Looking back at the 2012 season, one of the less obvious bright spots was the play of offensive guard Kevin Zeitler. Zeitler was the second of two first-round draft picks for the Bengals, and ended up starting all seventeen games as a rookie. He came in charged with the unenviable task of replacing long-time Bengals guard Bobbie Williams and finished the season with flying colors.
So after enjoying such a successful season, one might expect Zeitler to punch in the cruise control and relax a little.
Not even close.
According to Dan Hoard on Bengals.com, Zeitler has actually been putting in extra time during the Bengals' recent OTAs, staying after practice to work on additional drills. He even roped in UDFA defensive tackle Larry Black to lend him a hand.
"I asked him (to stay) because I figured he was a young guy and wouldn’t say no," said Kevin Zeitler. "When you have a lot of young guys around, they’re willing to help, so I grabbed Larry Black and got some work in. That’s what I feel you have to do because you have to outwork the competition."
That's right. Even after coming in and playing at a high level during the 2012 season, Zeitler still isn't satisfied. He's watched the tape. He's diagnosed his own flaws. And now he's putting in the time to correct those flaws. During OTA's. In May.
Anyone else starting to think the book is closed on the Zeitler-DeCastro debate?
But that's not all. Apparently, during the first day of practices, Geno Atkins--destroyer of worlds--blew Zeitler up and ate his figurative lunch. A standard occurrence considering Atkins' immense talent, but it didn't sit well with the second-year guard. So he stayed after practice and put in more work. As Dave Lapham notes, "He wants to be great--not good--but great. He wants to be a Hall of Fame type guy." And it certainly shows in his practice habits.
"On a reach block, Geno blew me back today. Yeah it’s Geno, but who knows, there are no defensive tackles better than Geno but there could be somebody close. So I have to make sure that it doesn’t happen in a game."
Tell me that quote didn't make you smile. You can't do it.