That’s the word that has been used to describe rookie Shane Lemieux’s style of play following his first career start against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Monday night.
“The level of competitiveness [Lemieux] plays with, some nasty, he definitely gave us some juice in there,” coach Joe Judge said. “Look, you line up for your first snap in the NFL and you’re seeing Ndamukong Suh across from you right there, that’s a ‘Welcome to the NFL, buddy.’ But this guy didn’t blink. He didn’t shy away from anything. He really answered the bell for us.”
For Lemieux, an aggressive and physical style of play comes naturally. He has always play without hesitation, being unafraid to make mistakes.
“I think that’s how offensive line should be played,” Lemieux said. “Ever since I was younger and I started playing football, I was always taught if you make a mistake, make it 100 percent. Go fly around and hit somebody. I feel like that mantra has kind of stuck with me. Even in college, I was rumored as the physical guy. I like that part of the game and I kind of embrace it.”
The fifth-round pick out of Oregon turned in a strong performance against the Bucs. Lemieux got the call to start in place of Will Hernandez, who was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Hernandez will be out again Sunday. His absence has given Lemieux the chance to prove himself on the field - an opportunity he has always been prepared for.
“I prepare every single day, every single week like I’m going to start,” Lemieux said. “If you keep preparing, you prepare every single day, you don’t have to get ready. If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready. I just want to be able to help the team however I can. Whenever my number is called, I want to be able to provide support wherever I’m put.”
No amount of preparation however, could prepare Lemieux for the adrenaline he would feel upon being a part of his first rushing touchdown. In a burst of energy, Lemieux spiked the football in the end zone after Wayne Gallman scored.
“I was pretty juiced,” Lemieux said. “Wayne (Gallman) handed me the ball and I didn’t really know what to do with it. I was like, you know what spike it, so I did. That’s what happened and everyone is kind of giving me a little bit of hell for it because it was a bad spike. I was just so juiced and excited to be in the moment. I just wanted to celebrate with my team, and I thought that was pretty cool.”
The biggest adjustment for Lemieux has been playing against players who perform at an elite level every single snap. But Lemieux said that he tries not to let the moment ever get too big.
“I think every play, even at practice we see some really good D-linemen,” Lemieux said. “Nothing really shocked me. It is the NFL so every single play the guy you are going against is really good.
For Lemieux, the consistent amount of talent amongst opposing players is different from his days at Oregon when the team would play teams such as Southern Utah one week in games that almost felt like a bye.
“Every single week there’s a star-studded defensive linemen,” Lemieux said. “Whether it’s Ndamukong Suh whether it’s Jonathan Allen. Everybody in this league is good and you have to bring it every single week. That’s definitely a transition. Every single week you have to go because there’s guys in this league on every single team that can play ball.”
Having a close relationship with the other rookies on the team has helped Lemieux make the transition to the NFL.
“There was a time period here when we got with the Giants where it was just the rookies only together,” Lemieux said. “I think we have a pretty good bond. This is a weird year so I think everybody is relying on vets for support. Relying on other rookies has really helped us. I’m really close with the other rookie O-linemen. I’m happy to have those guys, they’re really good guys. I pick their brain and I’m sure they pick mine sometimes too. We are growing together every single day.”