Given how well rookie Patrick Mahomes has played in the Chiefs’ first two preseason games, perhaps it was only a matter of time before Chiefs coach Andy Reid was asked if Mahomes had a chance to become the No. 1 quarterback over Alex Smith.
Confronted with that very question on Monday, Reid gave the answer you’d expect.
“That’s not where we’re at — it’s Alex’s job, that’s how we’re doing it,” Reid said.
Reid did leave some room open, of course, for if Smith gets hurt. Mahomes is currently the team’s No. 2 quarterback after leapfrogging Tyler Bray last week.
“The next question is, what if Alex gets hurt? I’d never say that you can’t do something” like start Mahomes, Reid said.
But don’t get it twisted — Smith is the man in Kansas City for 2017.
“I would tell you in this case, it’s Alex’s job,” Reid re-affirmed. “There’s no gray area with that.”
Nor should there be, in my opinion. Smith is 41-20 as a starter the last four years, and he’s led the Chiefs to three playoff berths during that span. Smith could have been better last year — even he will tell you that — but he’s been more aggressive in camp and there’s a pretty good chance Mahomes pushes him to continue that trend come the regular season.
If the Chiefs are going to win the Super Bowl this year, it’s Smith — a 13-year veteran — who gives them the best chance to do it. No rookie quarterback has ever won the Super Bowl, and with good reason; when things get heavy in the playoffs, that can be a lot for a triggerman who has never been in that spot before.
So for as good as Mahomes has looked (and yes, he’s been everything the Chiefs had hoped for, and more) the best thing for him and the organization is to sit and watch Smith. The good news is that those two seem to have a pretty good relationship, something my partner on the beat, Blair Kerkhoff, is writing about soon.