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Kayvon Thibodeaux ‘on the rise,’ more takeaways from Giants’ DC Wink Martindale

Giants’ defense needs to come up big vs. Washington Commanders

Houston Texans v New York Giants
Kayvon Thibodeaux
Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

The New York Giants are only 27th in the NFL with 20 sacks. The Giants, though, are second in the league in quarterback knockdown percentage (12.3 percent) and 11th in pressure percentage (23.7 percent).

So, how does defensive coordinator Wink Martindale feel about the Giants’ pass rush? Is he happy with the pressures? Bummed by the lack of sacks? Both?

“To me, sacks are a lot like turnovers, they’ll come in bunches when they do,” Martindale said. “When you look at the quarterback hits, then look at the completion percentage of the quarterbacks in this league and I think we’re third overall in both hits and quarterback completions against us. Low rate, saying a good rate for us.”

Martindale is correct. The Giants have 213 passes completed against them, third-fewest in the NFL. They have the third-lowest completion percentage against (59.66 percent).

“I think that the sacks will come,” Martindale said. “When are the sacks occurring? When they have to hold the ball to make a play ... that’s the other thing you look at is how fast the quarterback releases the ball against your defense. I think we’re third in that as well.”

Here are some other takeaways from Martindale’s Wednesday media availability.

On the possible return of Azeez Ojulari ...

On Kayvon Thibodeaux ...

The rookie edge defender is coming off his best game, a nine-pressure, five-quarterback hit effort vs, the Dallas Cowboys.

“I just have confidence in him. I just know that he’s on the rise, he’s on the come. He’s much better than what I originally expected as far as all the other little stuff. I’m not saying that just him personally, I’m saying rookies, he’s much further ahead than most of the rookies in his class as far as how he prepares for the game and his knowledge of the game already and of the defense itself.”

On the loss of cornerback Adoree’ Jackson ...

“I think it will be one of those things at the end of the season we’ll look at the total impact of it. The biggest impact is on the person himself because I know how hard he’s worked and how well he’s played. That’s the toughest thing to see a thing like that happen. We’ve been dealing with injuries all year and we’ve just got to put the next guy in there, but I miss the person that’s out there on the field. He’s out there right now during walk-throughs, talking to the corners and still leading like a champ. I can’t wait until we get him back and I have no idea when that will be.”

Martindale deflected when asked if it upset him to lose his best cornerback while he was returning punts, saying only that “I feel bad for the guy.”

On the play of cornerback Rodarius Williams ...

The second-year cornerback had an interception and a pair of passes defensed against Dallas in his first action of the season coming off a 2021 torn ACL.

“I thought he played well, I did. He really hasn’t played in two years and to come in there and play the way he did, I was really pleased with him.”

On the Giants’ run defense ...

The Giants are 31st in the league, allowing 5.2 yards per rushing attempt. Washington has rushed for 137 or more yards in each of its last four games, and is coming off a season-high 176-yard rushing game against the Atlanta Falcons.

“We’re just going to have to get 11 hats to the football, and right now statistically, our run defense isn’t very good. We need to continue to work on fundamentals and technique and getting everybody to the football. When you start putting in all the other runs, the wide receiver sweeps and all the other plays off of it, I think run averages are up across the league, but I think we need to get better at it.”