There is only one NFL appearance per player, and now that Kayvon Thibodeaux has his resume, he has a greater awareness of what this NFL life is all about.
Thibodeau He was on the field for 37 shots Monday night In the Giants’ 23-16 loss to the Cowboys, they finally warmed up after missing their first two games due to a knee sprain. The most important lesson he said he’s learned is that he’s not a solo band.
“I would say you’re not Superman,” Tibodo said Thursday after training. “There are times when you want to be the reason we win, there are times when you want to be the guy and you have to realize that the game is not played like that. There are 11 people for a reason. It is a team sport for a reason. Just make sure you contribute as much as you can and with the best What you have under the circumstances.”
The Giants’ ability to take a quantum leap forward in defense lies in heavier doses of Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari, rushing on the trailing edge perceived to be a double problem for opposing offenses. Ojulari (calf strained), like Thibodeaux, turned Week 3 of the season into his first game with new defensive coordinator Wink Martindale. Both young players were quiet in their opening act. Both are expected to sound louder, starting Sunday against the Bears at MetLife Stadium.
“There’s nowhere to go but to go with these two guys and I’m excited to see him,” Martindale said.
Head coach Brian Dabol said there would be no ranking on a curve with Tibodo and O’Lolari. There was an admission that there would be some rust to scrape off and the workload wouldn’t be as heavy as it would be on the road.
“When they’re there and they’re ready to play, they’re ready to play,” Daboll said. “I think these two guys are good guys and knowing this is their first game, they’ve come off a little bit. It happens with a lot of players when they come out of injury, they get back into the flow of things. I have a lot of confidence in these players and I’m looking forward to seeing them play this week.”
Everyone involved with the Giants is looking forward to it. These are the young studs who are supposed to turn that defense into something special and give the unit something that hasn’t been there since the days when Michael Strahan, Justin Tuck, Osei Omniora and Jason Pierre Paul roamed the courts. It’s too early to put Ojulari and Thibodeaux anywhere near the Super Bowl-winning passing strikers. However, it is not an exaggeration to consider them heirs to the throne. Ojulari, a second-round pick in 2021, set a junior record for the franchise with eight sacks and Thibodeaux was the No. 5 pick overall in the 2022 NFL Draft. There is a huge amount of investment in these people, and with such investment comes expectations.
Tipodox, coming back from a twisted knee, played 37 of 64 shots in defense. He was credited with one tackle and his best contribution came when he arrived and credited a Cooper Rush pass. Ogolari, returning from a strained calf, played 30 shots and saved with one assist and two penalties.
“It was a relief to be back there,” Ogulari told The Post. “Just get back on the field. It could definitely be better. I just get back into the flow.”
Passers-by rushing against bears is not exactly a frequent occurrence. No team in the NFL throws it that often. Justin Fields, in three games, attempted only 45 passes. He’s very elusive, yet he’s been kicked out 10 times. The starting tackles are two 23-year-olds, in the fifth round, one year apart, in Larry Borum and rookie Braxton Jones.
Thibodeaux in the fourth quarter against the Cowboys, in the fourth and fourth of the Giants ’41 yard line, used an inside passing dash to nearly reach Rush. The ball went out quickly, though, and the short ball flipped to CeeDee Lamb for 4 yards and the first down for a push extension that ended with a field goal.
Thibodeau said the play was part of his NFL welcome moment.
“The coaches are really good at playing to their team’s strengths,” he said. “These are the guys who get paid to set up, run, and perform plays.”
The full scope of the NFL is what Thibodeaux took, not only lining up against an offensive lineman, but also vying with a coordinator and a full coaching staff.
“People who did this and were doing it for a living,” he said.
Fear not, though. Thibodeaux hasn’t lost his bragging, even realizing he can’t wear the robe of a superhero.
“I still feel like I can play every game on the pitch,” he said. “It is more about understanding how the game is played.”