OTA Notebook: Patrick Mahomes experimenting with what he can, can’t do on field

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes dropped back to pass during seven-on-seven drills Thursday in the team’s third organized team activity practice, and fired the ball to the left side. Cornerback Steven Nelson anticipated the ball heading his direction before it left Mahomes’ hand, and found himself racing to the end zone in a blink of an eye. But that didn’t bother head coach Andy Reid.

The Chiefs offense with quarterback Patrick Mahomes (yellow jersey) huddles during seven-on-seven drills in the midst of practice at the team’s training complex in Kansas City, Mo., May 22, 2018. (Photo courtesy Chiefs.com)

“You want to test want you can get away with in these camps,” Reid said following Thursday’s practice. “So you can have interceptions, that doesn’t bother me. You repeat it, now that’s a problem.”

The Chiefs offense finds itself in an evolutionary phase. The team ranked seventh in the league in passing yards with the top-rated passer in Alex Smith. But with Smith gone, the Chiefs are putting together a whole new look.

“We worked the offense around Alex and built it around him,” Reid said. “Now it’s this kid’s turn and you’ve to kind of feel that part out. He’s going to keep firing and that’s all we want – learning. It’s a great time for that – that’s what this is all about here.”

Mahomes said that himself, Reid, offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and quarterbacks coach Mike Kafka have open communication in searching for plays and concepts that can work with the retooled offense.

“They see what I like and I tell them what I like,” Mahomes said. “If we both like something, we try to put that in. If there’s something that one of us is disagreeing on that we don’t think will work, we try to get out here, we see about it. If it works we’ll keep it in, if not then we’ll throw it away and hold off on it.”

Reid said the team continues throwing more responsibility toward Mahomes and he’s “loving every minute of it.” The coach continued raving about the young quarterback’s work ethic and leadership, particularly his willingness to absorb lessons and apply them on the field.

“He’s got to just go practice and work through it and massage each play and see how it works against these different coverages,” Reid said. “He’s so willing, that’s the part you appreciate it.”

Full house for OTAs

All 90 players on the roster appeared on the practice fields for Thursday’s practice, including veterans Eric Berry and Justin Houston. Both skipped last year’s voluntary workouts along with former Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters.

“Listen, it’s a voluntary camp,” Reid said. “That they’re here brings great energy when they’re here. They understand their leadership role but this isn’t mandatory.”

Center Mitch Morse, running back Spencer Ware and wide receiver De’Anthony Thomas all appeared on the sidelines but won’t participate in OTA workouts.

“They’re all coming off surgeries and doing well,” Reid said. “But right now they’re not going to practice during this period here.”

Houston didn’t give any reasons for choosing to attend OTAs this year compared with the recent past.

“I go with the flow,” Houston said. “I talk with my big man right there. We communicate and stay on the same page.”

Berry said returning from his season-ending Achilles injury didn’t play a factor in his decision to attending OTAs this year.

“I know that my teammates are depending on me and I’m depending on them,” Berry said. “So it’s more of an accountability thing just to handle my business and make sure I’m ready to go so we can all do what we came here to do.”

Cam Erving getting snaps at center

With Morse on sidelines rehabbing from foot surgery, Cam Erving finds himself taking snaps at center with Parker Ehinger at left guard.

The Chiefs love Erving’s flexibility to play multiple positions along the line, and Reid said Erving has “done a heck of a job” filling in for Morse.

“That’s a tough position,” Reid said. “He’s got a lot of responsibilities as the transmitter between the right and the left side and making sure the protections are right and so on. He’s done a good job with that.”

Breeland Speaks inks rookie deal

Second-round draft pick Breeland Speaks signed his rookie contract on Thursday, becoming the fourth member of this year’s draft class to sign with the team. Terms of the contract were not immediately available.

With Speaks in the fold, that leaves third-round draft picks Derrick Nnadi and Dorian O’Daniel remaining unsigned.

Quotes of the day

“I’m here to play football. My opinions, my feelings don’t matter. That’s neither here nor there.”
— Linebacker Justin Houston on the team’s offseason personnel changes on defense.

“I love every day I have a chance to do this. I get older, they get younger, or they stay the same it’s a crazy deal.”
— Head coach Andy Reid on whether the new faces on the team make him feel rejuvenated.

“I don’t necessarily want to strangle them. It’s not bad to me at all. I think Kelce started it though, of course. But I told them it was actually my first nickname I ever had when I was like seven or eight years old, one of my friends called me Patty Cakes. I hadn’t heard it since then but I’ll roll with it.”
— Quarterback Patrick Mahomes on his teammates calling him “Patty Cakes.”

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Matt Derrick is the lead beat writer for ChiefsDigest.com. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @MattDerrick.

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