Kayvon Thibodeaux came to the Giants on the big stage as April number 5 overall on the NFL Draft in Las Vegas.
So it just fits that he is expected to make his NFL debut in the bright lights of Monday Night Football against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium.
“Big games like this, whether it’s the national championship, the Super Bowl, Monday football that everyone is watching, I wouldn’t say it’s putting pressure on me,” Thibodeaux said this week. “But if you do better, it will get stronger. We’re in New York.
Thibodeaux’s long-awaited debut was delayed due to a sprain right MCL injury he suffered on August 21 in a pre-season match against the Cincinnati Bengals.
He wore a knee brace and was officially considered a suspect in prime-time. But all the signs pointed to an Oregon rookie playing, except for some last-minute, unforeseen change of plans.
Thibodeaux rode at full speed in the live drills against the offensive liner, even though in practice he was cited as limited. He said he was able to “open it” and was “definitely confident” after “making a lot of progress” in rehab.
In fact, there is a chance that both Thibodeaux and second-year footballer Azeez Ojulari (right calf) will make their season debut to bolster a defense that could have happened without Leonard Williams (twisted right calf).
“I hope so,” said head coach Brian Daboll when asked if he was sure they both would play. “They have taken good steps. I think they are much better than the week before. Hope they have a good day here and we are going in the right direction with these guys.
Thibodeaux, 21, should help the Giants get through a rush that has trouble getting into opposing playmakers without a blitz. But he also demonstrated strong defenses on the run in the preseason, which could be a big boost against Ezekiel Elliot, Tony Pollard and Cowboys ground att*cks.
He said he didn’t let the injury frustrate him and was excited to show what he can do.
“It’s not really frustrating [me]Thibodeaux said. “You have to understand where you want to get. If I concentrated too much on the present, of course I would be depressed. But I’m just trying to focus on the future of what we have in store and what I have in store for myself. “
GIANT GAME STATUSES
OUT: WR Wan’Dale Robinson (knee), CB Aaron Robinson (appendix), Nick McCloud (hamstring), Justin Layne (concussion). DOUBTS: WR Kadarius Toney (hammy), DL Leonard Williams (knee). Doubtful: Kayvon Thibodeaux edge (knee), Azeez Ojulari edge (calf).
Backup QB Tyrod Taylor was absent from Saturday’s practice sessions for personal reasons that did not cause an injury. Both Robinsons, Toney, Williams, McCloud and Layne were not training due to injuries. Thibodeaux and Ojulari were limited. Full participants were center Jon Feliciano (shin) and supporter Dane Belton (collarbone) and Jason Pinnock (shoulder).
Around 2:30 pm Saturday, after Toney was listed as questionable in an official injury report, the recipient of Giants posted a video on his Instagram video where the man yells, “Shut up before I start talking sh*t about you. A week ago, Toney wrote two posts to his doubters that were quickly deleted.
COWBOY GAME STATUSES
DEPARTURE: QB Dak Prescott (right thumb), G Connor McGovern (ankle), S Jayron Kearse (knee). DOUBTS: LB Micah Parsons (disease), WR Michael Gallup (knee), TE Dalton Schultz (knee), DT Quinton Bohanna (neck).
Parsons and Schultz were updated to a limited attendance on Saturday for a guide. Gallup was full.
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