If New York Giants inside linebacker Alec Ogletree is feeling any anxiety about stepping into a leadership role in his first year with the team, he’s done a good job of hiding it.
In fact, Ogletree, whom the Giants acquired in an offseason trade with he Rams, is looking forward to rolling up his sleeves and getting down to business in helping the Giants defense get back to being a top-10 unit as it was two seasons ago.
“I guess it’s been said I’ve been the quarterback of the defense,” Ogletree said Tuesday after the Giants wrapped up the first of three mandatory minicamp practices.
“But at my position, it comes with some sense of leadership, where you’ve got to get guys lined up and stuff.”
There are some leaders who prefer to do so the quiet way and then there are others who are good with the spoken word. The 26-year-old Ogletree likes to think of his leadership style as a mix.
“I try to lead by example, and doing the right thing before I say something,” he said. “Just so you can see it instead of just listening to what I’m saying. If I’m speaking the right thing, I’ve got to be doing the right thing.”
One of the right things he hopes to accomplish is to get the Giants run defense, which fell from being tied for third place overall in 2016 to 27th last year, back on track.
Ogletree, who per Pro Football Focus led the Rams in stops with 45 and who finished second on the team in total tackles (behind fellow linebacker Mark Barron), dismissed the idea that there is extra pressure on his shoulders to help the Giants straighten out their run defense.
“When I’m on the field, I expect us to go out there and stop the run game,” he said. “They brought me in here to help with that, among other things. It takes all 11 of us to go out there and be a good defense. I put that on myself to get everybody ready and prepare to stop the run game, and to show up in the pass game as well.”
Teammate Damon Harrison, who was a bright spot against the run last year for the Giants, believes that the addition of Ogletree is going to make stopping the run a lot easier, especially for the interior defensive linemen.
“He comes downhill, man, and that’s something you can appreciate as a nose tackle and a defensive tackle,” Harrison said. “That means those centers and those guards have to make decisions really fast. If not, he’ll be in the backfield and he’s a smart guy.
“I’m just excited to get in an actual game with him because I know those guys on the line, they have to respect what he brings to the Ogletree, who promised to deliver a “full 60 minutes” of football every week, understands full well what’s at stake for his new teammates.
“Yeah, I mean, everybody is hungry to win,” he said. “Last year was last year. You can’t change what happened last year, we know we’re going to focus on this year. Everybody is excited about this year, but you don’t just show up. You’ve got to go out there and play and put it on film and do the work to win games and make it to the playoffs.”