The New York Giants are counting on an improved offensive line to be the foundation for their new offense in 2020.
Thanks to Nate Solder’s decision to opt out of the 2020 NFL season and uncertainty around the center and right tackle positions, the Giants are going to be relying on their guard position to be the core around they build their offensive line. Right guard Kevin Zeitler missed time due to injury last year but remains one of the best at his position in the League. As the most veteran member of the Giants’ offensive line this year, it likely falls to Zeitler to be the unit’s leader, and he says the line is focused on being better in 2020 and improving every day.
“The only thing we can worry about right now is coming in every day and getting better,” Zeitler said on Tuesday. “We can’t be thinking down the road about those big picture things. Those will all come to the front when we actually get to games and whatnot. Right now, the only thing we’re worried about is working hard and getting better so we don’t have to have issues.
“I think we’re all just hyper-focused right now.. We’re all trying to get better. It’s just the group we have. We have guys who want to get better.”
On the new coaching staff
“I say right off the bat, very detail oriented,” Zeitler said. “They’re keeping us on track, they’re making sure we’re doing the things we need to do and they’re making sure we’re getting better every day. They’re not hoping, they’re making sure.”
Being ‘detail oriented’ has been the most common observation made by the Giants coaches and players about Joe Judge since camp kicked off a couple weeks ago. That attention to detail could help bring the Giants’ play to the next level, but it’s also accompanied by the new addition of laps for players and coaches to run laps if they make mistakes.
Zeitler said, “The way I see it, it just goes with Coach Judge’s philosophy. He said we’re going to be detail oriented and there will be consequences for our actions that aren’t good for the team. It’s just a way of playing it through, for players and coaches. We all need to get better every day and there are no exceptions.”
On his teammates
On players cross-training
We’ve heard from a number of players that the Giants’ coaches are asking them to cross-train at at number of positions. Jabrill Peppers mentioned being cross-trained at cornerback as well as his customary role as a safety. Zeitler notes that cross-training gives the Giants more flexibility to deal with the unforeseen circumstances that can happen at any time in a game.”
“The way I look at it, the coaches came in and made it very clear, everyone is possible to play any position. We’re going to work hard to put the best five guys out there. The way we look at it, no matter who we play next to in practice, there’s always the possibility that could happen at any given time during a game. It’s great to work with everyone and it’s great to build continuity with everyone so it’s never an issue.
“The way I see it, if coach wants me to, I’ll be ready to go,” Zeitler said. “We’re working hard right now, and whatever happens, happens.”
“Back in the day I worked at it [center]. I think I could pick it up if it’s needed,” Zeitler said.
The Giants drafted heavily along the offensive line, adding three new linemen over the course of 10 picks in the 2020 draft. Of those three lineman, tackles Andrew Thomas and Matt Peart and guard Shane Lemieux, the Giants need Thomas to step up the most and soonest.
They’ll be happy with Zeitler’s evaluation of Thomas.
“The biggest thing I’d say is, obviously, he’s naturally gifted right off the bat,” he said. “But the way he approaches every day. He comes in to get better every day, he’s working hard, he’s taking in coach’s advice. Day by day, whether no helmets, helmets, or pads, he’s been getting better.”