It’s part of former Chiefs quarterback Rich Gannon’s job to keep tabs on what his former team is doing.
Gannon is an analyst for CBS games, so he watched the Chiefs’ 38-28 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers in the season opener, and he has noticed the change in the offense now that Patrick Mahomes is the starting quarterback.
Speaking Wednesday on KCSP (610 AM), Gannon was asked about the 45-yard pass Mahomes made to Tyreek Hill on a 3rd-and-13 play in the third quarter. Gannon said it highlighted the differences between Mahomes and former Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith.
“His decision-making in that game and particularly on that play ... that particular throw when so much was on the line, he made so many of them in the game,” Gannon said. “I think you have a different mentality when you look at Patrick Mahomes as opposed to what you had last year with Alex Smith. I think everyone who knows me knows I have great respect for Alex, but Patrick is a much more aggressive player.
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“Whereas in the past, with Alex, he’s got to see the throw, he’s got to be sure of it, Patrick’s got such confidence in his arm talent and his arm strength, he can throw the ball outside the numbers or down the middle of the field in a tight window. He’s just going to pull the trigger, whereas Alex Smith will take a look and if it’s not there, he’s more apt to pull the ball down and run.
“That’s a different mind-set of Patrick Mahomes. I think he’s a more aggressive player, he’s been been termed a gunslinger, but a guy that’s got real arm talent that can make every throw on the field and I just think that was another example of it.”
Mahomes completed 15 of 27 passes for 256 yards and four touchdowns.
Gannon continued to make the comparison between Mahomes and Smith when talking about one TD pass in particular: the 36-yard strike on a fullback wheel route run by Anthony Sherman in the third quarter of Sunday’s game.
“The one knock on Alex is that he wasn’t very patient,” Gannon said. “He’d drop back, he’d make the primary read, maybe the secondary, then you’d see the look, the eyes drop. He’d try to find a crease to pull the ball down and run. He had a lot of success doing that. He moved the chains that way. I don’t think that’s really as much as Mahomes’ thought. I think he trusts his arm, I think he trusts his feet to be able to sit back in there, slide a little bit, buy a little extra time and throw the ball down the field.
“I think that’s what was missing the last couple of years from this offense. They do a great job of stretching you horizontally, but now I think you’re going to get stretched more vertically.”