Giants’ Kayvon Thibodeaux ‘Thanked God’ for this new teammate’s impact

New York Giants linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux (5) celebrates a sack with the defense in the first half at MetLife Stadium
Danielle Parhizkaran/ / USA TODAY NETWORK

The New York Giants made a splash in the offseason by acquiring linebacker Bobby Okereke from the Indianapolis Colts, signing him to a lucrative four-year, $40 million deal. With an impressive stat sheet and unwavering leadership, Okereke quickly became an invaluable asset to the Giants.

Bobby Okereke’s impact on the Giants

Even before stepping foot on the field, Okereke was voted as a team captain, foreshadowing the outstanding season that awaited him. The 27-year-old played in 100% of the team’s defensive snaps and finished the season with 149 tackles, continuing his streak of surpassing 130 tackles for the third consecutive season. His 92 solo tackles ranked seventh in the league.

Okereke also achieved career-highs in sacks (2.5), tackles for loss (11), and forced fumbles (four), tying for the second-most forced fumbles this season. He was elite in the passing game, posting a career-high 10 passes defended and two interceptions.

Kayvon Thibodeaux gives high praise to Okereke

While official accolades may have eluded Okereke, he received high praise from his teammate Kayvon Thibodeaux. In a recent episode of the 7PM in Brooklyn podcast from Wave Sports + Entertainment Original, the second-year edge rusher expressed his gratitude towards Okereke. Thibodeaux said that he “thanked God” that the Giants signed Okereke, stating that the linebacker “embodies” the person and player he aspires to be.

Okereke’s impact on Thibodeaux

Thibodeaux found great inspiration in Okereke and credited him for providing guidance and motivation, which played a role in his improvement this season:

“He literally told me, ‘Bro, every day you come here you gotta find motivation.’ (One day) he gets in the cold tub, right, (and) he put his neck all the way down up to here. Cold tub, me? I’m going to the hips. He’s like, ‘Damn, KT, you ain’t gonna give your shoulders no love?’ I’m like, ‘Man, my shoulders don’t need no love.’ He said, ‘Man, what, your shoulders ain’t worth $100 million?’ He said, ‘Oh, your shoulders ain’t worth greatness?’ And I’m like, ‘alright you got me messed up.’”

Kayvon Thibodeaux on the 7pm in Brooklyn podcast

The future looks bright for the Giants’ defense

While Thibodeaux’s offseason work definitely paid off, Okereke’s words also had a profound effect, leading to a significant improvement in the 23-year-old’s performance. His sack count rose from four to 11.5, and his tackles for loss increased from six to 12.

He finished the season with 44 pressures, 11.5 sacks, 50 tackles, 26 solo tackles, 12 tackles for a loss, four passes defended, and three forced fumbles. Thibodeaux became the first player in a Wink Martindale defensive system to reach double-digit sacks within a single season.

With Okereke’s guidance and Thibodeaux’s relentless drive, the future looks bright for the Giants’ defense.

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