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Giants’ Kayvon Thibodeaux learning that he’s ‘not Superman’

Thibodeaux had a quiet NFL debut on Monday night

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Kayvon Thibodeaux and head coach Brian Daboll.
Danielle Parhizkaran/ / USA TODAY NETWORK

Kayvon Thibodeaux has big expectations. Remember when the New York Giants rookie edge defender said during the summer that “If I could average at least one sack a game or contribute five to 10 tackles a game, then I’ll be good”?

Well, yeah, he’d be good with those numbers. He would have a bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame with those numbers.

After missing the first two games with a sprained MCL, Thibodeaux made his NFL debut on Monday night against the Dallas Cowboys. In 37 snaps, he didn’t come close to to the pace he hoped for. Thibodeaux had one tackle and one pressure.

Did the fifth overall pick learn anything from his NFL debut?

“I would say that you’re not Superman,” Thibodeaux said. “There are times where you want to be the reason we win, there are times where you want to be the guy and you’ve got to realize that the game isn’t played like that. There are 11 people for a reason, it’s a team sport for a reason. So just making sure that you contribute as much as you can and to the best of your ability given the circumstances.”

Thibodeaux said he is learning that the NFL is more complicated than college.

“l still feel like I can make every play on the field. But it’s more of an understanding of how the game is played. You’re not just going against the other players on the field, you’re going against a coordinator, you’re going against a team, you’re going against people who do this and have been doing this for a living,” he said. “It’s understandable that there are schemes and ways to isolate players or take them out, to do whatever. So, just me understanding that it’s a lot bigger than it was before and it’s a lot more detailed and it’s a lot more time taken within the schemes of offenses and things like that.”

Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale said he expects Thibodeaux’s impact to increase over time.

“It’s just new,” Martindale said. “He really hasn’t practiced that much since the injury. He’s done a lot of rehabbing and all that stuff, but he hasn’t done a lot of 11 on 11 work.

“I think it’s going to continue to get better. I saw it in practice last week, but the week prior when we didn’t play him, that’s when I think he told you guys he was going to play that week, you didn’t see it. I think it’s just going to continue to build as he goes.”

Did Martindale see Thibodeaux has having been humbled by not having a dominant debut?

“I think Kayvon’s Kayvon. I think that that’s one of the reasons why I love him is because he’s a confident young man, has some ambition to him and has goals and he’s going to go after them. I’d take 11 of guys like that,” Martindale said. “You better stay humble in this game, period, win or lose because that’s the way this league is. As soon as you lose your humility, it will come up and slap you right upside the head, the league will. So, I don’t know. We didn’t have that conversation, so I don’t know. He doesn’t seem like he’s walking around with his lip out. I’m just expecting great things from him.”