Dexter Lawrence is listed as a 6-4, 342-pounder on the Giants’ roster, so it’s no surprise he’s usually not impressed by a teammate’s size. But Danny Shelton, who checks in at 6-2 and 345 pounds, is the rare person who can make Lawrence feel small.
“A little bit,” Lawrence admitted after a training camp practice today. “He’s a massive dude, but good personality. He fits right in. I’m excited to be able to work with him.”
Entering his third year, Williams trained this offseason with neither losing nor gaining weight as a goal.
“I was just trying to maintain and shape my body,” he said. “It’s kind of like, I’m to the point that I’m going to be big all my life. Just make it look good … and keep my sexy on.”
The defensive line has a different vibe in this camp. Gone is Dalvin Tomlinson, who started every game the last four years and in 2020 was a captain and the Giants’ Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee. He was enormously popular within the organization. But the Giants could not fit him under the salary cap and still address other needs, so Tomlinson signed with the Minnesota Vikings.
They compensated for the loss by adding Shelton, one of the NFL’s most consistent run-stopping linemen. With him in the middle of the front, the Giants could improve their run defense, which ranked 10th in the NFL last season, allowing 111.4 yards a game.
“Honestly, the group in whole, we all just bond and click,” Lawrence said. “We can coach each other. We can pick on each other. There’s no hard feelings with anything because everybody is genuine. Like I said, he fits right in. He came in and fit right in. He even brought some character to the room, so it’s not a lot of – it’s not like an intruder came. It’s kind of like, it just fit like a puzzle was put in.”
In addition to its abundance of size, the defensive front has plenty of talent. Lawrence, Shelton and Leonard Williams were all first-round draft choices, selected 12th, 17th and sixth in their respective drafts. Williams had a career-high 11.5 sacks and was twice named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week last season. Shelton has 247 career tackles and earned a Super Bowl ring with the 2018 New England Patriots.
Lawrence, who played in all 32 games with 31 starts in his first two Giants seasons, last year tied linebacker Kyler Fackrell for second on the team with 4.0 sacks. He also tallied 53 tackles (30 solo), including six for loss, 10 quarterback hits and two passes defensed.
“I expect more from myself,” Lawrence said. “My main focus is helping the team win games. Whatever I can do to help the team win games is what I will do. I push everybody in practice, the whole D-line, we root for each other. We want to see each other be great, so that’s the whole goal in the room is to help everybody be great.
“My focus this offseason was learning the position more. I know there was a lot that I watched myself on tape that I didn’t exactly know what to do. This whole offseason I worked on myself, I worked on learning my position.”
That should pay dividends for both the Giants and him this season.
“I’m improving every year,” Lawrence said. “The goal as a D-lineman is to be a complete player, to do all you can. You want to play every down. So that’s your goal is to be that complete player and that’s what you work at, taking it stage by stage.”
Via: Michael Eisen