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Kansas City Chiefs Are Still Impressive Without Tyreek Hill

I had a chance to go check out Kansas City Chiefs training camp, and I will say this, I was super impressed. I had a chance to talk with Andy Reid and visited with Patrick Mahomes about life and Xs and Os.

In regards to camp, I think this team is physically and mentally fit and ready for Week 1 already.

Life After Tyreek Hill

Checking out Mahomes from a bird’s eye view, he really understands the system. He understands what Reid is trying to accomplish—particularly in practice. He was in control and pretty much led the practice. He led all the drills, changed plays and called plays. The coach sat back and allowed him to embrace the quarterback position. I think that’s great for a guy going into his sixth season as he is growing as a quarterback. You look at a guy like Mahomes, he can play another 15 years if he follows the right regimen, which I think he will.

I was super curious to see how this team would look without Tyreek Hill, and I was very impressed. Mecole Hardman is going to step up, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling is going to play a crucial role. I didn’t see who was going to be the ‘X’ or the ‘Z,’ because I was all over the place and I was trying to spend as much time with Reid as I could. I was only there for seven or eight hours, so I wanted to get my time in with him.

Now that Hill is gone, I think Hardman is going to take that step. For one, Hardman is a lot bigger than I thought he was. After seeing him in person, I think he can take on that role of being a ‘Z’. He’s capable of playing a similar role to what DeSean Jackson did for us when I was with the Eagles.

He has that type of speed and explosiveness. They’re not the same because Jackson is different, but Hardman is the guy that can change the outlook and framework of that offense. You just have to put the ball in his hands. We’ve seen him line up in the backfield. We’ve seen him lineup at slot and out wide at ‘Z’ or ‘X’. You can move him around, so I think he’s gonna be the guy to step up the ship for the Kansas City Chiefs receiving group.

Expectations

Offensively, I think this team is ready to go. I think they are going to pick up where they left off last year. Don’t forget they still have Travis Kelce. When you have that type of safety blanket and mismatch weapon, anything is possible, and it opens up the remainder of the guys on offense. I know Reid will use that to his advantage.

The defense looks sharp. They put themselves in a position to make plays on offense and make practice difficult, which I think is a good thing. It’s always good when the offense and defense go back and forth, and the offense doesn’t just dominate the defense or vice versa. It was very competitive, and I thought that made for good practice, and good things to come moving forward. I was excited to see how they looked without Hill, and I was very impressed as I walked away from practice.

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Patrick Mahomes Is Still “The Guy” in the AFC West

The Self-Awareness of Patrick Mahomes

Yes, Patrick Mahomes is coming off playing the worst half of football of his career against Cincinnati. That day, he was playing not to lose the game. He was not his usual playing to win, letting it go self. 

Just today, I saw an article in which Mahomes acknowledged that he did not play the game to win, rather he played not to lose and played tight. This shows that the young man has self-awareness. He understands who he is as a player and what he is about. 

A Change of Scenery 

Most of Mahomes’ targets are gone, with the exception of Travis Kelce. Tyreek Hill is gone, and Mahomes now has to rebuild with Marques Valdes-Scantling and JuJu Smith-Schuster. Neither is coming off of an up-year. Some rookies are being added to the mix as potential weapons for Mahomes as well. 

What is most interesting is the way Andy Reid and General Manager Brett Veach approached acclimating Patrick Mahomes with this new group of receivers. They canceled some offseason activities because they know Mahomes will take care of it. Meaning, that this new group of receivers was going to go work out with Mahomes in Texas. They were going to spend time together, learn the offense, bond, and grow as a unit. 

That is Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers territory. Organizations have not given them the greatest set of receivers year in and year out, but they figured that these quarterbacks could bring the best out of the receivers and more than make do with who they have around them. 

Mahomes Will Take Care of It

When you have that kind of trust in your quarterback, even coming off the worst half of playoff football he has played, that speaks volumes. 

After being at Kansas City training camp once before and asking about a certain issue, someone in the organization told me, “Don’t worry, 15 will take care of it.” That is how they feel about Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City.

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