Sports Minute: Giants DT Dexter Lawrence wants to be fourth-quarter force
By TOM CANAVANAP Sports Writer
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence has the simplest of goals for his second season with the New York Giants.
The second of three Giants first-round draft picks in 2019 wants to be noticed in the fourth quarter.
Lawrence had a good rookie season by most standards. He was voted to the Pro Football Writers All-Rookie team after starting all 16 games and finishing with 38 tackles, 2 1/2 sacks, a forced fumble and nine quarterback hits playing for a 4-12 team.
Talking to the media Tuesday for the first time since reporting to training camp, Lawrence didn't sound satisfied when he talked about last year. His first focus was on his own conditioning.
The athletic Lawrence came into the league at 342 pounds. He is lighter this year after hiring a personnel trainer, a chef, and learning portion control in the offseason.
“I’m just really doing that for myself, for my team,” he said. "You know, they needed me in the fourth quarter. I need to have a little more wind and feel better going into the fourth quarter or overtime.”
Lawrence would not say what he weighs or his body fat index. It's all about feeling better, and he does.
The conditioning wasn't all Lawrence worked on. He looked at every part of his game, from run defense to pass rush.
“I educated myself more on my position,” the former Clemson star said. “That’s what the biggest thing is. I learned from the best, teaching me not just to focus on what to focus on, watch your whole game. Critique yourself, be a hard coach for yourself. Find ways to get better and that’s all I can do.”
With Joe Judge taking over as head coach, Lawrence also is adjusting working with Sean Spencer as his line coach. The former Penn State assistant works and talks at 1000 mph.
“We had a little language barrier at first, but it’s all good now," Lawrence said. “He’s a good man and he is teaching me some good things.”
Spencer chuckles when asked about Lawrence. He knew Lawrence was big, but he didn't realize how big or his athleticism until the first time they met.
“What his ceiling is, I don’t know,” Spencer said. “We are going to prepare him for the season and I’m going to push him to the brink and try to get the best out of him.”
Lawrence should benefit playing with the same three-man front this season. Dalvin Tomlinson and Leonard Williams are back.
Lawrence said he is buying into the new defense being run by Pat Graham and trying not to repeat mistakes.
“You have to find the positive in all things and find the light in all things," Lawrence said. “Clearly, no one likes that, but you have to find a way to be better and that’s the focus this year.”
NOTES: Lawrence has teased quarterback Daniel Jones, his rookie roommate, about putting on 10 pounds after last season. “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.”
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