With the Alex Smith trade to the Washington Redskins, it’s the Patrick Mahomes era with the Kansas City Chiefs. Are the Oakland Raiders ready for this?
We had ourselves a big and surprising trade in the NFL on Tuesday night. Not to say that the move itself was earth-shattering, but it comes as a shock in terms of when it came and how it impacts several franchises at the quarterback position.
The Kansas City Chiefs sent Pro Bowl quarterback Alex Smith to the Washington Redskins for cornerback Kendall Fuller and a third-round pick. So this means the Oakland Raiders‘ arch rival in the Chiefs get a second cornerback to start opposite of Marcus Peters in Kansas City.
Washington will move on from Kirk Cousins at quarterback. He could sign with teams like the Denver Broncos or the New York Jets in free agency. This also means it is the beginning of the Patrick Mahomes era in Chiefs football. Will the Silver and Black be ready to take on this former Texas Tech gunslinger twice annually going forward?
The plan all along in Kansas City was to move on from Smith in favor of Mahomes. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid likens Mahomes to the guy he used to coach in Green Bay. You know, Brett Favre. Mahomes was one of the strongest arms we’ve seen come out of college in some time. He was a raw prospect coming out of Texas Tech, as he starred in Kliff Kingsbury‘s Air Raid system.
Mahomes wasn’t going to play much as a rookie, as he needed to familiarize himself with a pro-style offense. He did play in Week 17 versus the Denver Broncos in 2017. Mahomes completed 62.9 percent of his passes for 284 yards and an interception.
Even though no Air Raid quarterback had ever had success in the NFL, in Kansas City’s eyes, Mahomes was worth trading up to No. 10 to be the second quarterback off the board. So how will he fare in presumably his first year as a starter? Will it be good news or bad news for the Raiders?
Let’s be real. Kansas City wouldn’t have made the Smith trade if the Chiefs didn’t think Mahomes was ready to start. In his first game against the Broncos, he didn’t look overly overwhelmed playing the position. Mahomes was able to make a bunch of tight window throws inside of a muddy pocket. Though he didn’t throw any touchdowns, it does look like it’s going to work with him in Kansas City.
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That being said, his gunslinger instincts could get him in trouble as a second-year player. Do keep in mind that the Chiefs lost their offensive coordinator Matt Nagy to the Chicago Bears head coaching job.
This means Reid will be more involved in play calling in 2018. That didn’t go over so well during the middle of the season for Kansas City. The Chiefs had the confidence to promote running backs coach Eric Bieniemy from within, but maybe the passing game concepts won’t be as intricate as they were under Nagy.
Oakland looks to have upgraded on defense in terms of staff. The Cincinnati Bengals were usually solid on defense with Paul Guenther calling the shots. He’ll now be in charge of game planning against Mahomes twice annually. However, there won’t be a lot of NFL tape on Mahomes before the Raiders’ first game with the Chiefs next year. Mahomes could be hard to stop.
Overall, it is key for the Raiders secondary to play well against the Chiefs now with Mahomes at quarterback. He has the arm talent to make all the throws needed to be a star in this league. However, he could be baited into throwing some costly picks. In time, Mahomes could prove to be an upgrade over Smith. That’s not ideal because Smith used to carve up the Raiders all the time. All we know is it’s a new era of Chiefs football and the Raiders must adjust accordingly.