Among many of the headlines in the New York Giants‘ dismal 40–0 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, one seems to have slipped under the radar. While the initial reaction from fans included complaints about the offensive line, special teams unit, and Daniel Jones’s questionable decision-making, conversations are beginning to spark up about Kayvon Thibodeaux’s performance in Sunday’s defeat.
Boomer & Gio rip Kayvon Thibodeaux and call him a “problem”
Boomer Esiason took aim at Thibedeaux’s performance on the “Boomer & Gio” WFAN radio show Monday morning, stating, “There is another problem for the Giants. Kayvon Thibodeaux may not be what he thinks he is, or who the Giants thought he would be when they drafted him.”
Boomer’s co-host, Gregg “Gio” Giannotti, then continued to rail on the second-year defensive end, comparing his lack of production to other young edge rushers, such as Cowboys All-Pro Micah Parsons.
“You didn’t get enough out of him last year,” Gio said. “Micah Parsons made an impact right away, you knew immediately when he put the uniform on how great he was…you haven’t gotten that with Kayon Thibodeaux.”
Boomer is no stranger to making some outlandish takes; neither are Giants fans on X who took the topic and ran with it. Two days after kicking off his sophomore season, hundreds of Giants fans were labeling Thibodeaux a “bust.”
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Kayvon Thibodeaux is clearly not a problem for the New York Giants
Sure, it is absolutely fair to criticize Thibodeaux’s lack of pressure against Cowboys QB Dak Prescott. Thibodeaux amounted to 0 total pressures on Sunday night’s loss. However, according to Pro Football Focus, the Cowboys only ran six true-passing sets. In this small sample size, Thibodeaux failed to apply pressure on Dak Prescott and his best-in-class offensive line.
It is also fair to point to Thibodeaux’s 2022 stats, as four sacks aren’t exactly the impact you’re anticipating from a fifth-overall pick. But when you consider his 18% pass rush win rate, which was 15th among all defenders, you start to get a better idea of Thibodeaux’s talent.
Thibodeaux’s scouting report from NFL.com’s Lanc Zierlein described the prospect as a “hardly finished product,” saying that he “needs to add some go-to moves and more skilled hands to his bag if he is to affect the quarterback more frequently and reach his lofty potential.” The Giants selected arguably the best raw defensive talent in the 2022 draft, and the name of the game has been developing in the pass rush ever since.
Analyzing Thibodeaux’s performance against the Cowboys
Where Kayvon excels is in his run defense. Zierlein’s scouting report described Thibodeaux as a “plus run defender who punches above his weight.”
Thibodeaux demonstrated his run-stopping ability against the Cowboys, setting the edge with ease. What’s notable when reviewing the tape is how often the Cowboys would bring an extra blocker when running toward Thibodeaux’s side of the line. More often than not, Cowboys RB Tony Pollard was running opposite Thibodeaux.
Giants DC Wink Martindale does deserve some criticism for his gameplan, however. His decision to drop Thibodeaux back into coverage when the team was having a hard time applying any pressure to Dak was confusing.
Thibodeaux is not a coverage linebacker; he is a pure, every-down edge rusher. The simple fact that one can randomly select any Cowboys passing down and probably see Thibodeaux faint a rush before dropping 3 yards back into coverage is more of a problem than anything else on his tape from Sunday night.
Week One Blues
Criticism of a player as drafted highly as Kayvon Thibodeaux is always warranted, but the label of a bust in this scenario is completely out of line. It’s understandable to take to X and list off a rant after a 40–0 loss, but without context and stats, it’s easy to rush to flat-out false conclusions.
Thibodeaux still remains one of the highest-ceiling edge rushers in the NFL. He is a 22-year-old, freakish athlete who can certainly improve on his pass-rushing abilities and should have more than enough time to develop. ESPN is projecting Thibodeaux end the season with just 6.5 sacks and quite frankly, I think that’s his floor – I’m expecting double digits. Let’s pump the breaks, shall we Giants fans?
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