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Quotes 8/18: G Kevin Zeitler, DL Dexter Lawrence

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Kevin Zeitler and Dexter Lawrence met with reporters on a video chat press conference Tuesday. Here is what each one had to say.

Guard Kevin Zeitler

Q: What is it like playing for Joe Judge and Marc Colombo, the offensive line coach? What are the defining qualities that you see in them as head and position coaches?

A: I say right off the bat, very detail oriented. 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. 

Q: Andrew Thomas, the rookie. What have you seen from him as far as work ethic and ability that can make him a great offensive lineman?

A: The biggest thing I'd say is, obviously, he's naturally gifted right off the bat. 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. 

Q: Offensive linemen generally like continuity, in a perfect world. You are potentially looking at having a different center next to you, a different right tackle. What kind of challenges does that pose for you not knowing who's going to line up next to you on either side?

A: 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.

Q: In terms of kind of this weird offseason that you guys went through, you didn't really have a chance to work together until recently. How is that coming along and how are you expediting that non-verbal communication that's so important amongst offensive linemen?

A: I think now that we are together, it's like any other time. We spend a lot of time together, as much as we can, and we just try to get the work in and it will take care of itself. 

Q: One of the things we heard in the offseason was that they might cross-train you at center. Is that an option?

A: The way I see it, if coach wants me to, I'll be ready to go. We're working hard right now, and whatever happens, happens.

Q: Have you played center before?

A: Back in the day I worked at it. I think I could pick it up if it's needed. 

Q: Can you, on the other side of the ball, speak to what you see in Lorenzo Carter, and just kind of his pass rushing ability? Obviously, being on the other side of the ball from him in practice, what you see and what you see in games?

A: Zo's a great player. He's doing a lot of good things here. Just like everyone else, he's getting better every day. It'll be a fun battle these next couple weeks.

Q: Do you have any curiosity what year three might be in store for him? He's kind of been slowly getting better as he's gone and he's shown a lot of flashes.

A: Knowing the type of person he is, I can only imagine that he'll improve. I'm excited to see what happens. 

Q: From your experience, we saw some interesting things about practice yesterday. No names on the jerseys, also guys running sprints at the end of practice, players and coaches running laps when they make a mistake during practice. How can those types of strict rules or that kind of regimen mold a team and what's the proper way to respond to that as a player and as a team?

A: 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. 

Q: How does the offensive line view everything? The offensive line, they've been trying to rebuild it here for the past few years. They haven't gotten it up to the point they've wanted to. How much pressure is on you guys to finally get it right? As the offensive line, do you feel that at all?

A: No. The only thing we can worry about right now is coming in every day and getting better. 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. 

Q: Is there a big difference in the group this year, at least with the guys that you have? Is there anything noticeably different that you've seen or even with the way you guys operate just with the new coaches, new regime, the new program and everything?

A: 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.

Defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence

Q: Now that you have put last year behind you, you were obviously not used to losing coming from a successful program in college. How awful of an experience was that for you last year? How much are you looking forward to burying those memories this year and getting back to what you are used to doing and that's winning a lot?

A: I believe we are buying in right now. I wouldn't say we lost last year, we kind of learned lessons and that's how I take everything pretty much. You have to find the positive in all things and find the light in all things. Clearly, no one likes that, but you have to find a way to be better and that's the focus this year.  

Q: Can you talk a little bit about being a big guy? Did you try to re-sculpt your body or your weight after seeing what happened in the NFL last year?

A: This offseason, I definitely focused on (that). I got a personal trainer, we focused on eating, portion control, I got a chef. I didn't really like my build last year. This year I tried to focus on losing a little bit of weight just so I can be better on the field. I'm out there running a lot better than I did last year. That's just the goal for me each year. Feel better and be better.  

Q: How does that come out as far as numbers? Weight, body fat, things like that.

A: My thing was I'm going to weigh what I weigh. I just want to feel good. That's the biggest thing I'm trying to do right now, keep that routine going I had this offseason. Don't take any steps back.

Q: Last year you primarily played inside. When the Giants drafted you, there was a lot of talk about how well you could get to the quarterback as well. Is losing weight and feeling fitter also about being able to rotate in all those spots on the D-line so you can contribute more to the pass rush?

A: I'll say that's just me being better conditioned. I'm going to do what the team asks me to do. They need me to get to the quarterback, I'll do that. They need me to stop the run, I'll be able to do it. Doing that was really for myself and my team. They needed me in the fourth quarter, for me to have a little more wind and feel better going into the fourth quarter or overtime. 

Q: How big of a decision was it for you to play this season? Anyone who plays on the offensive or defensive lines with how close contact you are, clearly a huge decision.

A: I love the game. We are doing a good job of staying on protocol. I'm feeling safe and I'm feeling good. You can't really control other teams, you can only control what you are around. Just be the best you can right now. At the end of the day, no one wants to be sick or no one wants that to happen to them. This is my job, and this is what I want to do. 

Q: Can you talk a little bit about your teammate Lorenzo Carter and what you see in him? He is one year ahead of you going into his third year. What were your impressions of him last year?

A: Zo is working really hard. He came in looking really good, also in good shape. You kind of see it transferring on the field. I have a locker right next to him and we chat it up a little bit. He's doing good. He's special. 

Q: What kind of things do you talk about? Your goals for the year personally and team wise?

A: Just little things like calls on the field. Little checks like that. You see he is in good spirits and he's ready to roll this year.

Q: He's shown some real pass rush ability in spurts the last couple of years. What do you see in him? When you look at him what are some of the things that jump out in terms of skill and what you can see him do for the team?

A: Pretty much what everybody sees. He's very quick off the ball, he's very fast off the ball. Like I said, he's looking good, he's looking a little stronger. We just put pads on so we will be able to see that soon. He's doing well and he's in good spirits. He looks like he's ready to go.

Q: You said you didn't consider last year to be a losing season but a season of lessons. What are the two or three biggest lessons that you take away from last year?

A: Just buying into what the coaches want. Everybody being the best version of themselves. Being a team and having good camaraderie and understanding the way things should be done. Not repeating the same mistakes. 

Q: You talked about changing your body type. What do you think about the changes your old rookie training camp roommate (Daniel Jones) made?

A: He's definitely looking a little buff out there. He's looking good, he's getting comfortable and he felt like he needed a little more beef. I gave him a hard time too, so it's all good.

Q: Talk about playing for Coach Spencer. He's out there and he's full of energy. How do you and Leonard Williams complement each other?

A: I love Coach Spence. He definitely tries to bring the energy, I try to bring it with him. Sometimes I don't know what he's saying. We had a little language barrier at first, but it's all good. I enjoy him a lot. He's a good man and he's teaching me some good things. With the D-line, it's kind of the same guys as last year, so the brotherhood is still there. Just being able to learn from these guys and us critiquing each other every day and us understanding how each other thinks and being comfortable with each other. It allows us to be the best version of ourselves on the field. That's all you can ask for. 

Q: The way you played last year, the biggest area of improvement or impact might be actually making more plays as a pass rusher. What area do you see as a pass rusher where you really need to get better or that you have really been working on?

A: Watching my whole game last year, I need to work on a lot of things. This offseason I learned a lot of things. I educated myself more on my position. That's what the biggest thing is, and I learned that from vets teaching me not just to focus on one thing. Watch your whole game, critique yourself, be a hard coach on yourself. Try to find ways to get better and that's all I can do.

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