New York Giants second-year center John Michael Schmitz is determined to realize the potential the team saw in him last spring when they selected him in the second round of the NFL draft.

Schmitz was thrust into the middle of a unit that was decimated by injuries and lacked the necessary cohesion to succeed. This year will be different as Schmitz has some new faces around him plus a year of service under his belt.

On Thursday, at the team’s offseason workout, Schmitz was asked what he zeroed in on this offseason to improve his game.

“A lot of it was my footwork and that second-level blocking for me, maintaining blocks,” he told reporters. “At the end of the day, at the center position, take leadership and take control of the leadership role.”

And the Giants need leadership along the line. They would like that to come from Schmitz going forward and added two veteran guards — Jon Runyan Jr. and Jermaine Eluemunor — to bolster the interior of the line.

“I’m very excited to have those guys here. They’re great guys. Not only on the field but off the field. They want to be here. They want to get better. Very excited for our O-line room. We’re headed in a great direction,” he said. “They help me out. They help me understand certain situations, what to be aware of, what they’re seeing on film. It can be a different view of what I’m seeing because they’ve had more experience.”

Also new this season is unit coach Carmen Bricillo, who hopes to bring a new attitude and better execution to the line.

“Coach Carm has been a great addition to the O-line room,” Schmitz said. “He has a great amount of knowledge of the game and has helped every single one of us out to be better players and holds us to a high standard each and every day. We go out there and compete and get better each and every day.”

But it will likely be the maturation of Schmitz himself that will dictate the success of the lien this year. He knows he needs to pick up the leadership baton and run with it.

“I think the biggest thing for me when times are tough, you really know who a true leader is when you hit adversity, you hit a tough time. All the guys look to someone, and I want to be that for our room and take charge,” he said.


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