Kansas City Chiefs used the 2018 NFL Draft restocking their defense, which struggled to stop teams last season.
Kansas City used its top selection to pick Mississippi linebacker Breeland Speaks with the 46th overall pick.
Training camp officially begins on Thursday afternoon, but the next three days gives the rookies, as well as Mahomes, an opportunity to get aquainted with their new roles.
“I definitely have matured a lot in this last year," Mahomes said. "Coming from college where they tell you exactly what you have to do and they tell you that you have to be at this at this time and you kind of get punishment for that. Now you’re in the NFL and you have to do it on your own. For me just having a full year of that and having to really just learn how to do everything on my own and make sure I am prepared for every situation and watch whatever film I need to watch at home has really matured me as a person.”
There will sure to be growing pains for Mahomes and the Chiefs in 2018, but Reid said he wants to see Mahomes work through some adversity.
“He had a learning period that took place during the OTAs," Reid said. "Let’s not back up. Let’s keep moving forward with that. Now in these live periods it will be a little bit faster than what you had in the OTAs because of that. With the pads on, which we weren’t able to do, let’s see what you can do. Let’s work through it. Let’s not be hesitant. If there’s an interception here or there let’s learn from it. Let’s challenge the offense, not only the player, but challenge yourself within the offense and see what you can get away with. If there’s an interception we will fix that, but don’t hesitate. If you see it, let’s shoot it and go.”