Teams Learned The Wrong Lesson From Mahomes

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Tony looks at what teams in the NFL got wrong about Patrick Mahomes’ success

In the 2019 draft, the Giants surprised many by taking Daniel Jones with the 6th overall pick. Their general manager Dave Gettleman said that they wanted to use the “Kansas City Model”, meaning they would sit Jones for a year behind Eli Manning.

NFL teams love doing this, as sitting highly drafted starters behind terrible starters is a long time tradition. Excluding top overall picks, almost every team tries to do this.

I say “try” because while guys like Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers have done well after sitting, most of the time this strategy fails miserably for obvious reasons. Let’s go through them so maybe the teams selecting quarterbacks this year will learn when and when not to sit a rookie.

1) They’re drafting a quarterback for a reason.

Teams who are drafting quarterbacks high in the first round are almost always doing so because the veteran they currently employ isn’t very good, and the Giants were no exception. Sure, some people laughably think Eli should get into the Hall of Fame, but even his biggest fans had to admit he wasn’t very good in 2017 and 2018, with the Giants losing 24 games in those years.

Inevitably what happens is that their bad veteran shockingly continues to be bad, and they’re forced to make their rookie the starter in the middle of the season anyway. So all they end up accomplishing is giving valuable practice reps and game experience to a guy who’ll be watching the games from his couch while posting on the Arrowhead Guys game threads the next season.

The reason Kansas City was the exception to this rule is that they had a quarterback in Alex Smith who was a consistent winner. When the Chiefs drafted Mahomes they were coming off a 12-4 season. This is a much different situation than most teams, who wait until the absolute last moment to draft a quarterback.

2) There’s no reason to sit them.

The idea that a quarterback should sit and learn is popular, but to my knowledge there’s no actual evidence that it’s beneficial for most guys. In fact common sense would tell you that the reverse is true. In what other area of life would you rather have somebody who had one extra year of schooling instead of one extra year of experience?

That doesn’t even include the fact that the starter gets far more practice reps than the backup. When you invest such a high draft pick into a guy, isn’t it just common sense that you want to give them as many practice reps as possible?

Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers are exceptions to this rule because they had pretty bad issues with mechanics, which is the one thing that is actually better improved outside of games. Like any other habit, you develop it by doing it the right way over and over again. The vast majority of first round quarterbacks aren’t going to have those kinds of issues.

2) The veteran wastes cap space.

The Giants could have saved $12 million on their cap in 2019 had they released Eli and simply made Jones the day 1 starter. For that money they got 4 starts and 1 win in a season where they ended up 4-12.

Instead they could have spent that money on a free agent receiver or lineman to give Jones some extra help in 2019 and beyond. This is so simple that I don’t feel like I even need to explain it. Was that one meaningless win really worth it?

And while you could argue legacy for the Giants here, this same math applies to every team who does this. Remember when the Bears signed Mike Glennon to a big deal just for him to go out and win a single game for them?

Yet we’ll almost certainly see this pattern again. Teams will try and sit their rookies behind bad veterans, and when the bad veteran plays poorly they’ll be forced to play the rookie. I haven’t even looked at the quarterback class this year, yet I can still confidently predict that every single quarterback drafted in the 1st round will be named the team’s starter by the end of the season.

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plus, Mahomes came into a situation where he had a BOATLOAD to learn & learning SO MUCH from arguably the best mind in football (Reid) as well as literally EVERYTHING that Smith could teach him about being a pro in the NFL


A reminder that we have no idea where Mahomes would be today if he started as a rookie. Maybe the year off helped him, as so many assume, or maybe he’d be even better now with three years of experience. We’ll never know.


Yeah I don’t buy that he’s only where he is now because of Alex. We obviously can’t run the counter-factual, but my money would be on him just having another year of stats to pad his HOF resume if he’d started his rookie year.


One thing I’m positive Alex DID teach Mahomes –

And that’s how to answer media questions. Alex never threw another teammate or the team under the bus. Complimented everyone. Patrick learned a lot about that from him.

And I’ll give him a few other things he taught our SBMVP – how to watch film. Mahomes said that once a year ago, that Alex taught him how to really watch film. So there’s at least two great things Alex taught Mahomes.


The chiefs should have started mahomes after we lost 3 games in a row to trash teams from NY/NJ.


Iirc Mahomes has been pretty vocal how thankful he is for being able to learn from AS11. I think the outlier in the model would generally be how accepting the outgoing qb is to helping teach the new. And how much the new guy wants to learn from the vet. In KC it worked pretty darn well. Eli has been vocal about not wanting to be that coach for the new guy. And if memory is correct Brett farve didn’t like playing that roll either.


Complete conjecture here but, I think we may have won it in 17 had we started Mahomes. That year the D was a little better than 18 and Mahomes is a something football hasn’t seen before….so I can say that. I was done with Alex in 15 so I am biased, but we do know how it turned out with Alex….


My opinion is Andy Reid decided when they drafted Mahomes he was sitting a year, and nothing was going to change the plan.


Perhaps so, but if that’s the case I’m pretty sure he made that decision based on how he expected Alex to handle the situation. It’s been said repeatedly that starting QBs seldom do much to help their heirs apparent. As NLD said above, Smith’s an outlier, it’s just that he was an outlier in more ways than one.

I still don’t get why some folks act like every nice thing that Reid and Mahomes is nothing but flat-out lies. I’ve been paying attention to Reid’s media statements and such, and coupled with the fact that just about all the people he’s ever worked with speak glowingly about the kind of person he is, it all tells me that he’s a truthful person, yet some are so invested in the real-life Smith being whatever mental picture is in whoever’s mind that they take the position that Reid’s a liar when he says anything that contradicts that vision.

It’s hard to actually assess reality when you are busy rejecting inconvenient facts as lies. Just saying.


Who has accused them of lying?


Imaginary people BRAG has made up.


If someone discounts something that Veach said and draws a conclusion that’s in stark disagreement with something he actually said, how is that not treating his words as untruthful? Or, f’rex: Reid: “We have released Kareem Hunt for lying to us”. Generalization of many who discussed it: “Nah, that’s not the REAL reason!”. Now tell me how those making claims along those lines were treating what Reid said as truthful? The word isn’t used but the implication is clear: He’s not telling the truth.

Just as lying by omission is still lying, implying someone is a liar is still calling them one. QED.


There are logical, PR reasons to think the Hunt thing was spin, because it wouldn’t look very good for them to say they couldn’t keep him after the video was made public. I’ve no doubt Hunt lying was a factor, but I think it’s fair to question whether it would have been enough to get him fired if there was no video. And for that matter, whether the video would have been enough to get him fired if there was no lying.

Regarding the Alex Smith stuff, I’ve no doubt that Alex helped Mahomes a great deal, and I don’t doubt that all concerned believe that Mahomes is a better player today because of it. But nobody (Veach, Reid and Mahomes included) know where Mahomes would be today if he started in his rookie year and learned from someone like Henne while playing. That’s not questioning their honesty, but rather just questioning their conclusions. It’s not even saying their conclusions are wrong; it’s just saying there’s no way to know for sure.


You are correct about nobody knowing how it would have played out if they’d just thrown Mahomes in after he was drafted and Smith got ditched, but that doesn’t mean it would have worked out well. And while it’s true that coachspeak is a thing, remember that I’ve been testing his statements for truthfulness for a few years now and outside of game plan stuff I don’t think I’ve noticed any tendency to try to deceive. And by that I mean his speech is consistent between what he says that is well-known to be true and what’s more difficult to verify. So if he said the main reason that Hunt was released was the dishonesty I’m going to need evidence before I’ll believe any speculation based on that not being true.

In summary, all indications are that Reid doesn’t lie, so while telling the press that Mahomes could buy Smith a castle and it wouldn’t repay Alex for his help might be an exaggeration it’s unlikely to be too much of one. Mahomes speaks in much the same way within his own style, so writing their words off as meaningless PR spin is indeed saying that neither was truthful about what they said. There is zero evidence supporting the idea that AS11 didn’t help Mahomes out a LOT, as both have clearly stated, so speculation to the contrary must therefore depend on Mahomes and Reid both being untruthful.

And while I don’t look harshly at his comment, JDK provides another example, saying “what else would he say?” as both of them are merely spouting meaningless words rather than actually meaning what they said. Why should we believe it? Presumably because other people lie for PR reasons, aka guilt by association. I’m not calling anyone bad here, mind, but I don’t have to speak approvingly of ideas that have no real evidence and must depend upon finding a way to invalidate contrary evidence that actually exists.

How is calling the things they say “meaningless” different from saying that they’re lying?


How is calling the things they say “meaningless” different from saying that they’re lying?

Well, its much more polite. 😀 😛


Nor did Peyton


What else would he say though? I don’t think the kind regards to Alex Smith mean anything more than that Mahomes knows the right things to say.


solid points

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Chiefs win the forward progress game with Mahomes starting.