When training camp and the regular season come around for 2020, the New York Giants will be expected to have an improved offensive line – one player that will be back from 2019, however, is Kevin Zeitler. The Giants picked up Zeitler from the Browns in exchange for pass rusher Olivier Vernon, and Zeitler was a starter at guard for fifteen out of the sixteen games the Giants played last year.
Thanks to the addition, which gave the team the guard duo of Will Hernandez and Zeitler, the Giants can worry more about the tackle position this year rather than having to address both guard and tackle in the draft and free agency.
However, while it looks like Zeitler has a future with the Giants, his first season wasn’t without hardships. He spoke about that to Sports Illustrated recently, talking about the trade, his first year with the Giants, and what things look like going forward.
“Obviously, my first year here was frustrating. There is talent on the Giants, but it was a very disappointing season overall… We had a bunch of smart football guys with experience on the line, but we were inconsistent in the running game and with our pass protection,” Zeitler said.
One of those players, of course, was Nate Solder – who received a huge contract but despite his past successes with New England, failed to make a big impact for the Giants in his first season with the team. Now it’s debatable whether Solder should even be on the Giants for the 2020 season. The offensive line, however, underperformed in general last season, even outside of that one player.
It’s something that Zeitler seems aware of.
“We have to figure out how to take the next step because last year was no fun, and we know we have to get it turned around fast,” Zeitler continued. “I like all the guys on the offensive line and think we can do great things together, but I don’t know what the plans are. That’s up to the general manager and coaches… The guys on this team are sick of losing the last three years. All we want to do is win.”
Even though it’s not clear yet who the Giants are going to take at the fourth overall spot in the draft, or if they’ll even spend the pick instead of trading down for the first time with Gettleman at the helm, it looks like they’ll come out of either the draft or free agency with at least one big name player to help solve their line problems.
Is that enough to turn things around on its own? Probably not, but if players like Zeitler are to be believed, the Giants are closer than they seem to putting in better performances and adding one or two more pieces could finally see a turnaround.