Despite a roster that was seemingly devoid of exceptional talent in 2022, the New York Giants made significant progress in their evolution as a team.
By securing a spot in the postseason and winning a playoff game, they demonstrated that they are serious contenders. This off-season saw them make considerable enhancements to their roster, adding firepower on both defense and offense without any major talent loss.
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The Giants: A Second-Tier Team with First-Tier Ambitions
Nonetheless, when compared to heavyweights such as the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles, the Giants still reside in the second tier. Some critics even fail to accord them the respect they earned after such an impressive season.
According to Kayvon Thibodeaux, the team’s emerging star pass rusher, being seen as an “underdog” is precisely the motivation the Giants need.
“I mean, it’s been good for me. I like to lay low,” Thibodeaux said. “I’m happy that people are counting us out, cause that gives us more time to just work. We don’t have to answer those questions, we don’t have to worry about everybody looking at us. We can just keep our head down and grind. And I think you know, we love being the underdogs, cause that always gives us that story, that momentum to really work and really go after what we want.”
Laying the Foundations for Future Success
The Giants are channeling their efforts into refining their offensive scheme and building on the foundations established in 2022. A handful of their key players required extensive experience in the new strategies implemented, particularly on a defense as assertive as Wink Martindale’s.
Martindale, a seasoned coach, may have found a permanent home with the Giants. He not only adores the players, but the city itself has become a critical component of his teaching methods and confidence. This former Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator, known for his imposing presence, is well-loved by the players for the intensity he brings to the field.
“Yeah, Wink is definitely a players’ coach. When we talk about defense, I think he’s a mastermind alongside with the rest of the assistant coaches,” Thibodeaux said. “They know how to draw it up and know how to utilize the players that they have.”
Thibodeaux: A Rising Star in the Making
Thibodeaux concluded a commendable rookie season with 45 total pressures, four sacks, and 45 tackles to his name. His 6.8% missed tackle rate indicates strong performance in run support.
Nevertheless, Martindale challenged Thibodeaux to enhance his core strength and lower body power, which should help him anchor the edge and broaden his pass-rush repertoire.
For talented players like Thibodeaux, the sky’s the limit. If he manages to maintain his health, 2023 could witness a major breakthrough for this promising player.