EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — All you need to do is spend a couple of minutes talking with Giants rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux to get a sense of just how confident he is in his play. And that isn’t without warrant as the edge rusher has made his presence felt in some of the biggest games of the season this year for the Giants.
In a must-win game against the Washington Commanders, Thibodeaux had the best night of his career and in 14 games this season his 11.1 QB pressure rate was best among all rookies who played at least 500 snaps, according to Next Gen Stats.
Thibodeaux has always carried himself with a strong sense of self, but that didn’t just materialize out of thin air. The edge rusher’s confidence level comes from the meticulous work he puts in before each game.
“That’s the only place it comes from,” Thibodeaux said. “This sport, it’s so physical, so violent, so gruesome that there’s no such thing as false confidence. Everything comes from preparation. Everything comes from what you do during the week. And I think that’s what’s separated us so far and what has continued us afloat.”
The strengths of Thibodeaux go beyond just the way he plays on the field. It also extends to his understanding of the game and the depth of his football IQ.
Dexter Lawrence told NorthJersey.com that one of his first impressions of Thibodeaux had been just how strong his football intelligence was. Thibodeaux joked that because of his big personality, people often don’t realize how much he thinks about the game.
“Because I’m gregarious, it makes people uncertain about my intellect when it comes to football and the scheme of how it works. But I would say just that alongside, we talk about mindset, the ins and outs of the game and then that mindset when it comes to willpower and that next level of knowing what it takes to be great. That’s what’s been keeping me going,” he explained.
The rookie edge rusher won’t be in the running for the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award or a fan award called the Pepsi Zero Sugar Rookie of the Year Award. Thibodeaux did acknowledge the Rookie of the Year nod was something he had eyed since he was drafted.
However, he pivoted to say his focus was on the Eagles on Saturday.
“I couldn’t care less about accolades at this point,” Thibodeaux said. “At this point, it’s about opportunity and getting another week.”
When those awards are announced it will be around Super Bowl Weekend. The rookie is hoping he’ll be playing in that game.
“Whenever the ceremony is, I probably won’t watch it. But the next game, everybody that’s not playing will be watching,” Thibodeaux later said