FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes‘ blazing hot start has caught the attention of many around the NFL, with New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady the latest to take notice.
“He’s got a great arm, a fabulous arm, can throw the ball out of the stadium,” Belichick said Monday morning, as the 3-2 Patriots began their preparations for Sunday night’s AFC showdown against Mahomes and the 5-0 Chiefs.
Asked what has impressed him about Mahomes, Belichick said, “Pretty much everything.”
“He gets the ball to all of his receivers quick, quick release, sees things quickly, can extend plays … makes good decisions, accurate, gets the ball out on time.”
Mahomes is 112-of-176 for 1,513 yards, with 14 touchdowns and two interceptions this season, as he has decisively taken the reins from veteran Alex Smith, who was traded to the Washington Redskins in January.
Having been groomed behind Smith as a rookie – somewhat similar to how Brady spent his rookie season in 2000 behind Drew Bledsoe, John Friesz and Michael Bishop on the depth chart – Mahomes’ breakout has also caught the attention of Brady.
“I haven’t studied him much, just some highlights which everyone sees, and obviously incredibly impressive,” Brady said Monday in his weekly interview on sports radio WEEI. “He’s very talented. He’s got what seems to be a lot of great tools to work with.”
Brady acknowledged that while both he and Mahomes had the benefit of a behind-the-scenes type of rookie season, the game has evolved from when he entered the NFL as a sixth-round pick in 2000.
“Football was different then. I think now, in some ways, pro football is more glorified college football. Maybe the transition is a more similar game than what it used to be when I first started,” Brady said on WEEI.
“I think football now, removing some of the physical elements of the game, it’s more of a space game, you see a lot of college plays more in the pro game than what I remember when I started. That’s kind of how things have went over the last bunch of years.”
Belichick said the Patriots didn’t study Mahomes too extensively coming out of the 2017 draft because the team didn’t have a first-round pick and knew he wouldn’t be a realistic option with their initial selection at the end of the second round. Mahomes ended up going No. 10 overall after the Chiefs traded up to select him.
One thing Belichick is already stressing to the Patriots this week is defending all parts of the field because of Mahomes’ arm strength.
“No matter where it goes, it gets there pretty quickly,” he said. “He can rip it.”