April 27, 2017. This is a date that will forever be remembered in Kansas City. This was the day the Kansas City Chiefs traded up 17 spots in the draft to take a quarterback out of Texas Tech. The Alex Smith era was coming to an end, and Patrick Mahomes was preparing to take over.
During his rookie season, Mahomes backed up Smith. Before his sophomore campaign, Smith was traded to the Washington Redskins and Mahomes was given the starting job. He made the Chiefs’ higher ups look like geniuses. Mahomes completed 66% of his passes on his way to 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns. He earned the NFL’s MVP award in his first full season as a starter.
Heading into 2019, Mahomes is the favorite to repeat as league MVP. The Chiefs are Super Bowl contenders once again and the feeling in Kansas City is at an all-time high. The Chiefs seemed to skip the whole franchise quarterback fad and went right for the generational talent. All eyes will be on Mahomes in year three, year two as a starter, to see if he can repeat his magician act.
Progress or Regress?
Let’s face it, Mahomes repeating his performance from last season is highly unlikely. This is not to say that 2018 was a a fluke or that he will regress as a player. This is simply saying that throwing for 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns is an impossible target to shoot for. Last season, Mahomes became just the second player ever to finish with those numbers. He joined Peyton Manning who accomplished the feat in 2013.
Mahomes has all the tools. He is 6’3, 230 pounds. His football IQ is extremely high, but it is his right arm that is a marvel. Before a game in Denver, Mahomes casually threw a ball 90 yards while warming up. He showed off his ambidextrous ways completing a pass with his left hand for a first down. Mahomes even introduced the world to the no look pass. There is no one who plays the game quite like he does. An encouraging point for Chiefs’ nation to hang their hats on is the way their 23-year old quarterback showed up in big games.
Mahomes threw for four touchdowns in his first game in 2018. Week two, he threw six touchdowns. His first interception of the season did not come until week five. The Chiefs traveled to Los Angeles to take on the Rams in what was sure to be an offensive showcase. The game did not disappoint. Mahomes threw three interceptions, but finished with 478 yards and six touchdowns while leading his team to 51 points. Against the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game, Mahomes finished with 295 yards and three touchdowns in a losing effort.
The ability to play on the big stage is something that cannot be taught, especially to a 23-year old. Mahomes handled it all like a veteran. Fantasy owners were very happy with Mahomes last season, and they will be again in 2019. Again, just because 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns being repeated is not a realistic expectation does not mean that Mahomes will regress. This offseason, he is making sure that he only moves forward as a player.
Mahomes’ Offseason Training
“For me, offseason-training wise, it’s all about trying to define [my body] … trying to make sure I’m in the best shape possible, nutritionally and physically and mentally,” Mahomes told Terez Paylor of Yahoo Sports. “So the big thing for me this offseason going in was, I wanted to gain muscle but at the same time, cut weight. Kind of a mixture of both.”
A new look Mahomes could be coming in 2019. He has vowed to gain more muscle, particularly in his lower body. He is doing this by extending his workouts, both in the gym and running. When it is time to report to training camp, Mahomes hopes to have shed three to five percent body fat from his frame. He will do this by working out, but most importantly, improving his diet.
“I mean, I’ve always been someone who trains hard, someone who works out hard, someone who goes out there every single day and doesn’t feel complete until I get a workout in on any given day,” Mahomes told Paylor. “The lowest I was last year after training camp was 12 percent, and that’s pretty good, but now my goal is to be in the single digits.”
The Chiefs were one game away from the Super Bowl last season. Mahomes is working hard to do whatever he can to make sure they get there this season. It is obvious that the league is going to be gunning for the league MVP and his team. For Mahomes, Reid, and the entire Kansas City franchise, this is the year that they can take that next step. It all starts on the shoulders of No. 15.