There's an old saying in football—the best ability is availability.
Well, if that's the case, Kansas City Chiefs starting right tackle Mitch Schwartz is in good shape.
Schwartz, who signed a contract to come to the Chiefs last offseason as a free agent, has yet to miss an offensive snap in his five-year professional career. Schwartz even had a close call last season, when he dealt with an ankle sprain headed into the Chiefs' game at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Schwartz managed to play through the injury, keeping his snap streak alive and well.
Schwartz will play a key role on a Chiefs offensive line that will return every member for 2017, a point he believes will lead to continued success.
"Continuity on the O-line is awesome," he said. You go to Denver, you go to wherever and you can't hear the guy next to you and you have to have some trust in the guy next to you that he'll be able to really know what to do, do his job and be able to do it without talking and without communicating and that's something that you play together a while, you understand how a guy works, where he's going to be on certain plays, if you have a double team kind of body position you know everyone blocks a little bit different."
All current expectations are that Schwartz will once again play next to right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif this season.
"I think last year getting here and playing with Larry just kind of our mesh together and him getting a feeling for me and me a feel for him and I think that progressed as the season went on," he said. "It's great playing next to a guy like that. I'd say that everybody down the line, all five guys are pretty comfortable with each other, and continuity, especially at this position, is a great thing."
Schwartz on coming into the same offensive system in his second year with the Chiefs: *"This is the first year where I've had the same system in back-to-back years. I've had a lot of offensive coordinators and even head coach turnover. It's been nice to get familiar with it and not have to learn the basics. You can begin to focus on the intricate details which is what makes this offense so great. They've had five years in it now and each year you learn a little more, what works, what doesn't and what adjustments to make. It's been fun to have that aspect of it when you're watching film from last season, and you're actually on the film and you don't have to watch other people as much. That part has been great and then the familiarity with living here and getting to know the guys. It's been a much smoother process."
2016 Season Review:
Schwartz was named a second-team All-Pro for the first time in his career in 2016, starting every game at right tackle for an offense that had more than 3,900 yards passing and 1,700 yards rushing.
As the league evolves, the right tackle position is becoming ever the more important, and the Chiefs have a good one in Schwartz.
Offensive line play tends to trend upward with system consistency and familiarity with the men playing alongside you, and Schwartz will have both of those headed into 2017. At 28 years of age (the eldest player on a young starting O-line), Schwartz could be poised for one of the better seasons of his career.