Patrick Graham is a self-admitted football junkie. In his rare spare free time away from the Las Vegas Raiders’ offices, the defensive coordinator watches any football game he can, including high school ball.
He loves it all. Yet, after getting home from the Raiders’ win over the Denver Broncos on Sunday night, Graham wasn’t thrilled to see what he saw — Patrick Mahomes make another silly, creative touchdown pass as the Kansas Chiefs handled the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“Oh, no. I’m not enjoying it,” Graham joked about the play. “No, I mean it’s a good football play. I have a lot of respect for Patrick just in terms of how he came into the league, how much he’s improved over time. I’ve gone against him I think twice and it’s just amazing the growth that you’ve seen over the years in terms of to be arguably the best player in the league, his ability to make plays in the run game and in the passing game, the decision-making out there, the ability to play under pressure. He’s been in a lot of pressure games for such a young age, and just the ability to run the offense that Coach [Andy] Reid has out there ... His ability to navigate through all that and be at such a young age, it’s pretty astounding.”
Monday night, of course, Graham’s Las Vegas defense is charged with slowing down Mahomes in another crucial game for the Raiders. Graham has faced Mahomes once as a defensive coordinator. The Chiefs beat the New York Giants last season. Mahomes completed 29 of 48 pass attempts for 275 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Honestly, those are fairly modest numbers considering what Mahomes has put up in his short career.
Few teams have successfully slowed down Patrick Mahomes, but he's especially had the Raiders' number.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) October 6, 2022
In 8 career games: 2,546 passing yards, 22 TD, 3 INT and 37.4 PPG. pic.twitter.com/rBa15A3Mog
Still Graham knows just how dangerous Mahomes is and how important containing him will be to the Raiders’ chances of winning at Arrowhead Stadium.
“He’s at such an elite status in terms of his ability to perform under pressure, make plays within the system, make plays on loose play,” Graham said. “It’s a difficult challenge and I think our preparation for each week, we try to attack it brand new each week whoever the opponent is and try to see what they do best, how can we take it away, who are they going to in certain situations? But he just presents so many problems and so many issues, it’s challenging. It’s going to be a big challenge on Monday night. We look forward to it, that’s why we got into this business.”