Here’s Why Patrick Mahomes Has Played So Much in Preseason

Getty Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes prepares to snap the football against the Arizona Cardinals.

Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford, Russell Wilson, Ryan Tannehill, Derek Carr, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield, Daniel Jones, Justin Hebert.

What do all of those quarterbacks have in common? They are all starters in the NFL, but more importantly, they haven’t played a single snap through two weeks of the preseason, per ESPN.

But there’s a quarterback missing from the above list, and this one is better than all the aforementioned quarterbacks — Patrick Mahomes.

Mahomes — despite having all-world talent and being in Kansas City for five years in the same offensive system — has played in both of the Chiefs’ preseason games thus far. But why? Mahomes’ coaches can add a bit of clarity to this head-scratching conundrum.

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Communication is Key

“I think it helps all of them,” Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy told the media during his Tuesday press conference when asked what the benefits are of playing Mahomes during the preseason, especially with a new offensive line. “It helps Pat, it helps the O-line because they’re still developing that chemistry. One thing that we always talk about is the importance of overcommunicating clarity. Good, bad or indifferent, as long as the communication is there and everybody is on the same page, we will always find a way to make it right.

“But we have to continue working on that, and that’s an aspect of when you’ve got young players up front. So, you want to make sure you’re continuing that continuity and building that chemistry so guys will know exactly what to do and how to handle those situations once the season kicks off.”

Head coach Andy Reid spoke very similarly to Bienemy just a day earlier when asked what the benefit was of Mahomes getting so many snaps in the second preseason game — 32 in total, per PFF.

“Yeah, I think it’s good for Pat, but I also think it’s good for the offensive line and Pat to see how that’s going to work and get a feel for them, and for them to get a feel for him likewise,” Reid said. “We’ve got some young guys, so I left them in with Chad (Henne) so they could get a little bit more extended work there. We’ve got two veterans on the left side, but all five of them are new, so you need to play and this gives us that opportunity.”

O-Line is Bottom Line

The bottom line is — Mahomes did not play against the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals for the sake of his own arm. He did so to work with his brand-new offensive line.

Kansas City has five new starters along their offensive line — left tackle Orlando Browns Jr., left guard Joe Thuney, rookie center Creed Humphrey, rookie right guard Trey Smith, and right tackle Lucas Niang — so gaining reps with those teammates is incredibly valuable for Mahomes, who is in charge of helping the offensive line dissect what’s in front of them and getting them to work as one cohesive unit.

Reid was non-committal during his Monday press conference to identify how much his star quarterback would play in the Chiefs’ preseason finale against the Minnesota Vikings. But what he definitely didn’t rule out is the possibility of Mahomes playing at all, which is something — as mentioned earlier — many teams have opted to do with their starting quarterbacks for the entirety of the preseason. That speaks volumes to how much Reid and his coaching staff value these live game reps for his quarterback and offensive line before the regular season is underway.

For what it’s worth — the reps have been paying off. The offensive line has shown a lot of promise through the first two preseason games. Have they been perfect? No, but that’s OK. The goal is to make sure they are on the same page as Mahomes, but more importantly, to make sure their former MVP quarterback stays on his feet consistently, while also allowing Kansas City’s run game to be a reliable factor for the offense every week. So far, they’ve accomplished that goal.

Through 52 total snaps this preseason, the starting offensive line of Kansas City hasn’t been penalized at all, has given up zero sacks, and only allowed three quarterback pressures, according to the Chiefs Wire’s Charles Goldman. And although the rushing statistics through two games hasn’t been phenomenal — 15 rushes for 51 yards by all running backs behind the starting offensive line, 3.4 yards per carry — the improvement in the trenches when watching the film shows they will be able to run the ball more effectively moving forward with more time together.

So while many are calling for Mahomes to ride the bench this preseason, the reps he has been earning with his revamped offense line will pay off when the regular season begins.


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