Ragged day from Patrick Mahomes II doesn't ruin Chiefs' enthusiasm

"If you want to make mistakes, you make them now," Patrick Mahomes II said of offseason practice. "You don't want to make those mistakes in the game." AP Photo/Orlin Wagner

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Patrick Mahomes II is just beginning his career as an NFL starting quarterback, but he has played enough football to know there are going to be days like the one he experienced on Thursday.

Mahomes and the first-team offense had a ragged day as the Chiefs concluded their first week of offseason practice. They consoled themselves with the hope that better days are ahead.

That's a reasonable belief. Mahomes played well in the one game he started last season as a rookie. He led the Chiefs on a game-winning field goal drive in the final moments against the Denver Broncos.

The Chiefs have surrounded Mahomes with a solid supporting cast. They added wide receiver Sammy Watkins to an already strong group of skill players that includes tight end Travis Kelce, wide receiver Tyreek Hill and running back Kareem Hunt.

Mahomes raved about catches that Watkins made in practice earlier in the week, including a one-handed grab that Watkins posted to his Twitter account. He later removed the video.

"The first pass of all [offseason practice] he was just running a go route and just caught it with one hand," Mahomes said. "Later on in the practice, I thought I overthrew him and thought I threw an interception. Then you just like saw this hand out of nowhere and he brought it down.

"He's someone that's going to help this offense tremendously."

But Mahomes and the Chiefs have much to clean up based on Thursday's practice. Mahomes was just 4-of-15 with an interception in full-squad practice and 7-of-12 with an interception in 7-on-7 drills.

On one interception, Mahomes had a pass tipped by a defensive lineman, with linebacker Tanoh Kpassagnon making the catch. Mahomes apparently didn't see cornerback Steven Nelson, who made the interception, on the other.

"If you want to make mistakes, you make them now," Mahomes said. "You don't want to make those mistakes in the game."

The Chiefs have intentionally loaded Mahomes with a ton of information. Andy Reid said his coaches "are throwing a lot of stuff" at Mahomes, and the young signal-caller said they've already fed him entire playbook, though the Chiefs haven't had time to install all of it at practice.

"I want him to be exposed to things," Reid said. "That's what you do. You work with it and kind of put your personality on these different things, try to find the things that he's best at and work the offense around him, like we did with Alex [Smith]. We worked the offense around Alex, built it around him. Now, it's this kid's turn, and you've got to kind of feel that part out. He's going to keep firing, and that's all we want -- learning. It's a great time for that. That's what this is all about here."

"He's just got to do it" the head coach continued. "He's got to practice and work through it and massage each play and see how it works against different coverages. He's so willing. That's the part you appreciate."

The Chiefs had developed a comfort level in their five seasons with Smith as the quarterback. They knew what they would get with Smith year in and year out. They made the playoffs in four of those seasons. Smith's annual totals for yardage, touchdown passes and interceptions stayed within a relatively narrow range.

They are confident in Mahomes, as they showed when the traded Smith to the Washington Redskins. But Mahomes is still largely an unknown, and it's on him to make the offense more productive than it was when Smith was the quarterback.

"I think we can be one of, if not the best offense in the NFL," Mahomes said. "We have a ton of talent everywhere, and we're deep at every position. I think with the offensive line all coming back pretty much and then having a good stable of running backs, having receivers and tight ends that can make plays, for me, it's all about just getting them the ball and letting them make the plays."

That's why a rough day at offseason practice wouldn't drown the enthusiasm of Mahomes or his teammates.

"The sky is the limit," Kelce said. "We have Pro Bowl-caliber, top-notch wide receivers. You can move that into the tight end room, and even the running back room -- you get Spencer Ware back. You added some pieces there. It is exciting. It is something we will have to do together, knowing Pat's situation and him coming into a role with a lot of scrutiny. It is definitely going to be a team effort to get him rolling."