New York Giants left guard Will Hernandez is entering his second season with Big Blue and expectations are high for both him and the Giants’ improved offensive line this season.
Hernandez appeared on MSG Networks’ new weeknight show “MSG 150,” which airs every Monday-Thursday from 8-1030 p.m.
Hernandez came right in a rookie last year and established himself next to veteran left tackle Nate Solder. After a shaky start, the duo became more steady and the offense began to produce big numbers. Both players were the only two Giants to play every offensive snap in 2018.
“I came in as a second round pick,” Hernandez said. “And to me I’ve always expected a lot out of myself. I said you know what, the Giants picked you up in the second round. They’re expecting a lot of you. You’re expecting a lot out of yourself. I ended up playing the entire season, every snap. And to me, honestly that wasn’t anything special. I was just like that’s just my job. I was just doing my job. The Giants didn’t bring me here to play 25%, 50% of the snaps. In my eyes, I was just simply doing my job. And doing what I was brought here to do.”
Hernandez entered the league with a reputation for being a tough player and an enforcer. He showed those traits right away by tangling with veteran defensive tackle Damon “Snacks” Harrison in preseason.
“That’s just who I am by nature. I’m a competitor,” the former UTEP star said. “I take football very seriously. I have fun with it, don’t get me wrong. But I just feel that when you step on to that field, you’re not stepping on to mess around or play hard here or there or just take a break. It’s all out. It’s a violent sport. I treat it as such. And I believe that’s how everyone should play when you put the helmet on.”
The Giants will begin the season with Solder at left tackle, Hernandez at left guard, either Jon Halapio or Spencer Pulley at center and two new players — Kevin Zeitler and Mike Remmers — at right guard and right tackle.
Hernandez spoke about chemistry on the line and its importance.
“That definitely helps you get ahead of the game. Because we did create that chemistry during the season last year. And it carried over to all of these offseason workouts and practices that we’ve been having. And throughout OTAs as well. We feel that we’re already way ahead of where we were last year. We picked it right back up where we left off and we just want to build off of that.”
Zeitler complimented Hernandez on his style earlier this week, but Hernandez is just as impressed with his new teammate.
“He’s a great person to learn from. Awesome guy. And great player,” Hernandez said. “When I found out we traded for him, I looked him up. I tried to find out as many things as I could. I watched some film on him. And he’s definitely legit. I’m very excited to be able to learn from him as much as I can.”
Hernandez is very family-oriented and when he got his big payday last season, he immediately paid his newfound fortune forward by rewarding his loved ones with a new home
“Something that I always wanted to do for them was buy them a house,” he said. “And I wanted to put them in their dream home. Somewhere where they feel comfortable. Somewhere where they can come back from work or from wherever and be at peace and be comfortable.”
Hernandez explained that it is his family that drove him to work hard and succeed against the odds. He says they are still the reason he straps on the pads.
“A lot of guys, especially seasoned vets and guys that have played in the league before, they always tell guys figure out your ‘why’ and figure out what drives you,” he said. “Some guys it’s money, some guys it’s the love of the game, some guys it’s wanting to be the best. So at the time, that was my ‘why.’ It was my family. That fueled me every day to go out and practice hard, train hard. Basically everything I did revolved around football.”