The Kansas City Chiefs broke a streak earlier this year of 34 years in which they did not draft any quarterbacks during the first round of an NFL draft, when they traded up to select Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes II as the No. 10 overall pick.
Mahomes will now snap a streak that is even longer. The rookie signal caller debuts in the regular season for Kansas City when the Chiefs travel to Denver to face their AFC West rival the Broncos Sunday in what otherwise is a meaningless game.
However, the game marks the first time since 1979 when Steve Fuller started, that the Chiefs have started a rookie quarterback during a non-strike season.
Mahomes said he is ready to play. He won the role as backup to veteran Alex Smith during the preseason but has not played since training camp.
Kansas City, which is 9-6 and the AFC West champions, do not need to win Sunday’s game. They cannot improve or make their playoff position any worse than it is now, so it makes sense for the Chiefs’ head coach Andy Reid to rest some of his regulars and give a few new faces a change to shine.
The decision to play Mahomes has added intrigue to an otherwise boring game. Mahomes was the signal caller drafted by Kansas City during the first round since 1983 when they picked Penn State’s Todd Blackledge.
However, the decision to draft Mahomes was made by Reid due to looking toward the future as Smith is 33 and either becomes too expensive, as his contract in 2018 becomes astronomical, or he is too old to play the position effectively.
Mahomes Strong Arm Has Impressed Many
Mahomes showed off his rocket of an arm during preseason, and his ability to find something out of almost nothing has brought him comparisons to another protégé of Reid – Brett Favre.
His mentality of a gunslinger is in stark contrast to that of Smith, whose has a habit of conservative decisions and check-downs that have led the team to four appearances in the playoffs in the five years he has played with them but failed to win the fan base over that prefers a high-octane, high scoring offense of years past.
Smith agrees with giving Mahomes a chance on Sunday, and knows that he along with Chiefs coaches, players and fans might be watching a prelude to the future when the rookie takes the field.
Reid would not say if any other players would rest this week, but did indicate that Mahomes would have sufficient support on the offensive line as well as at the skill positions to give the team a legitimate chance to win.
Mahomes Taking First Team Snaps
Mahomes said he has been preparing all season like he was a starter even though he runs the scout team during practice. The big difference for the rookie this week is he is taking most if not all of the first-team snaps while Smith is taking them with the scout squad.
Some skeptics are worried about Kansas City ending the momentum it has built with three straight wins, but Reid says the team’s good play and momentum is going continue regardless of the outcome of Sunday’s game.
Tamba Hali the Chiefs start outside linebacker did not practice this week to rest his sore knees, which for him is usual when the team is working out inside on turf. The Chiefs had to practice inside due to temperatures that fell into the single digits.
What is your opinion, should the Chiefs rest their starters for the last game of the regular season? Is the change going to hurt their momentum?