New York Giants OTAs: Main Takeaways | Thibodeaux out with injury, Wan’Dale shines

giants, kayvon thibodeaux

The New York Giants hosted day six of OTA’s on Thursday, which included the first opportunity to hear defensive coordinator Wink Martindale speak to the media. The team has three voluntary practices left until their mandatory camp. After those six practices, they are off until late July, when training camp begins, so there’s a ton of information packed into these sessions.

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Main takeaways from OTA’s for the New York Giants:

1.) Wan’Dale Robinson with a huge catch

Giants quarterback Daniel Jones and rookie receiver Wan’Dale Robinson have already begun developing strong chemistry. Jones has looked Robinson’s way on multiple occasions to find a security blanket but also target him on more aggressive throws downfield.

Wan’Dale ranked 6th in all of college football last year with 16 deep catches and 12th with 553 deep yards. Despite his small frame at 5’8″, he is a feisty receiver with great hands.

On Thursday, Jones launched a pass downfield with Aaron Robinson in coverage, the Giants expected CB2. Wan’Dale used his body to frame out Robinson, hauling in a great reception, which went viral on social media.

There isn’t supposed to be this much contact in OTA’s, so Robinson likely stumbled trying to make a play or simply got caught up in the process. Nonetheless, Robinson’s coverage was solid, but Wan’Dale’s catch was simply better.

2.) Kayvon Thibodeaux out with injury

Fifth overall pick Kayvon Thibodeaux has sat out the past two days with a red jersey on. He was rolled up on after a play during last week’s practice. Head coach Brian Daboll indicated it wasn’t anything too serious, but they were taking necessary precautions to make sure he’s 100% healthy for July.

Thibodeaux has drawn glowing reviews since joining the Giants just a few weeks ago.

“If Wink were to create an outside linebacker in a lab, it would be Kayvon Thibodeaux,’’ Giants outside linebackers coach Drew Wilkins said Thursday, per the NY Post. “He has all the skill sets you look for. He can be a dominant edge-setter, an explosive, violent, relentless pass rusher and everything else you see that is required of the package. All those things combined, it’s such a good fit for us and he has just taken it and run with it.”

Thibodeaux was Wink and Wilkins’ top option on the draft board, so the Giants managed to walk away with arguably the best defender in the class.

“He was Drew’s No. 1 guy and he was my No. 1 guy coming out of the process,’’ Martindale said. “I’ve loved him since Day 1.’’

3.) Defensive scheme shift

One thing that Wink Martindale brings to the Giants is aggressive football. The former Baltimore Ravens DC loves to blitz and play man coverage, which forces opposing quarterbacks to get rid of the ball faster. That strategy implies that the coverage doesn’t have to hold up as long. That implies the secondary doesn’t have to take a bend-don’t-break approach, which is utilized when the pass-rush is weak.

“The other side of that is, the ball has got to come out quicker now, so hopefully we don’t have to cover quite as long,” DB coach Jerome Henderson said. “And if we can be disruptive early, hopefully we can help the defense play at a very high level.”

Not having to cover as long can hide deficiencies in the secondary, especially with inexperienced players like Aaron Robinson. There’s a lot of youth spread around the defensive backfield, so this blitz-heavy approach should allow them to hide weaknesses with an above-average pass rush. That is why acquiring Thibodaux in the draft was such a big deal.