The big right arm … the joy on his face when he is running around looking to launch one of his missiles throws … the fearlessness and swagger of a gunslinger … is it any wonder why many, Andy Reid included, gaze at Patrick Mahomes II and see Brett Favre?
“I think I see some of that, the fact that he’s a fiery competitor and he’s not afraid to fit the ball through the eye of the needle,” Chiefs receiver Chris Conley told The Post from Kansas City. “I see the fearlessness, I see that in him as well. Time will tell how good he’ll be. But I think the sky’s the limit for this guy.”
Mahomes unveiled the whole package with his four-touchdown demolition of the Chargers last Sunday that has stamped him as one of the league’s promising young franchise quarterbacks.
“He’s a competitor. It doesn’t really matter what he’s playing, he wants to win,” Conley said. “He practices with a fire and it translates into Sundays. He plays with a fire and he’s not afraid to go out there and win a football game.”
Mahomes has rare arm talent, and it makes a speedster like Tyreek Hill that much more dangerous.
“He’s got a cannon,” Conley said. “It’s one of the more talented arms I’ve ever seen. He can throw off his back foot accurately downfield. That’s one of the things that makes him special. You couple that with competitiveness and mental capability to just stay focused and calm, it makes him pretty dangerous.”
Conley referenced a 36-yard wheel route completion to fullback Anthony Sherman.
“We love our fullback, but most quarterbacks aren’t throwing to that guy,” Conley said. “But he felt like he had a shot, and he took it, threw a dime, and ultimately, Sherman made the play for him. He’s not afraid to put the ball where he believes his guy can make a play, and he’ll take those shots.”
And that, in a nutshell, is the difference between previous Chiefs starter Alex Smith and Mahomes, and why Reid traded up in the 2017 draft from 27 to 10 to get Mahomes, and why he traded Smith to the Redskins this past offseason.
Smith will pull the ball down and move the chains with his legs. Mahomes will swing for the fences. Smith more often than not took what they gave him. Mahomes will take what he wants.
Former Eli Manning backup Davis Webb, currently on the Jets practice squad, can vouch for it. Webb, following labrum surgery and an ankle injury, lost his starting job at Texas Tech to Mahomes, and transferred to Cal in 2016.
“He came in and torched everybody,” Webb told The Post. “You could tell that he was gonna be pretty special.”
In his last game at Texas Tech, Mahomes threw for 586 yards and six TDs in a 54-35 victory over Baylor in 2016.
“Everybody’s gonna talk about his arm strength — it’s really strong — but I think the biggest thing that he does well is when things are not there, and he’s able to move around a little bit and make a little magic happen,” Webb said.
Webb sounds a warning for defensive backs and defensive coordinators.
“Don’t let him get outside the pocket,” Webb said. “It’s not like he’s gonna run for 150 yards, but he can get outside the pocket and throw it about 80 yards. He can let it fly.”
Favre never met a throw he didn’t like. Mahomes, at 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, is slightly bigger than Favre. Like Favre, he played baseball. He is the son of former MLB pitcher Pat Mahomes. Unlike the young Favre, who was traded following his rookie 1991 season by the Falcons to the Packers, he is not an out-of-control wild child.
“He likes the things that young guys like,” Conley said. “He’s a really amicable guy and he’s easy to hang out with and get to know, but at the same time, you can tell that he’s ready to come in here and do something special when it comes to this football thing.”
Ron Wolf was the Packers GM who traded a No. 1 pick for Favre.
“I thought Favre was the best player in the 1991 draft, without question,” Wolf said by phone.
Wolf isn’t familiar with Mahomes, but it’s a good bet Reid was as seduced by some of his gifts as Wolf was by Favre.
“I thought when he took the field,” Wolf said of Favre, “that the field tilted in his team’s favor. That’s how good he was. And he was a perfect passer. He wasn’t a thrower, he was a passer, I think there’s a difference there.”
Webb remains in touch with Mahomes and roots for him from afar.
“Great dude, great teammate,” Webb said. “Him and I are still in touch, text back and forth, wish each other Luck. I look at the box score, the Kansas City Chiefs, every weekend to see how he did the preseason and so far this year. I’ve never had really a bad teammate, but he’s one of my favorites I played with.
“He’s very passionate on the field, he lets his emotions out,” Webb said. “It’s just fun to play with a guy like that. Comes to work every day, he wants to throw touchdowns, that’s his hobby, and he does a good job of it.”
Years into his Hall of Fame career, Favre sang “YMCA” in the huddle. He cracked jokes. Mahomes apprenticed behind Smith as a rookie and has started just two games. He’s locked in in the huddle.
“He’s not necessarily coming there to crack jokes,” Conley said. “But at the same time, he’s not putting so much pressure on a drive that he’s sucking the air out of the huddle. He knows what needs to be done, and he’s ready to go do it.”
Mahomes leads by example.
“And I think the more comfortable that he gets, he’s becoming more of a vocal leader,” Conley said. “I think what helps him a lot is he was able to watch a veteran lead by example, be first one in the building, last one out in Alex Smith and a guy who really would put everything on the line for games. And so he learned a lot from that, and I think he’s exhibiting those qualities in his own way.”
Mahomes believes he will silence critics of the Air Raid system he ran in college.
“They can watch my tape, and then we can talk after they see the things I can do,” he said on draft night. “I can make every throw. I can lead my team. All I can do is go out there and prove people wrong.”
Conley, who has a journalism degree from Georgia, is a budding film writer with ambition.
“Just to craft and create stories that are memorable, and that stick with people long after the film’s over,” Conley said.
Conley may be witnessing one live.
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