Here is a breakdown of what I have seen from Patrick Mahomes this year – many have talked about his struggles and lack of production in some games. The trolls on the game threads have made him a target of their hatred. I have defended Mahomes and have ranked the reasons for his non-Patrick performances this year.
1 – Lack of a consistent third receiver.
Brett Veach will surely target a receiver in the draft and/or sign a free agent to help. We have tried Hardman, DRob, Pringle, Gordon, Kemp as well as MEH-CEH and Williams. I could talk forever about the dropmeister, wrong wayer, potato chip eater, weed smoker, special teamer, overdrafted buster, average back with good hands combination but I hope you see my point. We struggle when Kelce and Hill are not consistently open.
2 – Poor offensive tackle protection.
Brown and Niang/Remmers/Wylie – Early in the year, both sides had issues and Patrick was running for his life. He had to adjust some of his drops with the new tackles so a very small part of this is on him. Brown got better but can still be schooled by a speed rusher while Niang is still a project and neither Remmers or Wylie did much better. Moving forward, we can survive with only one side being porous and Niang should get better to fix that problem. Interested to see whether Long is given an opportunity here or if we ever see the return of the Schwartz.
3 – Bad adjustment to the two deep look.
This one is on Andy and EB – We spent half of the season seemingly confused about how to attack the two deep look. The first two issues compound this problem. The two deep look should be a haven for short swing passes and intermediate passes in the middle as well as attacked by running the damn ball. I am trying to recall the last time that we had an attack that seemed geared towards defeating this look. Appears to me that we were too stubborn to change and tried to run the old offense time and time again.
4 – Patrick Mahomes.
This is the first time that I am willing to assign Patrick any of the blame and it is two fold BUT both have understandable causes. First, Patrick is trying to adjust to life in the pocket. His gut instinct is to be the Magic Man so you can see how forced it looks sometimes. That is inevitable and I assign some of the blame to Andy and EB for not mixing the Pocket Patrick with Magic Mahomes more. The other issue – one that all great players have went thru – is that Patrick put pressure on himself to play hero ball, especially when our defense was a no show early in the year. I cannot and will not fault a great player for going down swinging.
5 – Bad receiver performance and such.
Start with the bad turnovers – we have had our fair share here. I have already mentioned the bulk of the receivers being not consistent but all of our receivers have had bone headed moments. Kelce and Hill have had issues – my take is that they had been doing what Patrick does in trying to play hero ball too much. I can easily forgive superstars. Patrick has thrown some bad balls – a little high or a little low and such. Too often, the receivers and Mahomes are not on the same page. Receiver might stop and Mahomes throws to where they would be if they keep running and vice versa. I believe it is fair to put that on both parties – AND – this mostly occurs when Patrick is in the pocket and not being the Magic Man. I will also mention that Kelce could be starting to show his age which might explain his frustration this year.
6 – No red zone plan or target.
Fortson going down really hurt us here. We need an option not named Kelce or Hill. The main problem is that the Chiefs lack an identity here – everything plays off what you do best in the red zone. We talk about having a power running attack but rarely do we see that down here – course it does take your best player out of the equation. We have called some bad plays in the red zone as well which puts us in some untenable positions at times. Our reluctance to run Patrick – which makes sense – is another road block.
7 – Lack of quality at running back.
MEH-CEH, Williams, and Gore all run between the tackles. There is no threat on the outside sans the jet sweeps that appear every so often. McKinnon would have been an option but we never gave that any consideration. None of the backs look like Derrick Henry going up the middle and it is rare to see a move that picks up extra yards. Gore could be the exception but we have not seen enough of him to tell whether or not he might be the answer. Thus, if a team limits our inside running, it puts the Chiefs in more third and long situations, putting pressure on the tackles to perform.
8 – Bad game calling.
Andy Reid needs to take these duties away from EB. Performance is ultimately on the players BUT too many times have we seen a drive stalled due to a bad play call. We are much too predictable and Bob Sutton might have success against us when that happens. When something works, we seem to go away from it too often. I know that other plays are called due to success in one area but we seem to abandon what works for the rest of the game. Run it up their ass if we are averaging seven yards a clip running up the middle. Do it until the other team proves they can stop it.
9 – The problems and the pressure.
We face the pressure of being in three straight conference championship games, two consecutive Super Bowls, as well as being the champs and best team in the AFC. Every team brings their A game against us – and we are still 10-4. Add to that – the crap with Reid’s son, the hangover with the Bucs, Mahomes becoming a father and more. Hard to stay focused on the prize – even for NFL stars who get paid a ton of money. It is a testament to the team and Andy Reid that we never folded.
10 – The referees.
Might seem like a cop out BUT it sure seems that there are three sets of rules in the NFL – the Chiefs rules, the Brady rules, and the everyone else rules. Kelce can get mugged constantly but no flag and we get hosed by minor contact. Mahomes can get drilled with no flag but breathe on Brady and out comes the yellow. If the zebras called it on both sides, I can live with the results BUT it sure seems like they are under orders to bring the Chiefs down.
You might think that I strayed from talking about Mahomes but all of these factors have impacted his performance this year. I would contend that few quarterbacks in the league would be sitting at 10-4 with all of these issues. Has he made bad decisions, poor passes, and turned the ball over? Well, of course he has, just like every other quarterback in the NFL. Like Brett Favre, Mahomes will try the impossible – screw the stats – and carry the team on his back. I would contend that Alex Smith or any other conservative quarterback by nature would be 7-7 at best right now. Patrick has earned a high B from me for his performance this year – the other factors make it seem like it should be an average grade of C. One could argue that this is his best season – having to overcome multiple problems – an issue that he has never faced before.