Both would be his worst since his second year as a starter in 2019 — and at his rate, he’ll have thrown a career-worst 15 interceptions by the end of the year. So, what’s different this year than years past?
“I didn’t understand how to read defenses until like halfway through last year.”
Patrick Mahomes is only going to get better.
— The Sporting News (@sportingnews) March 6, 2020
Mahomes himself admitted it has to do with the NFL’s new jersey numbering system during an appearance Monday night with Peyton and Eli Manning on the “ManningCast.” Mahomes admitted in early 2020 that he didn’t learn how to really read and breakdown defensive coverages until midway through the 2019 season.
“It’s even crazier now because everybody can wear the single digits,” Mahomes said, via Pro Football Talk. “We actually go in every week and we really emphasize the numbers because when you’ve got a number like No. 7 playing middle linebacker, that can really mess with your tells for the O-linemen. It looks cool, I’ll give everybody that, but it makes it a little difficult for the QB.”
Things have changed even more since then with the NFL switching up its numbering system over the last few years.
Players can now wear the No. 0, plus defensive linemen can wear any number between 50-79 and 90-99, linebackers can wear any number between 0-59 plus 90-99 and defensive backs can wear any number between 0-49.
The Chiefs themselves even have a few defensive players on their roster who wear nontraditional numbers including linebackers Nick Bolton (No. 32), Jack Cochrane (No. 43) and Drue Tranquill (No. 23), cornerback Joshua Williams (No. 2), and safeties Bryan Cook (No. 6) and Nazeeh Johnson (No. 13).
“You get these guys who rotate in, and you’ll get a DB who’s in the 40s and a linebacker in single digits,” Mahomes added. “Having to really recognize that quickly.”