Quarterback Patrick Mahomes arrived at training camp Tuesday with the understanding that he and his Kansas City Chiefs teammates need to be better in 2023 if they want to repeat as Super Bowl champions
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (AP) — Quarterback Patrick Mahomes arrived at training camp Tuesday with the understanding that he and his Kansas City Chiefs teammates need to be better in 2023 if they want to repeat as Super Bowl champions.
“I think the theme this year is how can we keep building,” said Mahomes, who reported for camp at Missouri Western State University on Tuesday along with the team’s quarterbacks and rookies.
Mahomes earned Most Valuable Player honors last season and captured his second Lombardi Trophy.
“Obviously we won the Super Bowl last year and it was amazing but we still have a lot of young guys. We want to continue to get better and better. You look around AFC everybody’s gotten better.”
If the Chiefs hope to improve, much of the challenge falls on Mahomes. Following the offseason departure of free agent receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman, it’s up to Mahomes to build connections with a group of young receivers including Kadarius Toney, Skyy Moore and this year’s second-round selection Rashee Rice.
The good thing, according to head coach Andy Reid, is how much Mahomes relishes challenges.
“With quarterbacks, the work’s never done,” Reid said. “It’s like being a farmer, and you just keep on cranking. We’re always trying to give him new challenges with things and he loves that, and loves to attack those types of things.”
It’s the ability to challenge his players that Mahomes says makes Reid a great coach.
“I’m sure you ask Travis (Kelce), you ask Chris Jones, you ask all these guys they think the same thing because he doesn’t let you be satisfied with where you’re at.”
Indeed, if the Chiefs hope to repeat as Super Bowl champions, they can’t be satisfied with what they accomplished last season.
The previous time the Chiefs looked to repeat as Super Bowl champions, they finished with a 14-2 record before losing Super Bowl 55 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-9.
Mahomes feels the need to motivate his teammates further this time around.
“Even though we’re winning football games let’s not be satisfied with just winning, let’s be satisfied with finding ways to get better every single week,” he said.
“I’ve said a lot of the AFC when you look at the AFC, there’s like almost every team you can see a path of them getting to the playoffs,” Mahomes said. “I know you say that every year but I think this year is really real, and so we know week in and week out it’s gonna be a challenge for us. Let’s get better and try to win as many football games as possible and put ourselves in that position.”
CHRIS JONES’ CONTRACT
With only a few days until the team’s veterans report to training camp, Reid remained unsure if All-Pro defensive tackle Chris Jones will arrive with his fellow teammates.
“I don’t know that,” Reid said. “I’ll have to just see how that goes. There’s communication going on. That’s the important part, then we just have to see.”
Jones is scheduled to earn $19.5 million in base salary this season with a cap hit of more than $29.4 million. The 29-year-old is seeking a contract extension while the club also wants an extension for Jones to free up much-needed cap space.
Reid said defensive tackle Tershawn Wharton, who finished last season on injured reserve with a torn ACL, will start training camp on the physically unable to perform list. Running back Isiah Pacheco, who underwent surgery for shoulder and hand injuries in the offseason will be evaluated when veterans report Friday to determine whether he’s ready to practice with the club.
Mahomes, who sustained a high-ankle sprain during the team’s postseason run, said he felt timid at times running and cutting during the offseason organized team practice activities (OTAs).
He feels he’s in a good spot now, however, heading into camp.
“When I got kind of through like closer to the (veteran) minicamp and that later OTA stage, I got that confidence back in my ankle,” Mahomes said. “I’m sure I’m not going be running a lot right now, but we’ll be testing especially in these half gassers, so I’ll make sure that it’s ready to go.”