Giants pass rusher admits expectations to be great stem from franchise legends

Dec 25, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Giants linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux (5) against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Kayvon Thibodeaux is well aware that all eyes will be on him and his New York Giants defensive front in 2024. Thibodeaux is one of several defensive linemen that make their unit one of the most talented on paper. With such talent comes expectations to show out next season, whether or not that directly coincides with a spike in wins.

Giants: Kayvon Thibodeaux is up to carrying the torch that greats bore before him

syndication: the record, kayvon thibodeaux, new york giants

Per Bobby Kownack of, the 23-year-old standout edge rusher opened up about the standard that Giants superstars before him have set, and how it leaves him with no options but to be dominant:

“I mean, L.T. (Lawrence Taylor) back there, man. Just him, Michael Strahan, Carl Banks, Osi Umenyiora,” Thibodeaux said on stage. “When you’ve got a guy like L.T., right, we just kind of exchanged in the back and he’s like, ‘Man, how many sacks did you have last year?’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, I had 11.5. Pretty good.’ He’s like, ‘What’d you play? Three games?’

“When you’ve got those shoes to fill, you have no choice but to be great. I’ve got the greatest guys to look up to, and now I just continue to set goals and accomplish them.”

Giants legends have set the defensive bar high for Thibodeaux & Company

Sep 22, 1985; E. Rutherford, NJ, USA; FILE PHOTO; New York Giants Linebacker (56) LAWRENCE TAYLOR pressures St. Louis Cardinals quarterback (15) NEIL LOMAX at Giants Stadium. The  Giants defeated the Cardinals 27-17. Mandatory Credit: Tony Tomsic-USA TODAY NETWORK
Credit: Tony Tomsic-USA TODAY Sports

Taylor’s lighthearted jab at Thibodeaux tells all privy to it just how exceptional he and his fellow franchise pantheon greats were in their primes. Thibodeaux’s 11.5 sacks are considered great. He finished with the ninth-most in the NFL in that department in 2023. Taylor’s flex stems from his illustrious resume, which includes three seasons with 15-plus sacks, including his career-high 20.5 in 1986.

Strahan one-upped him and then some with an NFL-record 22.5 sacks in 2001. The rest of the Giants that Thibodeaux did (and didn’t) mention including Banks and Umenyiora both elevated the Giants to Super Bowl-winning seasons. New York’s most successful teams have all had defenses that tore through the league.

The pieces are in place for Giants defense to carve their own path in 2024

New York Giants linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux (5) against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field
Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Thibodeaux wants to follow that mold. He, Dexter Lawrence, and Brian Burns will get their first chance beginning in 2024. Numbers don’t tell the whole story, but for skimmers, it reveals that those three will be menaces to opposing quarterbacks on the line and in the trenches next season, combining for 55 quarterback hits in 2023.

They are anticipated to be the strength of the Giants in the upcoming campaign. Their all-time great predecessors will be watching from a distance, which will put more fire upon them to deliver.

Mentioned in this article:

More about: