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Patrick Mahomes On Breaking Out Of 2021 Slump, Expectations For Mecole Hardman, More News

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Patrick Mahomes

Mahomes Discusses Breaking Out Of Early-Season 2021 Slump

After a sluggish 3-4 start to the 2021 season, the Kansas City Chiefs eventually regained their championship-caliber form and reeled off eight straight wins.

A 9-1 finish ultimately led to them winning their sixth straight AFC West division title en route to a fourth consecutive AFC Championship Appearance. There, they dropped a heartbreaker in overtime to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Having reached four straight AFC Championship Games and two of the last three Super Bowls, the Chiefs are among the main championship favorites heading into 2022. The hope is that Kansas sportsbook promos will be made available in time for the start of the 2022 NFL season; the Chiefs open on Sept. 11 against the Arizona Cardinals.

Either way, Kansas sports betting is expected to launch at some point in 2022. When it goes live, residents of The Wheat State will be able to take advantage of several welcome bonuses and offers, such as FanDuel’s $1,000 “No Sweat First Bet” and DraftKings’ $100 in free bets for those who register early.

Mahomes’ turnaround in the second half was obviously instrumental in helping Kansas City clinch a fourth straight 12-win season. While speaking to The Ringer, the 26-year-old explained how he busted out of the first-half slump that caught much of the league by surprise.

The 2018 league MVP focused more on his foot position, getting the ball out quicker and taking the easier completions that defenses happily gave up.

“For me, I started being more patient, started taking the underneath stuff, and then started opening it up,” Mahomes said. “Once I started doing that, and taking those completions, taking that stuff over the middle, and to the flats, I think it made defenses come up. And that allowed me to take that big shot that we always love doing. Getting the ball out faster, making the right decision, not hanging on that one read.”

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Needless to say, the bar has been set very high for KC in the Mahomes era. So much so that a 12-win season, division title, and AFC Championship Game appearance was considered a “disappointing” season.

With a championship-caliber roster that’s loaded on both sides of the ball, anything less than a Super Bowl victory will once again be considered a lost year for Mahomes and company.

Mahomes Expects Big Things For Mecole Hardman

The Chiefs used a 2019 second-round pick (56th overall) on speedy wideout Mecole Hardman, but the Georgia product has yet to truly break out.

Hardman is entering the final season of his rookie contract. With superstar wideout Tyreek Hill (traded to the Miami Dolphins) out of the picture, Mahomes expects the fourth-year wideout to help replace some of Hill’s production.

During an interview on NFL Network’s “Inside Training Camp” (h/t Arrowhead Addict), Mahomes expressed optimism that Hardman will play a key role in Kansas City’s offense.

“Marquez (Valdes-Scantling) has made a lot of big plays, and I think Mecole has taken that step (to fill)] that spot that Tyreek did in those deep routes,” Mahomes said. “He’s accepted that challenge, and we’ll have everybody kind of developing and doing different types of stuff, but he’s about to be a big part of it and I’m excited for him.”

Hill was traded to the Dolphins after he and the Chiefs were unable to reach an agreement on a new deal. Kansas City GM Brett Veach rebuilt the receiving room by signing Valdes-Scantling and former Pittsburgh Steelers star JuJu Smith-Schuster in free agency. Veach also selected Western Michigan product, Skyy Moore, with the No. 54 selection in this year’s draft.

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Hardman is coming off a career year in which he caught 59 passes for 693 yards and two touchdowns. With Hill no longer in the fold, Hardman will have every opportunity to build off his career season and set himself up nicely for a nice payday in 2023.

Quarterbacks Coach Matt Nagy On Working With Mahomes

Matt Nagy’s success as the Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator from 2016 to 2017 led to him receiving the Chicago Bears head coaching position in 2018.

Under Nagy, then-Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith enjoyed a career year in 2017. Mahomes spent most of his rookie year learning behind Smith, though he started the regular season finale against the Denver Broncos after KC clinched the AFC West.

Nagy was dismissed by Chicago after a disappointing 2021 season, and Andy Reid eventually rehired his former assistant. Nagy now serves as Kansas City’s quarterback’s coach and a senior assistant.

“It is so neat to see (Mahomes’) growth of where he’s at and what he’s done,” Nagy told reporters on Tuesday, per Aaron Ladd of KSHB. “He has so much confidence and when he walks in the room, results occur because of that confidence every day in practice.”

Nagy added that the Super Bowl 54 champion and MVP “makes me a better coach because of that, he makes his teammates better players and it’s just special.”

The 2018 NFL Coach of the Year joined Reid’s coaching staff in Philadelphia back in 2009, serving as a coaching intern before moving up to a coach assistant role. After two years in the offensive quality control coaching position, Nagy joined Reid (fired by the Eagles after 2012) in Kansas City.

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Though Nagy’s coaching tenure in Chicago ended on a disappointing note, he led the team to a surprise NFC North division title in 2018 as well as a wild card berth in 2020. A fresh start in Kansas City with a world-class quarterback at the helm just might be what Nagy needs to eventually become a head coach again.

 

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