With the departure of Alex Smith this offseason, Kansas City Chiefs' rookie quarterback Patrick Mahomes II will look to take the reins in 2018, ushering the Chiefs into a new era of football.
Coming off a 10-6 season and another extremely disappointing visit to the playoffs, Chiefs’ coach Andy Reid needs to make several adjustments to fit his new centerpiece.
After starting only one game in the 2017 season, the former Texas Tech player will now be the team’s go-to guy. Making his debut in week 17 of regular season play, Mahomes led the team to a 27-24 win against the Denver Broncos. Mahomes threw for 284 yards on 22-for-35 throwing, setting himself up for a promising start to his career in Kansas City.
Reid and staff have clearly had high hopes for the young player from the start. Releasing their veteran quarterback, Alex Smith, at the end of the season was a move that came as a shock to many. The 2017 season was one of the best for Smith, but that was not enough to keep him around.
Moving into the 2018 season there has been a numerous amount of changes made to the roster in an attempt to change the team's dynamic and build around Mahomes. Releasing several of their veteran players, the Chiefs’ lineup has made some drastic changes in the past few months.
Defensive lineman Tamba Hali, cornerback Marcus Peters, and safety Ron Parker are among the group of players that have been released or traded moving into 2018.
Eliminating these veteran players was key as the Chiefs move into the Mahomes era. Rightfully so, Reid is focused on building a more youthful and cohesive team. With a mix of returning players and fresh faces there is enough experience and eagerness to make the team successful.
With Smith out of the picture, the Chiefs’ coaching staff continue to add players with the intentions of complimenting Mahomes.
One of those players is wide receiver Sammy Watkins. With 25 touchdowns and an average of 15.9 yards per catch during his time with the NFL, Watkins is joining an already explosive Chiefs’ offense.
Wide receiver Tyreek Hill will also be remaining with the team, meaning his and Watkins' attacking prowess will seem to make Mahomes’ job appear easy.
Also returning to the Chiefs’ offense is tight end Travis Kelce. Just recently becoming a more reliable piece of the team’s offense, Kelce is sure to be utilized by Mahomes. With size and speed, Kelce is just another potential target for the young quarterback.
Building an impressive offensive line during the off season was important for the franchise. Equipping Mahomes with the necessary tools to be successful will be the best thing for the team moving forward.
Kevin Patra of NFL.com believes the Chiefs offense will be fun to watch in 2018.
"When KC handed the starting gig to Mahomes this offseason, team brass knew it needed to buffer the big-armed quarterback right out of the gate," Patra said. "Adding Watkins — even at a huge cost — gives the Chiefs a player with the talent to be a true No. 1 wideout. Mahomes tossing bombs to Watkins and Hill play after play could provide the most fun offense next season."
Reid has put a lot on the line by trusting the young quarterback with just one NFL start. But, with full confidence in its choice, the Chiefs’ coaching staff believe Mahomes is definitely the real deal. The confidence they have in him shows in the decisions they have made through trades and free agency.
Fans are worried that Mahomes lacks the experience needed to really lead the Chiefs in a positive direction. It is only natural for spectators to wonder: is Patrick Mahomes really ready to carry a whole NFL team on his shoulders?
The answer is yes. With the trust of the Chiefs’ staff, Mahomes is sure to be an effective leader for the team. But, most importantly, the athletes that Reid and staff have surrounded the young quarterback with will help ensure his success.
— Edited by Alexandra Martinez