The debut of the Baltimore Ravens‘ new-look offensive line did not go as planned, as the Ravens allowed pressure on Lamar Jackson on 54.5% of their plays against the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday night, per Next Gen Stats.
Free agent signing Alejandro Villanueva severely disappointed against the Raiders, getting repeatedly beat by 2019 fourth-rounder Maxx Crosby. His poor play drew the ire of Ravens fans on social media, with many calling for a change at right tackle.
Mitchell Schwartz was drafted in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns, playing out his rookie contract there before signing with the Chiefs in 2016.
He earned All-Pro nods in four consecutive seasons in Kansas City before a back injury limited him to six games in 2020.
Schwartz is known as an iron man, playing every offensive snap for his team at right tackle since he entered the NFL, totaling 7,894 consecutive snaps. Before his injury in 2020, he had only missed three snaps in his entire nine-year career.
Despite his pedigree and durability, not only did the Chiefs release him in March, but Schwartz remains unsigned after the first week of the regular season.
Should the Ravens Sign Schwartz?
Schwartz has turned in several stellar seasons at right tackle, allowing more than four sacks in a season only once since 2015.
He was a key part of Patrick Mahomes‘ 2018 MVP season, posting an 85.1 pass blocking grade from Pro Football Focus. He followed that up with a mammoth 2019, earning a 89.3 overall grade from PFF and a first-team All-Pro selection.
The Ravens have limited cap space, but they did free up about $1.8 million by restructuring cornerback Marlon Humphrey’s contract this weekend, per ESPN’s Field Yates. If Schwartz is determined to play this season, there’s no doubt that the Ravens’ front office could make a deal work.
The biggest barrier to the Ravens signing Schwartz is the veteran’s health.
He has yet to fully recover from last season’s back injury, telling the Arrowhead Addicts podcast, “I’m in the last stages of recovery here hoping to kind of get over this final hump. It’s taken a little longer than I would have liked.”
Schwartz indicated that he is still dealing with lingering pain from his injury, so he needs more time before he can return at an All-Pro level.
If the Ravens’ offensive line fails to improve over the next few weeks, the Ravens may give Schwartz a call to see if he’s ready to return.
Phillips Suffers Knee Injury on MNF
The Ravens offensive line took another hit on Monday night, as starting left guard Tyre Phillips had to be carted off the field due to a knee injury.
He was replaced by second-year guard Ben Powers, and head coach John Harbaugh did not offer any updates on Phillips’ condition during his postgame presser.
Phillips entered training camp competing with Powers and Ben Cleveland for the starting left guard job, impressing coaches in practices despite missing one of the preseason games due to injury.
Powers played the rest of the game and figures to be the starter next week if Phillips is unable to play.
While some Ravens fans will want to see Ben Cleveland at left guard against the Chiefs, the Ravens may not be comfortable enough with the rookie to give him the start, especially given the team’s offensive line woes against the Raiders.
Cleveland was a healthy scratch in Las Vegas, though he’ll surely be active next week if Phillips is ruled out.
Still, if Phillips misses several weeks, Cleveland could make enough progress in practice to see the field before the end of the season.