Kevin Zeitler was nothing short of phenomenal during his rookie season for the Cincinnati Bengals, and one of the better picks from the entire 2012 draft from a value standpoint. The former Wisconsin Badger was big reason the running game improved last year, and was masterful at pass-blocking as he finished with a +13.3 grade by Pro Football Focus, the 4th-best by a Bengals offensive player, and the 12th-best by any NFL guard. He allowed just four sacks and one QB-hit the entire 2012 season while starting every game in the defensively-stout AFC North. His focus on the finer points is also worth pointing out, as he was called for just two penalties in 16 starts last season.
Zeitler has been everything the Bengals could have hoped for and then some, but he’s not settling on his early NFL success. According to Dan Hoard, Zeitler has been putting in extra time during the Bengals’ recent OTAs by staying after practice to work on additional drills, and Lap sees a potential star in the making in Zeitler:
He wants to be great – not good – but great,” said Lapham. “He wants to be a Hall of Fame type guy. That’s a coach’s dream and I’m sure that (offensive line coach) Paul Alexander is thrilled to death to have a guy like that. The longer he’s around, the more his work habits are going to spill off to the other guys too. He’s a great example that there are no shortcuts to success.
Zeitler could care less about the Hall of Fame, nor how good he may have been last year. He’s too focused on working to become the greatest player he can become:
I guess it wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. I felt that as the season went along I got better. Still, every time that I watch the film there are so many things that make my stomach cringe. That’s another reason why I do the extra work – I don’t want those things to ever pop up again.
You should want to be your best every day and try to be perfect. If you strive toward perfection you can hit excellence.
Football is an emotional roller coaster. Sometimes you hate this game so much that you wish you never played it and other days like today, I was running around the field thinking, ‘finally…it’s time to get better!