KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The first week of Kansas City Chiefs offseason practice for Patrick Mahomes II was noteworthy not so much for anything the rookie did or didn’t accomplish, but for where he was positioned on the quarterback depth chart.
Mahomes was a solid No. 3 behind starter Alex Smith and second-string quarterback Tyler Bray. That wasn't a surprise, not with the Chiefs determined not to ruin Mahomes by rushing him into the lineup before they determine he's ready to play.
So his stay as the third quarterback could last for some time.
"There's more than just stepping back and throwing the football," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. "That position we've grown into a pretty tough thing to pick up right away."
The learning process is extensive for Mahomes, who played exclusively in the spread offense at Texas Tech. The gamut of items on his list runs from basics like calling plays in the huddle, something he wasn't asked to do in college, to more complicated things like making pre-snap adjustments at the line of scrimmage based on what he's seeing from the defense.
"He's learning to take drops and stay in the pocket and do the things we expect him to do," Reid said. "The thing you see is the vision he had in college and obviously the arm strength and accuracy. You see those things. But he's learning the drops. He's learning to call the plays in the huddle, calling things at the line of scrimmage. There's a whole plate there that he's got to digest.
"The one thing I appreciate about him is he's one of those guys that wants to be great. That's what he wants to do. That's how he's approaching the game."
The Chiefs are trying to speed the developmental process by feeding Mahomes more work in practice than the No. 3 quarterback might normally expect. But at the recent rookie camp Mahomes acknowledged being overwhelmed at the volume of things he's been asked to learn, saying the last time he felt this way was as a freshman at Texas Tech.
"It's a whole new experience when you come in and you're trying to learn a new playbook," he said. "At the same time, you have to be reading the defenses. You have to really make sure you know what's going on so you can read defenses and make the right plays.
"It's a lot more than I had at Texas Tech, but we're learning as we go and we're getting better every single rep."
Bray, like Mahomes, has never taken a snap in a regular-season NFL game. But he's been with the Chiefs for four seasons and has a better grasp of what Reid expects from his quarterbacks, which is why he's No. 2 on the depth chart, at least for now.
"He's earned the right to be in that position," Reid said. "Now he's got to maintain it."