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Dexter Lawrence: Big man, big personality .. and big expected impact

NFL: New York Giants-Training Camp
Dexter Lawrence (97) during training camp.
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants are hoping mountainous defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence brings his “A” game to the field each week, dominating offensive linemen and helping the Giants take a step forward on defense.

That remains to be seen. No doubt, though, that Big Dex — rapidly turning into a media darling — brought his “A” game to his meeting with reporters on Tuesday.

Quotes of the day

On the idea that 342-pound men are not usually considered pass rushers:

“I’m not everybody else in the league, I’m Dexter Lawrence II. I’m different, I bring a different attitude to the game. That’s kind of what this summer, well, this spring — that’s what they called it, a summer event for me -- just working on my pass rush, trying to be a three-down guy for the team, just to help win games.”

On what it takes to play good defense:

“My thing is — I say this kind of every day — everybody on defense, do your one eleven. Everybody do their job, and it’ll all come together at the end in making a great play.”

On the pressure he and his young defensive teammates face:

“I like the pressure simply because I feel like everything starts up front on the D-line. That’s the attitude that we all bring into practice every day. It starts with us, we have to bring the energy and the back seven is going to bring their energy. So, we’re just putting the pressure on ourselves before anyone else puts it on us.”

On rooming with Daniel Jones

The Giants’ sixth (Jones) and 17th (Lawrence) picks are rooming together in the team hotel during training camp. Here’s Lawrence on how the two are getting along:

What is Jones like?

“Probably how he is with you all, a little quiet, but I got him to open up more. He’s accepting that I’m his roommate, and I talk a little trash. I asked him, “Do you see us in your face all the time?” He said, “No, because you all can’t touch me,” or something like that. Just a little trash talk.”

Does Jones talk trash?

“In the house he does.”

Told that seems out of character for the QB:

“No, I’m getting him to open up a little more.”

Lawrence is entertaining. He is a big personality, along with being a very big human being. The only thing that matters, though, is whether or not he can make a big impact for the Giants on the field.

His “I’m not everybody else in the league, I’m Dexter Lawrence II” comment tells you he is certainly confident that he can.

Lawrence has no worries physically. He knows, though, that he will be going up against savvy veteran players who have had years to hone their craft.

“I feel like I can hang with anybody in physicality, that’s not really a downfall in my game, it’s more just these guys here are a little veteran, a little smarter, so I’m just taking practice reps against some of those vets and just talking to them, listening to them, seeing the different things they do to defeat blocks and stuff,” Lawrence said.

The Giants obviously believe that Lawrence will have an impact as a pass rusher.

“He’s a big man, obviously. He’s had an impact already. Watching the one-on-one pass rush, you can see that he’s a guy that’s going to be able to get some pressure,” coach Pat Shurmur said recently. “We feel good about him being able to play on all three downs.”

Much has been made, of course, of the Giants using Lawrence as an end at times rather than as a pure nose tackle. He said he is enjoying the role as there is “a little bit more space you can work with out there.”

Lawrence has also spent some time at the nose during the early part of training camp. His 84-inch wingspan (97th percentile) and unusual athleticism for his size, though, make him a player the Giants believe can be more than a run-stuffing nose tackle.

“He can line up on the nose. He can line up as a 3, and he can line up as a 5, on the center, guard or tackle because of his size, his quickness and his length,” Shurmur said. “Generally speaking, as you get further from the ball, length is more important, and because he’s got such great size, he can do that for us.”