Handling critiques from Chiefs coaches is next phase of Mahomes’ development

As the information-loading phase continues, the Chiefs are adding more layers to Patrick Mahomes’ game, in and out of the huddle.

“He’s been under the gun, Coach Reid gets on him now,” co-offensive coordinator Matt Nagy said. “How does he handle that, the fire? When Coach gets on him, does he handle adversity the right way or does he go into the tank?

“So far he’s been awesome.”

Updates on Mahomes, as the third week of voluntary offseason practices winds down and mandatory minicamp approaches, remain largely positive.

In the non-contact practices, the Chiefs’ proclaimed quarterback of the future has moments good and bad with misreads that become interceptions and completions with zip that find their target through tight windows.

Mahomes’ physical tools drove the Chiefs’ draft-day decision to trade up for his selection. The team’s first hands-on experience with Mahomes has been about re-tooling his game and reprogramming his approach from a spread specialist at Texas Tech to an NFL-ready quarterback. This happens by breaking down his game.

“Right now we’re trying to get the game to slow down for him,” Nagy said. “It’s as basic as getting out of the huddle, knowing where everybody is at on our side of the ball and then being able to focus on where the defense is.

“We’re at ground zero right now. We joke around that it’s a piece of clay that you get to mold. You sit here doing fundamentals that you do at the high school level, and that’s OK. No matter who comes in there, we’re going to do that.”

There’s time to work with Mahomes. Alex Smith, 41-20 as a Chiefs starter, returns for his fifth season. Mahomes won’t go from a first-round pick to running a team. Deshaun Watson appears to be on that fast track for the Houston Texans.

Tyler Bray gets second-team snaps behind Smith, and after practices Mahomes remains mostly to practice his footwork. On this day, Mahomes was working with Mike Kafka, offensive quality control coach and former quarterback for Reid with the Eagles.

After next week’s minicamp, the Chiefs break and will reunite for training camp in late July and begin the next phase of Mahomes’ development.

“I’d say he’s exactly where we thought he would be,” Nagy said. “When we got him out there we knew he would be a little raw. But that’s the fun part, trying to mold him into what we want.”

Blair Kerkhoff: 816-234-4730, @BlairKerkhoff

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