Patrick Mahomes has no doubt his college coach, Kliff Kingsbury, is going to be successful with the Arizona Cardinals and Josh Rosen.
The Kansas City Chiefs prepare to play in their first AFC Championship Game since 1993. A large part of that has to do with the young star quarterback, Patrick Mahomes.
Mahomes has enjoyed a ton of success rather quickly as the Chiefs’ starting quarterback. He led the team to their first playoff home win in 25 years this past Sunday defeating the Indianapolis Colts, 31-13. The second-year quarterback put together a stellar campaign that has him in the running for the NFL MVP award after he threw for more than 5,000 yards, with 50 touchdowns and 12 interceptions to accompany a passer rating of 113.8.
That rise of Mahomes as one the NFL’s future stars was first evident at Texas Tech, under direction of former head coach Kliff Kingsbury.
Kingsbury is credited for mentoring Mahomes to becoming a top-10 selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, and was recently hired as the Arizona Cardinals head coach. Kingsbury’s Air Raid offensive system, which sawMahomes throw for 93 touchdowns in 32 games, took full advantage of his arm talent.
Arizona is relying on Kingsbury to develop another 10th-overall pick in quarterback Josh Rosen. The quarterback struggled mightily his rookie season after posting a league-worst 25.9 QBR in 2018. Mahomes thinks his former college coach will have no issues with the task ahead with the Cardinals.
“Kliff is a gifted coach and a major factor in my success,” Mahomes tells FanSided through his agent, Leigh Steinberg. “He’ll do a great job with the Cardinals and Josh Rosen.”
I pointed out in a previous article how Chiefs head coach, Andy Reid, incorporates plays from Mahomes’ Texas Tech days into his system as spread concepts. The 23-year-old has proven how the NFL is shifting into a more college-type passing system and how successful it can be.
Rosen still has untapped potential after a dismal season in Arizona that saw him go through two offensive coordinators in Mike McCoy and Byron Leftwich. He’s entering his second year in the league and is already on his second head coach. The odds haven’t been in his favor early, but Mahomes believes Kingsbury is the right guy to turn it all around for the Cardinals’ quarterback.
A large part of Rosen’s shortcomings had to do with always being on the ground. The quarterback was sacked 45 times for a 10.3 percent sack rate, which was the fifth-highest in the NFL. Kingsbury’s pass-happy offense won’t instill much confidence with those glaring numbers, but it’s actually more friendly to the quarterback than one would think.
During Kingsbury’s five seasons at Texas Tech, the quarterbacks were sacked on only 3.7 percent of their dropbacks. According to Pro Football Focus, that was the fourth-lowest rate in college football in that period of time. The highest sack total in a season under Kingsbury was 33 in 2013. Texas Tech threw the ball 559 times in 2014 and the quarterback was only sacked 13 times.
Rosen showed glimpses of how good he can be with a clean pocket. According to Pro Football Focus, Rosen had a passer rating of 86.9 with a clean pocket through the first seven weeks of the season, which isn’t amazing, but impressive for a rookie behind a patchwork offensive line. If Kingsbury can translate his success protecting the quarterback in college to the pros, Rosen should become the franchise quarterback Arizona envisions him to be.
Mahomes may be onto something with his unwavering confidence in his college head coach. Kingsbury schemed perfect protections for his quarterback and the results speak for themselves. He’ll aim to do the same in Arizona with Rosen as his new pupil.