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49ers' Robert Saleh Says Patrick Mahomes 'Actually' Plays QB, Not 'Street Ball'

Blake SchusterContributor IIIJanuary 24, 2020

San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh speaks during a news conference at the team's NFL football training facility in Santa Clara, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. The 49ers will face the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 54. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

There will be no shortage of praise for Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes in the days leading up to the Super Bowl. Consider San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh among those completely enamored with last season's MVP.   

But it's not Mahomes' ability to create highlight-reel plays whenever he needs to that has Saleh's attention. It's how good the quarterback is at, well, everything, as he said while speaking to the media Thursday.

"One, his mobility is unique. His arm strength is ridiculous. He's very, very accurate. But, what I don't think people give him enough credit for is that he actually plays quarterback. There's a lot of people, there's a lot of quarterbacks in this league that will say no to number one and then it just becomes street ball. He gets rid of the ball on time. He puts it where it needs to be. He hits a lot of throws in rhythm. And when he needs to take his shot, he knows how to buy time in the pocket and do it. So, he's a superstar in every way you can possibly imagine and he's going to be tough to deal with."

That's likely not what Niners fans want to hear from the guy in charge of stopping Mahomes during Super Bowl LIV. Then again, any Niners fan who feels the opposite way hasn't been paying attention. 

Mahomes can beat defenses in a variety of ways while making split-second decisions. 

In 2019, the 24-year-old passed for 4,031 yards and 26 touchdowns with just five interceptions while rushing for another 218 yards and two scores. In the playoffs, he's kicked it up a notch, throwing for 615 yards and eight touchdowns in two games while running for another 106 yards and a score. 

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And he's not the only Chief capable of burning a defense.

"At every position, it almost looks like they got their roster from the Olympic relay team and threw them all on the football field," Saleh said. "Not to say they can't run routes and catch either, because they can do that. They're a special group, and you can see why they're there."

The defensive coordinator now has just a little over a week to figure out how to stop them. 

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