New York Giants edge defender Kayvon Thibodeaux has become something of a divisive figure among fans.
The 2022 fifth overall pick only had four sacks his rookie season, but did show a knack for producing big plays in big moments. This year, Thibodeaux has already racked up 5.5 sacks, but he hasn’t come up with the big plays (yet). That’s lead to renewed criticism of the former fifth overall pick as a “bust”, at least from some corners of the fandom.
“Man, let’s just keep playing,” Thibodeaux said when asked about the criticism.
“Everybody has an opinion, everybody has a critique and sometimes I like it when they’re educated, sometimes when somebody’s trying to help me get better. But most of the time you try not to pay attention to it because it’ll have your emotions going up and down. I actually was just told about (by) one of the reporters about what happened, and I’ll probably go look at it later on, but I appreciate the support from the people who do like my game and the people who want to watch me play. I think the biggest thing is for me to just continue to get better, you know? Not have any weeks where I’m not impacting the game as much as I want to. I try to just stay consistent and focus on what I can control.”
In particular he was asked about the recent dust-up on WFAN between Giants’ great Carl Banks and the hosts. Banks defended the second year player against the hosts. The latest round of criticism came when Thibodeaux failed to haul in an errant pass for what would have been an easy pick-six.
“People are still asking me about the dropped pass before and it’s like – for me, the frustration is when you understand Michael Jordan, he made the shots, Kobe Bryant, he made the shots,” Thibodeaux said. “In the NFL, you can talk about every pass Tom Brady made and that’s that difference between good and great. You can make plays but sometimes the frustration comes from wanting to reach that next level.
“I think I’m continuously getting better,. Carrying momentum from last year, I had four sacks so if you’re comparing, I’m already doing better and I’m having more of an impact. But as a team, we won a game so I’m happy about that and now we’re trying to keep that momentum and just continue to get better as a whole.”
“When you talk about playing the Jets, I think it’s going to be real competitive,” Thibodeaux said. “It kind of gives you that old school feel of like a high school rivalry game, something like that. They’re a great team. They’ve got a great defense. We’re trying to outplay them; I know they’re going to try to outplay us and we’re going to try to go put a real competitive game together.”
The two defenses are the story of this game. The Giants’ defense has had a pair of impressive games against the Buffalo Bills and the Commanders. The Jets’ defense, meanwhile, has played well all season long against some of the best offenses in the NFL. Thibodeaux, however, is expecting the Giants’ offense to show up this game.
“I’m going to be honest, we love a full team game, obviously”, he said. “We want it to be a striking match on both ends. We want to play complementary football so if you ask me, we want our offense to go out there and score as many points as possible and keep us off the field.
“But obviously, when you have an opponent that has great other individual players, we have guys that want to match that standard and go show that we can make plays too. It’s definitely going to be competitive on both sides of the ball, but I’m excited.”