The Kansas City Chiefs knew they might be flirting with a negative turnover regression moving from Alex Smith to Patrick Mahomes. The team made the move anyway knowing the upside the young, big-armed signal-caller could bring to Andy Ried's offense.
Through the start of training camp, the adjustment has been a little choppy. Mahomes has made his share of mistakes, including tossing seven interceptions in six practices, per ESPN.com.
Highlighting Mahomes' bevy of picks in practice shouldn't be the focus. The practice field is the team's incubation center. Training camp should be the time for the young quarterback to learn what he can and cannot get away with on the NFL gridiron.
"He had a few hiccups today," offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy said, via ESPN. "But that's a part of the process. When you're young you need those hiccups because they become valuable lessons. ... Would we like for him to be perfect? Yes. We'd like for him to have the highest quarterback rating ever. ... He just needs to be poised under pressure."
Too often we in the outside world jump to conclusions based on one practice, a few errors, or a social media video of a player failing on the field. As we noted Wednesday when discussing the viral video of Richard Sherman getting burned, without context or understanding of the situation, judging players based on a small sample size or a practice flub is counterproductive to the goal.
The objective is for Mahomes to thrive when the real games start, not in early August, in St. Joseph, Missouri.
There will be growing pains with Mahomes that the Chiefs didn't experience under Smith. Another example was calling the wrong play in the huddle on Wednesday.
"Being able to get in and out of the huddle, calling the right plays and then not making a bad play worse is something I've got to keep getting better at," Mahomes said. "I have to eliminate those mistakes. It's something that can be described as a learning process. Hopefully I make those mistakes now and don't make them in the game."
The true mark of a great quarterback is not that he never makes mistakes. It's that he doesn't duplicate those errors over and over. According to Bieniemy, Mahomes isn't repeatedly making the same slipups.
Over the next month there will continue to be errors from the 22-year-old quarterback during practices and in preseason games. There will also be flashes of brilliance. The Chiefs are betting the latter will outshine the former once games that count begin.