The role and performance of New York Giants’ outside linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux has been a topic of debate among critics and fans. Some believe that Thibodeaux, the fifth overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft, has been a disappointment and may turn out to be a “bust.” However, former Giants player Carl Banks disagrees with this assessment and argues that Thibodeaux’s role on the team is misunderstood.
Banks, who played the same position as Thibodeaux and won two Super Bowls with the Giants, explained on the “Bleav in Giants” podcast that critics don’t fully understand what Thibodeaux is being asked to do on the field. According to Banks, Thibodeaux is doing exactly what the team is asking of him.
To support his argument, Banks pointed out that Thibodeaux should not be compared to Dallas Cowboys’ edge-rusher Micah Parsons. Banks acknowledged that Parsons, one of the top defensive players in the league, has a different role in the Cowboys’ defense compared to Thibodeaux in the Giants’ defense.
While Banks’ argument may seem valid, there are concerns about Thibodeaux’s lack of production so far this season. Through two games, Thibodeaux has yet to record a sack or any tackles for loss. He has only registered a single pressure, despite being on the field for 84 percent of the Giants’ defensive snaps.
This lack of production has become a worrying trend for Thibodeaux, as he has consistently been on the field but has not made an impact in the stat sheet. As highlighted by Dan Duggan of The Athletic, Thibodeaux has been playing a lot of snaps but has not shown up in the box score.
Thibodeaux himself addressed the criticism, particularly from “social media GMs,” and emphasized that his priority is to contribute to the team’s success rather than focusing solely on his individual stats. While his mindset is commendable, it’s undeniable that the Giants’ struggling defense could benefit from more production from their primary edge-rusher.
The issue may lie in the compatibility between Thibodeaux’s skills and defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale’s scheme. Martindale is known for his aggressive play-calling and high blitz percentage. Thibodeaux’s abilities as a pass rusher should be a perfect fit for Martindale’s system, but the results have not materialized on the field.
Unlike Micah Parsons, who has been unleashed as a pass rusher from different angles in the Cowboys’ defense, Thibodeaux has only blitzed twice this season. Martindale’s pressure tactics often involve using defensive backs to blitz, while his primary edge-rushers are not given as many opportunities.
Thibodeaux’s more conservative role may not suit him, but it’s worth noting that Carl Banks also played a similar role during his time with the Giants. Banks focused on covering tight ends and dropping into coverage, while Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor handled the pass-rushing duties.
Banks believes that it’s unfair to expect Thibodeaux to be a primary pass-rusher simply because of his draft status. He points out that he was also a high draft pick and perfected a less flashy role on the defense. However, it would be easier for the Giants to accept Thibodeaux’s role if another edge defender stepped up in the pass rush department like Micah Parsons does for the Cowboys.
In conclusion, there is a difference of opinion regarding Kayvon Thibodeaux’s performance and role with the New York Giants. Carl Banks argues that Thibodeaux’s role is misunderstood and that he is doing what the team asks of him. However, the lack of production from Thibodeaux in terms of sacks and tackles for loss is a concern for the Giants. It remains to be seen how Thibodeaux’s role will evolve and whether he can become a more impactful player in the Giants’ defense.