Patrick Mahomes is the Kansas City starting quarterback, officially, with Alex Smith traded to Washington. It was the only possible outcome given how the Chiefs lost in the playoffs early again, with the investment to trade up to get Mahomes last year, and the Chiefs’ cap issues coupled with Smith’s salary.
Mahomes is in a great position to move into the starting role and hit the field flying. Alex Smith tied his career-high with 8.0 yards per attempt (the other, notably, was in 2012, when he lost his job to Colin Kaepernick and was traded to Kansas City). The Chiefs’ offense includes one of the best tight ends in Kelce, a dynamic playmaker in Tyreek Hill, and a versatile young back in Kareem Hunt who can make plays as a receiver.
Nevertheless, Mike Golic of Golic & Wingo thinks there’s no chance for Mahomes because, well, he didn’t play enough as a rookie.
This is a pretty easily rebutted take. Most top quarterbacks break out fairly early on (outside of the true rookie year). Of the 15 guys to make a pro bowl in their second year in the league since 1978, the average number of games started as a rookie was 7.7. The median was Jared Goff’s 7 last year as a rookie. Obviously, Mahomes is impacted by sitting behind Alex Smith for a year and learning in practice from Andy Reid and Matt Nagy (now in Chicago), rather than playing poorly in a bad Jeff Fisher offense for one year. (That’s the sarcasm font, folks.)
Brett Favre, Tom Brady, and Daunte Culpepper started a combined 0 games as rookies, and Michael Vick had 2 starts, one more than Mahomes. Add in that 7 other true rookie quarterbacks made a pro bowl in the last 7 years, hitting the ground running right away, and “he didn’t play last year” isn’t a legitimate basis for thinking that Patrick Mahomes will not be good.
Patrick Mahomes has a great situation, the offense just averaged 8 yards per attempt, and Andy Reid is a pretty good quarterback coach. If Mahomes struggles, it would raise concerns because the ingredients are there for an immediate successful transition.