New York Giants rookies ‘extremely excited’ to throw on pads for first time Monday

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New York Giants Brian Daboll
New York Giants head coach Brian Daboll, center, participates in a practice at the NFL football team’s training facility in East Rutherford, N.J., Wednesday, June 8, 2022.
AP Photo/Seth Wenig

The New York Giants have been on the field for training camp for four days, but the real fun begins on Monday when they finally throw on the pads for the fifth day of on-field workouts in East Rutherford. 

“That’s really when training – I mean this is great,” head coach Brian Daboll said on Saturday. “There’s a lot of good teaching out here. It’s really, like I said in the spring, it’s a teaching camp. It’s competitive because there’s fans and the nature of training camp. But the evaluation process of the things that they need to do physically and they’re able to do that, really exert that a little bit more, I think we’re all waiting for that.” 

Among those anxious to get the pads on and really sink their teeth into training camp are rookies Evan Neal and Kayvon Thibodeaux, who have been lining up opposite of one another all week. Daboll even joked after he was asked about what it showed from Thibodeaux that he didn’t go near quarterback Daniel Jones when he got in the backfield. 

“He’s a good listener,” Daboll said with a laugh. 

But camp will take on a different feel once the pads go on and the intensity ramps up a bit more. Especially with the two Giants’ rookies so closely associated with one another. 

“I’m extremely excited I get the chance to get better because when you don’t have pads on, you get better from a sense in pass protection and stuff like that, but it’s not the same. We really can’t fit our combo blocks or really lean on guys in the run game. I’m definitely excited for that standpoint of it, for sure,” Neal said. 

Neal and Thibodeaux are not strangers, even before they ended up in East Rutherford at the Giants training facility together. Now the two are expected to be starters this season for the Giants and be impact players going forward as New York looks to turn its fortunes around after several down years. 

Thibodeaux will be used on both sides of the ball and has been working to get the motions down as a pass rusher.

“Now it’s about bringing everything together,” Thibodeaux said about the process. “When you’re at home training, hitting bags, doing drills it’s one thing. And once you really start to get in that game mode, you got to start putting it together with the play calling with the situations and what you need to get done.”

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And that’s where the importance of practicing in pads comes in, especially as Thibodeaux works to get used to a different position. 

“You really have to judge when the pads come on because there’s a different type of play,” he explained. “We can’t really bullrush. We can’t use our moves, and we have to hold up on the quarterback. I’d rather lose a rep than get yelled at by Dabs. So, we try to stay off the quarterback, and we do. And we want to keep everybody healthy.”

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