Mitch Schwartz Continues Impressive Streak, Critiques Debut Season in KC

The prized free agent right tackle who signed last offseason opens up about his first season with the Chiefs

Throughout his five-year NFL career, Kansas City Chiefs right tackle Mitch Schwartz has yet to miss a single snap.

The bumps, bruises, aches and pains have never kept Schwartz off the field. He has always been available for his team.

It was something known of Schwartz when he came over last offseason from the Cleveland Browns, who selected him with the No. 37 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, and with whom he spent the first four years of his NFL career.

After signing as the Chiefs' prized free agent a year ago, Schwartz was a part of a winning team for the first time in his NFL career in 2016.

In four years with the Browns, Schwartz was a part of a team that had just 19 total victories.

The Chiefs had 12 wins alone last year—winning the AFC West and making the divisional round of the AFC playoffs for the second year in a row, but individually, Schwartz wasn't satisfied with his performance on the year.

"I don't think I played that well," Schwartz, who ranked as one of the league's top five right tackles in the final four weeks of the season, said after Tuesday's OTA practice. "There are a lot of plays I would take back and a lot things I'd do differently."

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As impressive as that consecutive snap streak is for Schwartz, the guy he came into this league learning from has a pretty impressive streak of his own going right now.

Browns left tackle Joe Thomas—a future Hall of Famer who has made the Pro Bowl every season of his career, which began as the No. 3 overall pick by the Browns in the 2007 NFL Draft—also hasn't missed a snap in his career.

Schwartz has often spoke of the impact Thomas made on him as a player, and for players who live their life in the trenches, where 300-pound bodies are often tossed like ragdolls, there's a level of toughness, and also luck, required to sustain such streaks.

"We did a great job of keeping guys on the field, even with hitches here and there," third-year center Mitch Morse explained of last year's offensive line. "The guys stayed on the field and they battled through minor injuries. That's part of being an offensive lineman."

The Chiefs, who return every offensive lineman who played even one snap last year, have plenty of reason to feel optimistic about the group up front.

But despite playing his best football at the end of last year—allowing just three quarterback hurries and being called for just one penalty in the final four games of the season—Schwartz had a plan for how he was going to attack this offseason.

"You go into every offseason with a list of things you either want to get better at or some different things you want to try out," Schwartz explained. "That's what this time of the year is great for. So, I've been doing a lot of that, kind of experimenting with different stuff or just slightly modified techniques—trying to be better and be more consistent.

"At this position, consistently is really the biggest thing. I mean, you can lock a guy down but if you only do it for 40 plays and the other 30, you're whiffing, then you're not going to last very long."

For the first time in his career last year, Schwartz's season lasted longer than the regular season, and he and his teammates are working right now towards another season with high expectations and playoff goals. "We're looking forward to competing for the championship this year," Morse concluded.

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