You should consider, if not assume, that Patrick Mahomes might not be human. He is the fun android that someone kind and merciful created to save the NFL from arrogance and boredom. Or he immigrated from the late Darryl Dawkins’s Planet Lovetron, but instead of shattering basketball backboards, he is here to reimagine the most important and difficult position in team sports.

He can say he is from Texas and the son of a former major league pitcher. Nice story. That’s cool. There’s no need to delve into his secret. But when you revisit his historic debut as a starting NFL quarterback last season and attempt to forecast what he might do for an encore in 2019, you’re left again to marvel at his atypical ascension. You’re also left with no reliable road map for his future. Where can he possibly go after starting at Destination Wow?

Some are calling for a statistical regression, which makes sense. But offensive innovator Andy Reid is the Kansas City coach, and the Chiefs have done everything possible — including wander to the murky side of player conduct and character — to stockpile speed and versatility at the skill positions. So while another 5,000-yard, 50-touchdown season from Mahomes would be unprecedented, it’s hard to envision the quarterback not being better and more dangerous even if his numbers dip slightly.

He is still 23 for two more weeks. In addition to improving his chemistry with receivers and his understanding of defensive schemes, Mahomes has been toying with a behind-the-back pass that, if used and completed in a game, will make his no-look toss seem primitive.

A year ago, Mahomes had a career season as, essentially, a rookie. After starting just one game in 2017, he took over for Alex Smith last season and won the MVP award while leading the Chiefs to a 12-4 record and an appearance in the AFC championship game. His stats were ridiculous even in this pass-heavy era: 5,097 yards, 50 touchdowns, just 12 interceptions, off-the-charts efficiency.

Only Dan Marino can claim a more preposterous age-23 season. In 1984, Marino tore apart the NFL in a manner that should be considered astronomical given the sport’s run-first mentality 35 years ago. He was the first quarterback to reach 5,000 yards, throwing for 5,084 and 48 touchdowns. Now, 3½ decades later, there have been just 11 instances in which a quarterback has hit the 5,000-yard mark. Just seven quarterbacks have done it. Six QBs have been that productive once: Marino, Mahomes, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Matthew Stafford and Ben Roethlisberger. Drew Brees, the NFL career passing yardage leader who just might be the all-around statistical GOAT QB, has done it five times. He accomplished a 5K three-peat from 2011 to 2013.

Still, Mahomes feels like a different creature. He, Marino and Stafford (who was also 23) are the only young quarterbacks to be so prolific. Stafford is just 31 and should easily surpass 40,000 career passing yards this season. But he hasn’t come close to his 2011 level, when he threw 41 touchdowns to go with 5,038 yards. After 1984, Marino kept rifling his way to the Hall of Fame, but he also threw 20 or more interceptions in four of the next five seasons.

So what should you expect from Mahomes this season? There is no ideal comparison. Marino started nine games as a rookie in 1983 before his breakthrough season. Stafford had made 13 starts over two seasons before he went bonkers. In terms of game experience, Mahomes was as raw as it gets, which combined with the eye test suggests he might have an unparalleled level of preternatural talent. He is also in an ideal system, with an ideal coach and ideal weapons around him. The game has sped up to an ideal pace for statistical domination. And there’s an ideal acceptance — and celebration — of what Mahomes is doing. There’s no stigma and little discomfort about a quarterback being able to win while slinging the football so much.

The Chiefs aren’t going to make dramatic adjustments to their style this season. There’s a common belief that they were a coin toss away from beating New England in that AFC title game. I’m not so sure about that, but people can remember the Patriots’ 37-31 overtime victory however they want. The most important factor, from the perspective of Mahomes, is that his style didn’t fail the Chiefs in the playoffs. He didn’t come close to his normal efficiency in that game, but he still threw for 295 yards and three touchdowns and didn’t commit a turnover. He impressed with his ability to fight through the in-game adversity and sorcery of a Bill Belichick game plan, and he led Kansas City to 24 points in a wild fourth quarter.

So Mahomes will keep playing aggressive and carefree football. The NFL is much more exciting because of that. If — big if — Sammy Watkins can stay healthy, if rookie Mecole Hardman can make the impact his video-game speed suggests he should, the Chiefs will defy logic and become more explosive than they were last season. But it’s just as important that they develop the running game to complement and stabilize their offense. That’s why they just signed LeSean McCoy despite already having Damien Williams and promising rookie Darwin Thompson. They are loading up to win it all this year, and they need to control the clock better to assist a maligned defense that could be much improved this season after the high-profile defensive acquisitions of end Frank Clark, safety Tyrann Mathieu and coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.

It all means that Mahomes might have a less-is-more season. The NFL has never seen a quarterback reach 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns in consecutive seasons. It has never seen a 5,000-yard quarterback win a Super Bowl. In fact, it has never had a quarterback lead the league in passing yards and win the championship in the same season.

Mahomes may seem superhuman, but if Kansas City’s championship hopes rest on him duplicating those breakthrough numbers, that’s a risky request to make. I wouldn’t put it past Mahomes to match his 2018 productivity, but it’s likely to come with more interceptions as defenses adjust or he simply gets a little unlucky.

Something in the neighborhood of 4,500 yards and 35 to 40 touchdowns might be the sweet spot. If Mahomes does that and throws no more than 15 interceptions, it would still amount to a highly efficient, MVP-caliber season. And maybe the Chiefs would become more balanced out of necessity or emphasis. They’re not going to win a championship by putting more on Mahomes, even though he might be able to handle it.

For as entertaining as Mahomes is, his fast start guarantees he will be judged against the highest quarterback standards possible. And those don’t involve gaudy statistics. The criteria will be winning — winning championships and winning games consistently — no matter how unfair and oversimplified that can be. In heated debates about greatness, impressive stats sometimes can be used against the quarterback.

Although he is still young and full of potential, there’s a chance Mahomes is living his best NFL life right now. It won’t always be this fun or seem this easy, not even for an otherworldly talent. Mahomes and the Chiefs must take full advantage of this time — their time — and they must be adaptable in figuring out what that requires.

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