If it’s up to New York Giants linebacker Lorenzo Carter, the practice field at Quest Diagnostics will resemble the New York Philharmonic this season.
Known for big hits and key stops at the University of Georgia, Carter, on hand for Giants rookie minicamp, harbors a love of classical music that has followed him to the NFL. Not only is Carter a football player, the Giants’ third-round pick in last month’s draft, he’s also a player of numerous instruments.
“In elementary school, fifth grade, I started to play the cello and it stuck with me. I love the sound of wood instruments, and I just fell in love with classical music,” Carter said. “I played cello, tuba, baritone, which is the same thing as the tuba. I tried to play bass for a little bit. It’s a little big, I don’t like the sound of it. I’ve dabbled in a couple of instruments.”
It’s perfect, then, that Carter believes he brings “versatility” to a new-look Giants defense, and the Giants definitely hope that the variety in music crosses over to the field. Sporting a new 3-4 defense under new coordinator James Bettcher, the Giants quickly pounced on Carter, one of the draft’s top edge rushers, when he fell to their grasp early in the third round. Leaving one elite program behind, he has already immersed himself in the strategy of another.
“I think the biggest challenge has been getting in the playbook, making sure I understand all the adjustments we need to make and learning the terminology,” he said. “Everywhere you go, it’s going to be different terminology, so you just want to be speaking the same language as the coaches.”
Despite the differences in terminology, Giants head coach Pat Shurmur is looking to make Carter as comfortable as possible, not straying far from the methods that worked in his favor in Athens.
“For the most part, how we align and how he lines up is similar to what he did at Georgia. He’s very long, he’s very athletic,” Shurmur said. “He did a good job in the coverage drills, in the one-on-one stuff yesterday, and you can see he’s a bright guy. I watched these coaches yesterday give him some coaching points and he was able to use that in his next couple of reps.”
Shurmur “certainly” sees Carter as a three down defender, and believes his “arrow is (pointing) up.”
“We talk about what an edge player should be able to do, he should be able to obviously set the edge in the run game,” Shurmur said about the Carter expectations. “We expect him to be able to drop into coverage at times, and then certainly the element that he will bring to us also is his ability to pass rush, whether we play five on the line or we get into a four-man front.”
Carter believes he’s more than capable of handling such a workload.
“I can do a lot of things out there, and just energy,” the linebacker said. “I’m young, I have a lot of energy. I want to soak it all in, soak it in from the vets, soak it in from the coaches and just be a sponge.”
If things work out, Carter could be part of multiple cliques with the Giants, and not just in the league of SEC alumni. To close out his Saturday afternoon press meeting, Carter was asked about the possibility of joining forces with fellow Renaissance man Dalvin Tomlinson, as the defensive tackle has likewise displayed a musical prowess.
“We can get a band together real quick,” Carter said with a smile.
(Photo courtesy of of University of Georgia Athletics.)