ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — Most coaches and players are fine with the way camp has evolved over the last decade or so, with a move off remote college campuses and back to the team’s normal practice facilities. For coaches, there’s simply too much infrastructure to relocate a football operation to another place—from technology to weight room amenities to sport science resources. For players, it’s just easier, and more comfortable, at home.
So you can call Patrick Mahomes an outlier on this one, too.He likes that the Chiefs are holed up in a remote outpost an hour north of downtown Kansas City, and it’s not because he’s nostalgic for his days as a freshman in Lubbock, Texas. There are very functional reasons for it.
And one has been obvious pretty much every day out at the sixth camp of his already Canton-worthy career. Andy Reid runs the show here efficiently. The players practice in the morning, meet, watch tape, then come back out for a walkthrough. After that comes special teams meetings, when, traditionally, you’d find the older vets and quarterbacks who don’t have to attend getting treatment, getting a lift in or just going back to the dorms to relax.
“You’re starting to see when special teams starts and even ends, Pat go into the room with Travis [Kelce], JuJu [Smith-Schuster], MVS [Marquez Valdes-Scantling], and say, We’re gonna watch more tape,” said Chiefs GM Brett Veach after a recent practice. “That’s just the growth of the leader.”
In certain respects, Mahomes is the same guy he was when he reported to Missouri Western State last summer—one of the NFL’s very best players, arriving to carry out what’s almost seemed like his birthright over his four years as a starting quarterback and compete for a championship. In other respects, he, and so much around him, is different now than it was then.
This year, we’ll all get Mahomes 2.0, and how that looks, as I see it anyway, is one of the more underrated story lines of this NFL summer.
And that’s why what Mahomes loves about coming here is actually so important. Because the reasons for Mahomes being so excited to get here, and get rolling with a significantly different-looking offense around him, really are vital, in his mind, to where he’s going next.
“We get to get on that same page, and I think this is why it’s special to be here in St. Joe—because it’s different,” he said, in a quiet moment after practice. “Dorm rooms are a little messy to sleep in. But at the same time, you are with these guys all day every day, and you build those relationships, and know that when you get to game day, you know exactly what they’re gonna do.”
For four years, the rest of the NFL has had a pretty good idea of what Mahomes would do and everyone was powerless to stop it. If things go according to plan here, now, they’ll have to prepare for something else entirely. That’s a pretty scary thought, even without Tyreek Hill on the roster.