The Patrick Mahomes era moved one step closer in
Kansas City with the team’s first-round draft pick moving up to No.
2 on the team’s depth chart behind Alex Smith and ahead of Tyler

“It gives Patrick an opportunity to step up and work with that
second group and see what he can do there,” head coach Andy Reid

Mahomes followed Smith in the team’s quarterback rotation at
practice Sunday. The No. 10 overall pick in this year’s draft took
a handful of snaps with the first-team offense and then led the
second-team offense before handing off to Bray.

The move comes after Friday’s preseason opener against the San
Francisco 49ers in which Mahomes outshone the fifth-year veteran
Bray, who has never taken a snap in a regular-season NFL game.

Mahomes finished the game 7-of-9 passing for 49 yards and a
touchdown with a passer rating of 126.4. The rookie connected with
wide receiver Demarcus Robinson on a 41-yard bomb on his first play
from scrimmage, only to see the play erased due to a penalty.

Bray meanwhile completed 5 of 8 passes for 63 yards and an
interception for a passer rating of 47.4. He also saw a big play
pulled from the stat sheet – an 83-yard touchdown strike to Chris
Conley wiped away by a disputed offensive pass interference call.

Reid denied that Bray’s performance played any role in the
elevation of Mahomes to No. 2 on the depth chart.

“It’s not because of Tyler’s performance in the game,” Reid said.
“I thought he actually played very well.”

The move demonstrates the Chiefs have confidence in their
quarterback of the future. Reid said Mahomes proved he can function
effectively on the field while still learning the ropes. He
believes the rookie’s performance justifies a larger workload.

“He’s worked very hard, but it’s being able to get in and function
in the huddle while still seeing the defenses and the reads,
knowing the calls that he needs to make to get in and out of
trouble in both the run and the pass game,” Reid said.

Tight end Travis Kelce said he sees the potential in Mahomes.

“We’re throwing a lot at the guy and it’s fun to see him grow,” he
said. “He’s doing just fine and I’m sure he’s going to be just as
good as everyone expects him to be.”

One concern for Mahomes is his adjustment from a no-huddle Air Raid
offense in college at Texas Tech to the intricate West Coast
offense run by Reid. The veteran coach carries a reputation for a
thick playbook with lengthy play calls.

Reid said Mahomes picked up the offense’s language very quickly.

“We’ve got a few words that we’ve got on these routes,” Reid said.
“He handles that pretty well. We saw that even when we brought him
in for the pre-draft test.”

While the depth chart churns on the lower rungs of the ladder, a
starting quarterback controversy in Kansas City remains far beyond
the horizon. The starting job belongs to Alex Smith beyond a shadow
of a doubt.

Smith delivered a brutally efficient offensive performance in the
preseason opener against San Francisco. The first-team offense
marched down the field in an eight-play, 75-yard drive covering
just 3 minutes and 22 seconds.

The 13-year veteran finished four-of-six passing for 48 yards and a
rating of 91.0. He also scrambled 10 yards for a first down.

Kelce said Smith stands on a whole other level as the team’s leader.

“It’s a fun thing to have Alex and his confidence and him being
just about the oldest guy in the room,” Kelce said. “But leading us
and knowing his veteran presence has got some accountability to it.”

The Chiefs played all four quarterbacks in the preseason opener
including fourth-string quarterback Joel Stave. Reid said there’s
no guarantee all four will play in the remaining preseason games.

The club travels to Cincinnati Saturday for its second preseason
game. Smith expects to start and play no more than a series or two
before giving way to Mahomes. The rookie may play a series with the
first-team depending on how quickly Smith exits the game.

Reid did not commit to whether the Mahomes’ promotion to the No. 2
quarterback role was a planned move, or even a permanent one for
that matter.

“If you’re going to try and put it in a box, I’m not sure we can do
that,” Reid said. “It’s just what I want to do today.”

Notes: Tight end Travis Kelce returned to the practice field for
the first time since Aug. 3. Kelce experienced inflammation in his
knee from his 2013 microfracture surgery. … Defensive end Chris
Jones made his return to practice after starting training camp on
the physically unable to perform list. Jones participated in
individual drills but did not take part in live contact. …
Cornerback Steven Nelson sat our Sunday’s practice with a groin
strain. Nelson played 18 snaps in Friday’s preseason game against
San Francisco. … Kicker Cairo Santos, who sustained a groin
injury last week, did not practice Sunday. Emergency kicker Sam
Ficken handled kicking duties.