If any opposing coach knows something about preparing for the Kansas City Chiefs on the biggest stage, it’s Robert Saleh.
The recently hired New York Jets head coach, formerly the San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator since 2017, got a first-hand look at the challenges Patrick Mahomes presents defenses — even the most formidable ones — in Super Bowl LIV. Now, he has some advice for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as they look to put a cap on the MVP candidate’s bid for a second straight Lombardi Trophy.
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Saleh to Bucs: Mahomes ‘Might Do His Little Old Man Jog’
It’s no secret that the 25-year-old Chiefs quarterback is still dealing with the after-effects of a turf toe injury suffered in Kansas City’s AFC Divisional Round win over the Cleveland Browns. However, if you hadn’t known any better, it would have been difficult to decipher as Mahomes shredded the Buffalo Bills’ defense for a postseason career-high 325 passing yards and three touchdowns in last Sunday’s AFC Championship.
During an appearance on Pro Football Talk’s PFT Live on Thursday, Saleh jokingly warned Todd Bowles’ men not to be deceived by Mahomes’ “little old man jog in between plays.”
“You’ve got to be relentless,” Saleh told hosts Mike Florio and Chris Simms this week. “You have to be relentless. Just when you think you might have him, he might step two steps back and then throw off his back foot. I mean, he has ridiculous arm talent. He’s got tremendous accuracy. He’s got tremendous mobility.
“But any time you’re a pass rusher just understand that he might do his little old man jog in between plays where it looks like his feet hurt. Don’t kid yourself. He’s got tremendous mobility, his arm strength is ridiculous. You have to be relentless all the way through. And understand that there could be a play and a second play that happens just because of his ability to extend plays and make the throws that other people can’t.”
Saleh’s commentary didn’t get past Mahomes though, who apparently got a chuckle out of it.
Mahomes Could Still Need Offseason Surgery
Fortunately for Chiefs Kingdom, the superstar signal-caller said he “felt like myself out there” following last weekend’s victory despite wearing a special steel shoe insert to help protect his left foot. While he is expected to be good to go for February 7, Mahomes may still need to explore the possibility of offseason surgery if his big toe doesn’t show improvement in the coming weeks.
“As far as after the season, I’m told the thought right now is he does not need surgery, but he is going to meet with a specialist whenever the season ends to determine that fully,” NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on January 24.
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Chris Licata is an NFL contributor covering the Kansas City Chiefs from enemy territory in Denver, Colorado. Follow him on Twitter @Chris__Licata or join the Heavy on Chiefs Facebook community for the latest out of Chiefs Kingdom!