Mitchell Schwartz Confident in Chiefs' Offensive Line Despite Question Marks at Guard
Kansas City Chiefs right tackle Mitchell Schwartz recognizes the challenges that sit ahead for the offensive line room during Training Camp.
Modifications to the offensive line this offseason include left guard Stefen Wisniewski’s departure for the Pittsburgh Steelers and right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif’s decision to opt out of the 2020 season. Now, without the team's starting guards in Super Bowl LIV, the Chiefs have some obstacles for the group to overcome.
Schwartz said he isn’t too worried about making adjustments to the changes that could occur at both guard positions, thanks to the active personnel the Chiefs have on hand: Andrew Wylie, Kelechi Osemele and Mike Remmers.
“In terms of new guys, we have guys who have been here — and a couple of new guys,” Schwartz said. “That’s something that [Offensive Line] Coach [Andy] Heck has been extremely good with in terms of moving people around and making sure that throughout training camp and the practice time, he’s cross-training as many people as possible so that when you inevitably do have guys get hurt or things happen, you’re not playing next to someone that you’ve never played with before.”
Entering his third year in the league, Wylie is the lone returning Chief of the trio. He has appeared in 27 games, splitting his tenure at right and left guard.
Wylie made his NFL debut in 2018, appearing in games at right guard. He stepped in as a starter from Week 10 on after Duvernay-Tardif was placed on injured reserve.
Wylie became the starting left guard in 2019, but was halted by an ankle injury. He participated in 11 games and sat out from Week 16 on. Wisnewski filled in.
Duvernay-Tardif’s decision to opt out, plus the arrival of Osemele and Remmers, who both have tenure at right guard, could shake things up. Schwartz isn’t too concerned about the possibility of change, though.
“Obviously, [Osemele] has had an awesome career, and Remmers has too,” Schwartz said. “Those are guys who understand how to play with people and next to people. That’s something that I’m not too worried about.”
Osemele has played at left guard in seven of his eight seasons in the league, while Remmers has started primarily at the tackle positions
Though it isn’t clear what the Chiefs’ plan is, Osemele’s veteran experience could leave the Chiefs an opportunity to put Wylie back at right guard. In either position, he’ll likely compete with third-year lineman Martinas Rankin for a starting job.
Rankin started in five games last season — three at left tackle and two at right tackle. He was placed on the PUP list Friday as his recovery process from a knee injury continues.
Details of what unfolds at both guard positions should become more clear once full-pad practices begin around August 14, a later date than traditional pre-seasons due to COVID-19.
Schwartz said he doesn’t expect much of a difference based on his previous experiences with the Chiefs, and the dual training that occurs throughout the course of camp and practices.
“We’ve seen offensive lineman get injured every year,” Schwartz said. “It could be one, it could be five. They’ve always had really good depth here, and that’s what’s allowed us to keep having success.”