Most of the news about the Giants this offseason has centered on the guy leaving.
But once you set aside trading Odell Beckham to the Browns, Giants coach Pat Shurmur sounded genuinely excited about the addition of guard Kevin Zeitler (who also came over from Cleveland in a separate deal for Olivier Vernon).
“He’s been a steady, solid performer at right guard and moving forward, you add a veteran presence at that position,’’ Shurmur told Paul Schwartz of the New York Post. “I think of the uncertainly this time last year with the offensive line and I think about how that line grew, the players that are still here, how they grew as the season progressed and they developed. I thought [offensive line coaches Hal Hunter and Ben Wilkerson] did a good job of developing them.’’
The addition of Zeitler (and his big contract) continues a string of big investments for their line. Last year’s free agency saw left tackle Nate Solder get a four-year, $62 million deal, and then they used a second-round pick on left guard Will Hernandez. Coupled with the return of center Jon Halapio, and the Giants only have one position in glaring need of an upgrade (right tackle).
“When you add a solid, veteran player that’s established himself and he’s consistent and tough and has all the attributes you’re looking for in an offensive lineman to add to that crew, we got better,” Shurmur said.
While Shurmur was praising Zeitler, it was mentioned that he was all-business.
“It’s a refreshing concept, isn’t it?’’ the Giants coach said. “Because that’s what you want. You want guys who want to take care of their families. He’s got a wife, young family, take care of your family and do your job. It’s very refreshing.’’
While that could be reasonably viewed as a thinly veiled shot at the guy Shurmur no longer has to coach, what is clear is that he’s relieved to have a better grade of protection for Eli Manning.