Patrick Mahomes has moved up on the Chiefs’ depth chart.
On Sunday, Mahomes — the Chiefs’ first-round pick — earned the overwhelming majority of second-string snaps at No. 2 quarterback ahead of Tyler Bray, who previously held the role throughout organized team activities and training camp.
The move comes on the heels of Mahomes’ impressive performance in the Chiefs’ exhibition opener, a 27-17 loss to San Francisco in which he completed 7-of-9 passes for 49 yards and a touchdown, the latter of which came on a cross-body goal line flick to receiver Marcus Kemp.
“We’re going to give Patrick a chance to work with the twos, like Tyler has had here in the last couple of weeks,” coach Andy Reid said. “And it’s not because of Tyler’s performance in the game. I thought he actually played very well, but it gives Patrick, who did a nice job too, an opportunity to step up and work with that second group and see what he could do there.”
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Bray completed 5-of-8 passes for 63 yards and an interception in the contest. He had a gorgeous 83-yard touchdown heave to Chris Conley overturned by an offensive pass interference penalty.
Reid said he made the decision to elavate Mahomes, the No. 10 overall pick in this year’s draft, based on the progress he’s made running the offense in several areas the last several months.
“It’s being able to get in and function, still seeing the defenses and the reads, knowing the calls he needs to make to get in and out of trouble in both the run and the pass game,” Reid said.
Reid said Mahomes has also made progress when it comes to spitting out the Chiefs’ lengthy playcalls.
“He does that fairly easy — that’s not a tough thing for him to be able to spit it out,” Reid said. “We’ve got a few words we’ve got on these routes and he handles that pretty well. And really, we saw that even when we brought him in for that predraft test. He was able to handle that pretty well.”
Due to the way the Chiefs rotate their quarterbacks, the move also means Mahomes will now log an occasional snap with the first-string offense, as Bray has done since training camp began three weeks ago.
“It will be the same way we did it,” said Reid, while explaining that any first-string action Mahomes gets due to the move will be because of a long-established rotation he uses. “Just different a guy in a different spot; it will be the same thing we did in practice with Tyler.”
Reid gave no indication of how long the move will last, or if it’s even long-term, but he has been known to swap his backup quarterbacks in an effort to get both of them experience with both the second and third groups. He even did this briefly last summer, when Bray and Aaron Murray were battling for a backup spot that was ultimately claimed by veteran Nick Foles, who signed as a free agent early in camp.
But when asked Friday if this promotion was something Mahomes earned or something he planned on doing regardless of performance, Reid made it clear the promotion was merit-based.
“He had to do well so he could get in there to function and be able to go,” Reid said. “I would tell you yes, but it’s not something (Tyler) didn’t do. Tyler is playing well, but Patrick has also done a nice job.”
When asked directly if this situation was similar to his past backup flips, Reid cautioned against comparing the two situations.
“I’ve done a million different things, so if you’re going to try to put it in a box, I’m not sure we can do that,” Reid said. “(This decision) is just what I want to do.”
Reid, however, said he wasn’t sure if Mahomes will log any first-string reps in preseason action. The Chiefs hit the road to face Cincinnati at 6 p.m. Saturday.
“I can’t tell you about the game,” Reid said. “Don’t know that yet.”