Aug 222022
Davis Webb, New York Giants (August 21, 2022)

Davis Webb – © USA TODAY Sports

The news could have been far worse. According to various media sources, linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux suffered a sprained MCL in his right knee during Sunday’s preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals. There is reportedly no damage to the ACL and meniscus. Thibodeaux is expected to miss 3-4 weeks, meaning he could miss the regular-season opener against the Tennessee Titans.

“I’d say it’s day-to-day really,” said Head Coach Brian Daboll on Monday. “I’m not forecasting when a player can come back or not come back. I know he’ll come in and get treatment. We’ll take it day-by-day, and when he’s ready to go out there, that’s when we’ll put him out there.”

The news was not good for linebacker Darrian Beavers, who suffered a torn ACL in his left knee. He is done for the season.

New York Giants Head Coach Brian Daboll addressed the media on Monday to discuss his team’s 25-22 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals (the video of the press conference is also available on YouTube):

Q: (Outside Linebacker Kayvon) Thibodeaux. There’s a report out there. I know we just got a text on it, but it’s a sprained MCL?

A: Yeah. MCL. Yep

Q: And a quick follow up. When you look at that play with (Outside Linebackers Coach) Drew Wilkins last night, is there something technique-wise that Thibodeaux could do different to maybe avoid a situation like what happened last night?

A: Yeah, those are tough blocks – the blocks that are coming from across the line of scrimmage within the tackle box. You got to see it, and then you’ve got to do a great job of trying to play with your hands. So, it’s unfortunate that KT went down. But that’s part of the game.

Q: That last play – the way you guys defended that – who came up with that, and how much have you actually practiced that?

A: We try to practice as many different situations. We practice a lot of them offensively, what we would do in that situation. Defensively, there’s different ways to defend it. I think that (Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale) Wink has done a really good of implementing his stuff, along with the assistant coaches that we have. And (Outside Linebacker Tomon) Fox sitting there on the sideline and defending the sideline when they have no timeouts, that was a good play. It was a good hit. We want to make sure it’s clean. He led with the shoulder. But it was good situational football, a good call by Wink and well executed by the players.

Q: And one other just game question if I could, why’d you go for two there? You said there was some confusion there.

A: There wasn’t, I wanted to go for two relative to the kicking situation. You know, (Kicker) Graham (Gano) was out, and I just thought it was a good time to work some two-point stuff, and it was a good time to kick (Punter) Jamie (Gillian) even though he hasn’t really been kicking very much. And (Safety) Julian (Love) holding and doing all those things, you never know what could happen. I mean last year we were involved in a game where an opponent’s kicker got hurt pregame, and basically, they had to go for it every snap. So just kind of trying to work some different situation with the players relative to what we were dealt with with Graham going down there.

Q: There was a timeline reported on Kayvon three to four weeks and that you were hopeful for Week 1. Is that accurate? Are you feeling that optimistic that he could play in the opener, or is there a chance that he does not?

A: I’d say it’s day-to-day really. I’m not forecasting when a player can come back or not come back. I know he’ll come in and get treatment. We’ll take it day-by-day, and when he’s ready to go out there, that’s when we’ll put him out there.

Q: Did he go into the city this morning for an MRI? Like what was kind of the timeline for events there?

A: We took care of that stuff yesterday, this morning and had our medical meeting here this morning with the doctor and (General Manager) Joe (Schoen), kind of normal what we do after every game. So, fingers crossed. Hopefully his rehab goes well, and he can get out there as soon as he can.

Q: With Kayvon, what kind of training camp, now that it’s over, what kind of training camp did he have? And how important is this missed time? Do you feel like he got all the work he needed whenever he does come out? Like how valuable is this missed two weeks to him?

A: I think every time you miss a practice, it’s great value to be out at practice. You try to simulate it as best you can to gain live reps, but as many repetitions as any of our guys can get – whether it’s a rookie or a veteran – I think that helps them. It helps each unit, so again, KT’s been doing everything we’ve asked him to do since he’s been here. He’s been a good teammate. He’s worked extremely hard. So, certainly time missed, you never want to miss time. He has the right attitude. The right approach. He’ll rehab as hard as he can rehab and be ready to go when he’s ready to go.

Q: So, who do you look to to fill those spots? What have you seen from some of the next guys in order? Whether it’s – I know we know (Outside Linebacker Azeez) Ojulari will be on one side. But filling Kayvon’s shoes, whether it’s (Outside Linebacker Jihad) Ward or (Outside Linebacker Oshane) Ximines. Who do you look to there, and what have you seen behind Kayvon?

A: Yeah, I think Drew’s done a good job with all those guys –those edge guys. From top to bottom. I mean Fox had a really good night last night, too, setting the edge, playing physical. (Outside Linebacker Quincy Roche) Q and (Oshane Ximines) Big X, Jihad – Haddy – and all those guys have really done a good job of understanding our system and making the most of their opportunities when they get in there. It was good to have Azeez back, too. He had 10 reps, caused two holding penalties, looked good out there for the first time.

Q: I want to ask you about Graham’s situation. Do you need to bring in a kicker maybe for the preseason game against the Jets or can you kind of get by with maybe Jamie doing it if (Graham) he’s not ready to go Sunday?

A: Joe and I are going to talk about that. We’ve had preliminary discussions on it. We’re possibly going to bring in a kicker; you don’t want to wear Jamie out – the different angles he has to kick from. So, we’re in the process of talking about that, and we definitely could bring one in.

Q: And I wanted to ask you a quick question about the offense last night. (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) seemed very effective. He was on the field for, I think, 20, 21 snaps with (Wide Receiver) Kenny (Golladay). It didn’t seem like they even looked at each other. Was that a level of concern? Was that by design? What was going on there?

A: Look, unless you’re calling a screen pass or a jet sweep, you really don’t have – you can put guys in spots and think the ball might go there as a first read. I think Daniel did a very good job of throwing the ball where he needed to throw it, making good decisions, playing on time, playing under control. That’s the unique thing about a receiver or a skilled player – you’re not guaranteed to get all these looks. It’s predicated, at least how we do it, it’s predicated on how the defense plays and our read progression. I thought Daniel did a really good job with that.

Q: With Kayvon’s knee, I know doctors can do the original test on the knee in terms of seeing if it’s stable or not to give the early insight into if it’s a potential torn ACL or anything like that. As a coach, when you get that initial report, do you allow yourself to feel any sense of optimism, or do you kind of push all that to the side and wait for a full confirmation with an MRI?

A: I kind of wait until – I think you can start thinking about a bunch of different things. The trainers come over and just tell you they’re out, and you know they have to go through their, whether it’s X-rays or MRIs or whatever other tests that the players need to go through. You go to bed. You get up. You have your meetings. You get the information you need to get. And whatever it is, I think you just deal with it. You have a plan on what you have to do to help the player get ready to go. In this case, he’s going to be ready to go whenever that is. On the other hand, if they’re out, you got a lot of empathy for those guys that do get injured that are out for a significant amount of time.

Q: It seems to me when watching your offensive linemen – pretty much whoever is in there – that they seem to be doing a good job of communicating and passing off guys with all kinds of tricks and things up front that there’s not a lot of confusion up there. In the past, that’s been a problem. You haven’t been here in the past, obviously. But do you see the same thing in, whether they physically win the play or not, they’re at least in the right place in understanding what each other is supposed to be doing?

A: Yeah, I think we’ve made progress with that since we’ve been here. We certainly have a ways to go of that. But I do think our centers do a good job of communicating. You know (Offensive Lineman) Max (Garcia) did a good job for not being in there (at center) a whole bunch of communicating. And (Tackle Will) Holden, who really hasn’t, well now he’s played all five spots. He was able to do a good job of communicating with the players around him and getting everybody on the page for the most part. That’s the challenge of offensive line play is trying to get five guys to act as one because if one part of it breaks down, it makes all five of them usually look bad. And that’s where, offensively, that’s where we want to start, and the same defensively, is up front. Our defensive line and our offensive line have to set the tempo for our team, and that’s what we work towards every day.

Q: One other thing, you always mention smart, tough, dependable. Smart is always first, I’m sure that’s for a reason. Is that especially important with this offensive line because you can get guys who aren’t high pedigree guys but if they’re smart, is that really crucial to what has to happen up there?

A: Yeah, for us, absolutely. Not just the offensive line but since you’re asking, yeah, it is. Smart, being able to communicate well, again having toughness and being dependable, that’s important really for every position but, in particular, the offensive line and you adding on top of that the communication factor that I talked about, all five of those guys trying to act as one. That’s important because it’s a very tough position to play. It’s physically tough, and I’d say it’s mentally challenging too with the variety of looks that you get down in from a defense.

Q: We got the official word about (Inside Linebacker Darrian) Beavers obviously with the torn ACL, a low for him, what was that like when you were trying to meet with him and talk to him about what the next step is going to be?

A: I’d just say for these guys, and I’ve said this before, you just have a tremendous amount of respect for the players because you see them on away games, or you see them early in the morning on their off days on how much they take care of their body. Obviously, it’s their tool, and whenever something like that happens, there’s a wide range of emotions for every player and I’d say each player is different. You try to be there and be supportive and do the best job that you can in that regard. What’s next, and having your mind on what’s next and helping the players in any way that you can, so it’s tough. (Offensive Lineman Marcus) McKethan had one, and then now Beavers has one. For young players, that’s tough, particularly for guys that were developing and doing a good job in camp with a bright future.

Q: Just one quick thing off of that, he’d been getting a lot of time with (Inside Linebacker) Blake (Martinez) being worked back in, Blake getting his action last night. Do you feel like Blake is in a position to kind of accelerate towards the opener, or are you still in that status quo for him?

A: Yeah, we’ve been working him back in, he had 10 reps, maybe a little bit less than that, but was active, was where he was supposed to be, read the offense well. I has a lot of confidence in Blake.

Q: I want to look forward for a second here. This week you’ve got a joint practice with the (New York) Jets. I want to know what went into that for you, how much were you aware of it being sort of a big deal? I know it was a long time ago at this point, but the last time that these teams did have a joint practice.

A: I’ve heard some stories about that, about the last one. It was a while back, right? I have a tremendous amount of respect for (Jets Head Coach Robert Saleh) Coach Saleh. I really got to meet him at the owner’s meetings back in March or April whenever it was, and then when we talked about potentially practicing against one another we kind of went around and around, I think they have a game tonight if I’m not mistaken against Atlanta (Falcons), so we ended up doing just one instead of two just based on their schedule and our schedule. Anytime you practice against a team, you want to get good work in. Practice the right way, it’s almost like you’re practicing against your team. I’d say it’s pretty competitive but you still want to take care of one another knowing that you only have so many guys, you want to try to keep people up, stay away from the Quarterback, and having the conversations I’ve had with Coach Saleh up until this point, they’ve been good. We’ll revisit it after his game tonight, make sure that we’re in line of what we want to do relative to the schedule and the injuries that each team has, and make sure we’re doing what’s best for our players and get something productive out of it.

Q: And what kind of stories did you hear about that last practice?

A: There were some brawls here I heard.

Q: The coaches were yelling at each other, so I was curious if you were aware of that.

A: No, I didn’t hear that one. I just heard it was a couple of brawls in there. We’ll to try to stay from that.

Q: In less than three weeks, you’re going to be playing your first regular season game. You’ve been going at this for eight months now, do you have any idea where you are with respect to being ready for that first game?

A: Yeah, I think what you try to do is focus on each day and improve each day and improve from game to game. It’ll get on you quick, but you have to take care of what’s in front of you today and improve those things and keep building on it, and that’s the way we approach it. We don’t look too far ahead, don’t look too far behind, learn certainly from our mistakes and try to build to be better each day.

Q: Is there any area that concerns you other than injuries?

A: Yeah, look you’re always trying to get better. You’re never where you need to be, particularly early in the season, you’re still trying to find out. Even in the first couple of years, some of those championship teams that I was fortunate to be a part of, the first couple of games, you’re still trying to figure out exactly what you are. Keep improving. It may not be exactly where you want to be early in the season. You’d like to get off to a fast start, but there are some games in September that are really important to get off to a fast start, but I think your fundamentals, your techniques, the big things that you need to do in every football game, but particularly early in the year, the blocking, the catching, the getting open, and being on the same page, those are critical because you really don’t know. You can watch a team in the off-season and study them, but each team evolves every year. They might have been one thing one year and you think you’re going to get it the first couple of games and they’re turning into something else, using players a different way. So, it really comes down to being good technicians, good at fundamentals, doing the big things right, ball security, and those types of things.

Q: What do you attribute to the amount of injuries you guys have had so far and is it becoming overwhelming to deal with so many, including some key guys?

A: I think injuries are a part of the game. You never want guys to get hurt but that is the nature of playing a contact, physical sport at the highest level. Certain things happen and some of them are out of your control. I’ve been a part of this league for a long time and coached guys that have been injured. Again, you’re empathetic towards those guys, but you try to build a deeper roster as you can so that the next guy’s up. With that being said, you never want guys on your team to be hurt or on the other team for that matter. It’s their livelihood and you have empathy towards that, and you try to do your best to eliminate as many injuries as you can, but it’s a physical, physical sport with a lot of contact and people moving at high speeds, and unfortunately you’re going to have some of those.

Q: I just have one for you here Dabs. As you put together your wide receiver depth chart beyond (Wide Receiver Kenny) Golladay and (Wide Receiver Kadarius) Toney, you’ve had big performances from (Wide Receiver) Collin Johnson, (Wide Receiver Alex) Bachman, (Wide Receiver David) Sills (V), are you just looking for the next three of four best guys or do you want a variety? Like do you want a fast guy, you want a tall guy, do you want a diversity of skill sets across the room or do you just want the next five best players regardless of if there’s repetitiveness?

A: Yeah, I wouldn’t say the next, I would just say the five best or six best player or seven best, however many we’re going to keep. The guys that have been out there and producing, Collin Johnson, David Sills, they’ve stepped their game up. And they’re right in the mix, not just to make a team but to play. So again, like I said, everybody’s got to earn their job, earn their role, do a good job of the things they need to do, and make the most of their opportunities when they get them.

Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and on YouTube:

The players are off on Tuesday and there is no media availability to the team. The Giants return to practice Wednesday afternoon (12:45-2:45PM). Head Coach Brian Daboll and select players will also address the media.

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Eric Kennedy

Eric Kennedy is Editor-in-Chief of, a publication of Big Blue Interactive, LLC. Follow @BigBlueInteract on Twitter.

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