GREEN BAY - He might still be a long shot to play Sunday, but Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes doesn’t seem like an injured player resigned to his fate.
Mahomes practiced Wednesday, not even a week after dislocating his kneecap in last Thursday’s game against the Denver Broncos. It had been reported that the injury would keep the 2018 NFL MVP out at least three weeks, but reports out of Kansas City on Wednesday were that backup Matt Moore had not yet been told he’ll be the Chiefs’ starter when they host the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid did not rule out Mahomes’ chances of playing Sunday.
“I don’t know,” Reid told Packers reporters in a conference call Wednesday. “I’m going to just see. I’ve got a bunch of guys who are just kind of coming back off of things, and so I’m going to see how they all do, and then I’ll be able to get a little better feel on things.
“But he’s going to do a few things out there, and we’ll see how he does.”
The plan for Mahomes on Wednesday was to see if he could get through individual drills, meaning team drills were off the table. ESPN reported that during the first 15 minutes of practice, Mahomes stretched and jogged and then threw a few passes with the quarterbacks, including one drop-back throw.
The mere fact Mahomes practiced (he was listed a being a limited participant) leaves some hope for the Chiefs quarterback to play this weekend. The Chiefs would not trot their franchise quarterback onto the practice field without him being medically cleared, and it’s doubtful they’d even consider it if he had zero chance to play Sunday.
That doesn’t mean Mahomes is in the clear. His ability might hinge most on how his knee responds to the physical activity. If there is any question about his health, the Chiefs are plenty insulated at the quarterback position with Moore, a veteran backup in his 11th NFL season.
Mahomes’ participation Wednesday presents another thing for the Packers to consider this week.
“I think you’ve always got to prepare for the quarterback,” LaFleur said, “especially when he’s out there practicing. But there’s so much to prepare for when you look at their offense. I mean, they’ve got explosive playmakers all over the field.
“There’s plenty to prepare for whether he plays or not.”
LaFleur specifically mentioned receivers Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman and Damarcus Robinson, tight end Travis Kelce, running backs Damien Williams and LeSean McCoy and fullback Anthony Sherman. There’s a lot to keep defensive coordinator Mike Pettine busy this week, even if the engine that makes everything click is Mahomes.
Moore spelled Mahomes midway through the second quarter last week. At the time, the Chiefs led the Broncos by only a touchdown, 13-6. Moore played the rest of the game, completing 10 of 19 passes for 117 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions, a 89.1 passer rating.
Those numbers are far behind the otherworldly standard for Mahomes, who completed 10 of 11 passes for 76 yards, one touchdown and a 125.8 rating against the Broncos. Still, Moore is a capable backup the Chiefs can rely on for a week or two, if need be.
“I don’t think the plays would change a bunch,” Reid said. “They didn’t in our last game, so we kind of kept doing what we do. That’s how you go. I think most coaches will probably tell you that, right? So that’s kind of where you roll, and then Pat separates himself by just doing them great. That’s what he does.
“I have full trust in Matt and how he goes about his business. If it comes down to that (Mahomes missing Sunday), we’re lucky to have him. That’s how we feel.”