Giants’ Wink Martindale sees big Year 2 for star edge rusher

new york giants, kayvon thibodeaux
Dec 4, 2022; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux (5) celebrates a sack during overtime against the Washington Commanders at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants‘ defense is filled with young players that have tremendous talent. Going into next season, the youthful players on defense need to take a step forward to propel New York to success.

Second-year edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux could be the next breakout player for Big Blue following an impressive rookie season. Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale recently shared how he envisions a big year in store for Thibodeaux entering 2023.

Giants DC Wink Martindale envisions a big year for Kayvon Thibodeaux

When asked about All-Pro DT Dexter Lawrence’s Hall of Fame aspirations, Martindale made a point to highlight Thibodeaux’s potential, too.

“I think (Dexter Lawrence), and I think Kayvon (Thibodeaux), second-year player, I don’t think they have ceilings,” Martindale said to the New York Post. “There’s a lot of work to be done, but I think that any goal that he has, I think that’s great that he’s talking about that.”

Giants fans are excited by Thibodeaux, and so is Martindale. “Everything” about Thibodeaux excited Martindale, he said. “He’s an exceptional football player and he’s an exceptional person. I really enjoy being around him.”

Thibodeaux posted four sacks in 14 games for the Giants last season. Despite his low level of box score production, Martindale is not worried and still believes Thibodeaux can be a double-digit sacker.

The screens and the max protection I know for sure, we’re No. 1 in the league facing those. You’re not gonna get sacks on those plays, and on top of all that, people understand that we know how to beat protections. When you know the team you’re playing against [can] beat protections, your quarterback coach and the offensive coordinator’s saying, “Get rid of the ball quick.” So I think you have those three challenges of not just sitting there which a lot of teams just rush four and play one coverage, and then blame the players when it doesn’t work — that’s not how we roll.

Wink Martindale when asked if he thinks Kayvon Thibodeuax can be a double-digit sacker

Teams were keying in on Thibodeaux as a rookie, preventing him from finishing plays with sacks. However, he still posted an impressive 40 pressures as a rookie and routinely disrupted opposing offenses. Thibodeaux earned his nickname, “The Closer,” for his fourth-quarter heroics during his rookie season.

Thibodeaux is a star in the making. That’s evident not only to Giants fans and media analysts but to Martindale and the rest of the coaching staff as well. An exciting year is in store for Thibodeaux as he enters his sophomore season in the NFL in 2023.