While every Chiefs fan would like them to make the playoffs or at the very least make it to 8-8, the main focus of this season should be the growth of Patrick Mahomes.
The Chiefs are starting their own rookie QB for the 1st time since Brodie Croyle. Mahomes is only 2nd QB to start for the Chiefs as a 1st round pick, since 1983. All of this is new to Chiefs fans, considering Brodie Croyle never panned out and Todd Blackledge was drafted in a different era and time in the NFL.
The reason the Chiefs record shouldn’t be matter this year is because of the amount of unknowns heading into this year. The Chiefs have completely overhauled their defense with all of their draft picks being defensive players. Yes, all of the Chiefs’ picks were defensive players, including Kahlil Mckenzie, who was a college defensive tackle and is making the transition to offensive guard.
The biggest indication of success or failure for this season will be the performance of Mahomes. The Chiefs have pieces on offense to win a lot games, the defense could lose them a lot of games. The one thing Chiefs’ fans have to pay attention to, is Mahomes’ growth from Week 1 to Week 17. This team had seasons where they overachieved with Alex Smith, and where they underachieved with Alex Smith. Andy Reid’s track record would tell us that this should be a playoff team, but can we consider that a success if Mahomes doesn’t show growth. Yes, every fan wants to get to the playoffs, but if is it really a success if you make the playoffs with the QB being a weakness. I would argue that the Chiefs would still be in the same place as they were with Alex Smith, if this were the case. As long as Mahomes shows season long improvement, fans should be okay with 6-10 or 7-9 record. In his first season as a starter with the Packers, Aaron Rodgers team went 6-10. No one panicked because he showed the ability of a top level QB. On the eve of the 2018 regular season, I implore Chiefs fans to resist the urge to lose faith in the team if this season doesn’t end with a playoff appearance. As long as Mahomes shows growth from game 1 to game 16, the season should be considered a success. This season should be about having fun and watching a young QB with all the potential in the world grow before our eyes. Yes, wins and losses matter in the NFL, but this season the growth and development of Patrick Mahomes is more important.
That being said, I believe the Chiefs can win immediately with Patrick Mahomes. In my next article, I will tell you how the path for the Chiefs to not only win the division, but how they get to the AFC Championship game, this season.