New York Giants linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux (5) and defensive tackle...

New York Giants linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux (5) and defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence II (97) sack Washington Commanders quarterback Sam Howell (14) during the second quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. Credit: AP/Adam Hunger

This is how Dexter Lawrence explained his job as a Giants defensive tackle.

“Imagine this,” Lawrence said. “Getting into 50 car wrecks. In every game.”

He smiled.

“It’s very demanding,” Lawrence said. “It’s a tough job. That’s why a lot of people don’t do it.”

Lawrence, in his fifth NFL season, is coming off a two-sack game in the Giants’ win over Washington.

He also knows that criticism is part of the gig. That includes this week, when the play of second-year outside linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux has been scrutinized.

Asked if he has seen growth from Thibodeaux, Lawrence said, “Yeah, and his play is showing it. I think he’s doing well right now. There are little things [where] he’s still growing and improving.”

If he catches the next interception that goes through his hands — like it did last Sunday — that will show improvement.

“Everybody drops passes,” Lawrence said. “I think he got too excited in that moment.”

It could have been a pick-6.

“The interception. Who wouldn’t want that back?” Thibodeaux said. “Obviously, I want to get better. There are some plays I’ve left out there. There is a level of play I still want to reach. But I think that I’m consistently getting better.”

He said he expects a lot from himself which is why, he said, he doesn’t get angry when his play is criticized by outsiders.

“When you look at the greats in every sport, there’s the difference,” he said. “Michael Jordan hit the shot. A guy like Kobe Bryant] hit the shot. When you make the play, that’s how your name gets mentioned in greatness. I don’t look at it as a negative. I know that everyone has an opinion on it. I’m working on myself, as I mature, to understand that it’s not up to me to prove anybody’s opinion wrong or right. I shouldn’t put that weight on myself. So as long as I’m kind of content, and I can look in the mirror, I’m OK with that].”

Clearly Thibodeaux expects a lot from himself.

He also suggested that he is at least as critical of himself as any critic.

“I’ve got to be critical of myself because those are the plays that I know I can make,” he said. “It’s just continuing not to just be one of the starting 11 but be the one of the 11. Be that playmaker.”

Thibodeaux has 5.5 sacks this season, 1.5 of which were against Washington last week.

“I feel like I’m playing pretty good,” Thibodeaux said. “We got two wins so far and I’ve been able to get a few sacks in those games. We’re going to keep going. Even in games where I don’t get sacks, I know that they’re accounting for me or double-teaming me, which allows someone else to be free or to get the sack. It’s all about impacting the game for me. Am I making an impact? Yes. Are there plays out there that I’m still hungry for, of course.” 

More Giants

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months