The Kansas City Chiefs have become one of the most consistently successful teams in the NFL since quarterback Patrick Mahomes took over under center in 2018.
With two Super Bowl titles to show for their effort, it seems nothing can stop the AFC’s preeminent powerhouse. Though Mahomes is unquestionably the driving force behind the team’s competitiveness week in and week out, he wouldn’t be as effective without the help of his receivers, most notably All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce.
In an interview with former Chiefs signal-caller Alex Smith on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Friday, Kelce caught up with his former teammate and delved into the intricacies of his relationship with Mahomes.
“You kind of have your equal when it comes to improvisation and competitiveness when it comes to Pat at the quarterback position, right?” Smith asked. “Not only do you guys have so much success in rhythm in the passing game, but unbelievable connection off rhythm as you guys extend plays and your guy’s instinctiveness and how it marries is so unique. Can you take the listeners a little bit through. Is it just backyard ball? Is there a method to the madness? That relationship and obviously its growth as well.”
Kelce’s answer was about as in-depth as listeners could hope for it to be and entailed descriptions of both Mahomes’ play style as well as a look into how the pair function together within the Chiefs offense.
“Obviously, you don’t develop these kinds of things without being in practice,” He explained. “Going full speed, every single rep in the offseason and training camps. Those are all instincts that you build for in-game decisions. I feel like, you know, the one thing that Pat (Mahomes) does naturally better than any quarterback or player I’ve ever been around is improvise when the play shuts down. His ability to get out of the pocket and still be able to throw it anywhere on the field. As far as he needs to throw it, as short as he needs to throw it. Just being able to get it into somebody’s hands.
“When I saw that he has that ability, now it’s almost (that) you get more excited when the first play breaks down. They glove us on the first play, they just have our card, they have the right defense, the right coverage. And now, it’s even more fun because when Pat gets out of the pocket, guys tend to move more, it starts to become more of a broken-down play. Coverages don’t stay the same, voids open up in other areas. It’s really just backyard ball, you just go to the open spot and let Pat kind of throw you open.”
He ended his comments on the subject by reiterating the importance of preparation, particularly in the offseason, to ensure that the chemistry built over the course of Kansas City’s 17-game schedule doesn’t wane.
“That’s where you know, just being on the field with him during these OTAs reps, these training camp reps, seeing how he throws the ball to other guys, being like, ‘Oh, alright, that’s the kind of stuff Pat Mahomes can do!’ Now, when I’m in that situation, I’m ready for the football when it’s in the air.”
Kelce may have forged a legendary relationship with Mahomes, but his rapport with Smith was equally deadly for opposing defenses before 2017. Often overlooked in the new era of Chiefs football is the role that Smith played to mentor Kelce and Mahomes, who were rising stars during his time in Kansas City, and one can only imagine the impact that the retired quarterback had on both players’ trajectories.
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Story originally appeared on Chiefs Wire