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Five good questions with Chiefs right tackle Mitch Schwartz

The four-time All-Pro joined the Arrowhead Pride podcast network to discuss barbecuing and the upcoming 2020 season and title defense.

NFL: AFC Divisional Playoff-Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Editor’s note: This interview of Schwartz was conducted prior to any Patrick Mahomes news breaking, so no comments directly about the new contract. However, as you’ll read below, Schwartz ended up sharing some fitting words on the topic with his final answer, anyway.

In partnership with Kingsford hardwood pellets, Kansas City Chiefs right tackle Mitch Schwartz joined the Arrowhead Pride podcast network to discuss barbecuing, officially moving to Kansas City and the greatest challenge to “running it back.” Schwartz noted that he recently began using Kingsford pellets and has tasted the difference.

While he isn’t barbecuing, Schwartz is getting ready for the NFL season — tentatively set to begin July 25 (for the Chiefs and Houston Texans).

Here are five good questions with Schwartz:

Q: Recently you decided to make KC your permanent home — what led to that decision?

SCHWARTZ: “I mean, it sounds corny, but it felt like home to us (Mitch and his wife, Brooke). We’ve been here the same amount of time that we were in Cleveland and really considered staying there long-term. We considered going back [to] maybe somewhere in Ohio — the Columbus area, we have a couple friends or maybe somewhere close to her family, but at this point, Kansas City, it just feels like home. It’s a great place to be. Obviously, the community’s awesome. Just have a lot of fun living here. It’s great to be here year-round. Obviously, the food and the barbecue and the grilling part of it is a big reason. It’s just something that, if I was trying to do all these exotic, fancy barbecue (social) posts somewhere else, it maybe wouldn’t go over quite so well, but people in Kansas City — they love eating barbecue, they love cooking barbecue. Like I said, it just felt like home. We always hang out with a lot of people, we’ve got a good network here... whether I do something with the Chiefs down the road, if it’s radio or involved in football in some regard, it definitely opens the door for that as opposed to being somewhere else.”

Q: What were your thoughts on the draft selection of third-round offensive lineman Lucas Niang?

SCHWARTZ: “I had known about him just in general — kind of following along on Twitter... you follow just a few people and you tend to know about all the prospects and what guys are what. I knew he was someone who was a good player — someone who could really develop. And I think he had an injury that kind of plagued him this past year, so you look to get through that — to get back to being healthy. Something I think people don’t necessarily know about or really don’t think about too much is a small injury... if you don’t have your base or you don’t have your core and your fundamentals, it really throws everything off, and so it’s hard enough to play offensive line at any level when you’re 100%, but you go out there with something that’s not quite right, it’s definitely a hard thing to do, so I’m really excited to — when we finally get the pads back on and get out there — to see what he can do. From the offseason meetings, he’s picking stuff up. All the rookies are, honestly. They’re picking things up extremely fast. It’s really cool to see... one thing that coach (Andy) Heck is always really good at is making sure everyone’s engaged and asks us questions and following along. So he’s asking everyone questions and Lucas the other guys — right one track, seem to get the offense down well and it’s something that I couldn’t imagine trying to do this time of year, but it’s exciting to see them pick it up so quick.”

Q: How happy were you that the Chiefs found a way to bring back right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif?

SCHWARTZ: “The continuity on an offensive line is a huge thing. It’s something that I’ve been pretty lucky about since I’ve been here. It seems like that left guard spot’s been a little bit more of a revolving door, so Fish (Eric Fisher) has — unfortunately — had to deal with that, and so [I’ve] been able to lock Larry in for another year, make sure that we’re all staying together, it’s huge. We were fortunate to have [the playoffs at Arrowhead]. But when you go to New England in the playoffs or you go somewhere else where you can’t hear or you don’t really know what’s going on, you can’t communicate with each other, so having a guy that is next to you that you don’t have to really worry about, you know that he’s going to do his job, you don’t have to overcompensate and try to do too much to make for it, it’s a pretty comforting feeling.”

Q: What kind of challenge will it be if there are no preseason games?

SCHWARTZ: “It’s all something we’ve done in the past in terms of a college schedule of having no preseason games. There is definitely a timing element — the thing is, it’s going to be equitable across the league, so it’s not like all the Chiefs are playing zero games but this other team gets to play two games, so that’s kind of my Thursday Night Football-type answer — that it’s affecting both sides. Yeah, you might be a little tired, but guess what... the other guy is, too. And so you might be a little bit rusty or your timing isn’t quite there, but it’s affecting the team, too, so if you want to say that it’s not enough time for the O-line to get the muscle memory going and all that, theoretically, it’s the same for the defensive linemen. Everything they do is so timing-based on what we’re doing, and so if they’re only able to practice in the same amount of time that we are, I have to think that things will kind of even out in the end.”

Q: What do you find to be the biggest obstacle to repeating as champions?

SCHWARTZ: “I feel like complacency is probably the number one thing that comes to mind. I will say with Pat (Mahomes), in general, he’s insanely competitive and just wants to do better. I think pretty early on in the offseason, he was already talking about making sure we do things right in the offseason to come back and defend things and go get another. I’m not too worried [with] the guys we have, that it’s really going to set in too much. Pat kind of sets the tempo for all of us, and Tyrann (Mathieu) as well. When you got a guy like that on either side of the ball, and also just on your team, I think if there is any kind of human nature or complacency stuff, those are two guys that are going to jump right on top of that and make sure [we’re] full steam ahead almost like last year didn’t happen.”

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