While Patrick Mahomes has only spent two full seasons under center, he’s already accomplished more than some players do in their entire career. The Kansas City Chiefs quarterback already has an NFL MVP and a Super Bowl title to his name; that reality, however, doesn’t mean he’s a perfect player. Just ask Kurt Warner.
Although Warner might not have had the raw talent of Mahomes, he still knows a thing or two about playing quarterback at the highest level. He believes that the Chiefs star can still “clean up” one specific aspect of his game moving forward.
Patrick Mahomes’ rapid rise to stardom
These days, it’s impossible to think of Patrick Mahomes as anything other than a must-watch NFL quarterback. There was a time, however, when experts and draft analysts were skeptical of his skill set.
At Texas Tech, Mahomes threw for 11,252 yards and 93 touchdowns during his three seasons under center. Despite that stat line, questions about his technique remained. “Mahomes does indeed face the steep learning curve that comes with a transition from Texas Tech’s system to the NFL,” Sports Illustrated’s scouting report explained. “On top of that, Mahomes offers the decision-making that comes with the gunslinger label.”
The Kansas City Chiefs, however, didn’t seem to be too concerned. When the 2017 NFL draft rolled around, they traded up to pick Mahomes 10th overall. He spent his rookie year sitting behind Alex Smith, learning the professional ropes.
In 2018, the Chiefs decided Mahomes was ready and, from there, the rest is history. He threw for 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns that year, cruising to the NFL MVP award; while his counting numbers declined in 2019, he led the Chiefs to three consecutive playoff comebacks, breaking the franchise’s 50-year Super Bowl drought.
Kurt Warner still wants to see better footwork
Based on his first two seasons as an NFL starter, Patrick Mahomes seems like a pretty perfect quarterback. Kurt Warner, however, knows the realities of stepping under center in the NFL. He believes the Chiefs star can still clean up his footwork and take his game to an even higher level.
“When you get talented guys like Patrick Mahomes, like Aaron Rodgers, they’re so used to getting away with doing things with their special arms and special arm talent that they get away with bad footwork sometimes,” Warner explained on the NFL Network, according to ChiefsWire. “Their feet will be moving and going one direction, [while they’re] trying to jam throws in the other direction.”
That won’t come as a revelation to anyone who has watched Mahomes play. While that ability to make seemingly impossible throws is part of what makes the Chiefs quarterback a star, it’s not the best habit from a football perspective.
“He finds himself stepping one direction, trying to throw it another direction, the balls will get away from him a little bit and lead to bad plays. Now he’s usually able to overcome that with the special plays that he makes,” Warner continued. “But if he can clean up his footwork and become more efficient from throw to throw to throw, not just the big throws, but on the normal everyday throws that you’re asked to make, I think Patrick Mahomes can get better than he’s been over these first few years. And we all know he’s been incredible.”
Patrick Mahomes has actually been working on his footwork this offseason
Thankfully for Kurt Warner and Kansas City Chiefs fans, Patrick Mahomes seems to be ahead of the game. Earlier this offseason, the quarterback said that he was trying to improve his footwork ahead of the 2020 campaign.
“For me, it’s something I work on anyways. This offseason has really emphasized that. I’ve always worked on footwork,” Mahomes told Troy Polamalu on Instagram, as documented in another ChiefsWire post. “Footwork, to me, is the most important thing. You can have every different type of throwing motion, you can have every different type of arm strength.”
Mahomes also explained that footwork was something he could focus on at home, despite being socially distanced from his receivers. Based on that reality and Kurt Warner’s assessment, the rest of the NFL might see an even more impressive Patrick Mahomes this fall.