Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale
Beautiful day, huh? Sun's always brighter after a W.
I was really happy with the way that our guys competed. The fans were great during the game, which led to our success, too. It creates confusion for the opponent. I thought that we competed well for all four quarters, which I've stood up here and said that before, but we did. We communicated well, we executed well, and I was just really happy for all the guys.
With that, I'll open it up to questions.
Q: How would you describe (outside linebacker Kayvon) Thibodeaux's season to date, especially recently?
A: I've said this every time I come up here, I think he's a very good football player and I think he's having a really good season. I mean, you're talking about a guy in the NFL that as an edge rusher, as a linebacker who played 68 out of the 69 plays, which is a rarity in itself. I think that—where's he at now, five-and-a-half sacks? He makes everything roll for us. I know no matter what he does, it might not reach what some people think he should be doing, but I think he's a hell of a football player. I'm glad that we have him. I'm glad that I've had the opportunity to coach him.
Q: What do you make of his number of pressures?
A: I think that we ask him to do so many different things. Sometimes, they're going to put all the attention on him going into that game. Sometimes, we can get one-on-one, sometimes we can't get one-on-ones. So, all we're interested in really is just wins and playing well defensively. Just to point one individual guy out, I think we're going down the wrong street with that. There's guys that do a lot of the other heavy lifting stuff that, in my opinion, don't get enough credit. He's one of them with how we move him around and how we use him.
Q: Last week, (defensive lineman) Leonard Williams was talking about how in a certain system, you might be called upon to do different things. So overall, can you talk about this defense and how selfless it is on an individual basis, so that the unit can succeed?
A: Right. I think that's the biggest thing and the hardest thing to do in the NFL, is get 11 players in your group that are going to be selfless, that care about other people's success in that room more than their own. That's just today's day and age of life. I think once you get guys who care that way for each other, I think you could be a force in this league, and we're heading in that direction. It's not there yet, but we're heading in that direction.
Q: How do you think (safety) Jason (Pinnock) has played this year, and was there pressure on him in terms of replacing (safety) Julian Love, who was a captain and a big player on this team?
A: Yeah, I don't think there was pressure because of that. I think that he was the next man up and I think that he's doing well. There are some little things that he needs to still grow at and continue to grow at. But I think you saw Sunday, he's a very effective piece of our unit, and I'm really happy with where JP (safety Jason Pinnock) is at.
Q: Where do you think he needs to grow?
A: I mean, just at everything. All the little things. That's the entire defense. I've stood up here and told you we need to work on tackling, we need to work on this, we need to—every day, you need to work to get better. I think you're starting to see some of the growth of the entire group. That's everybody; it's not just individually.
Q: You talked about earlier in the season having multiple guys who wish they had one or two plays back and you wanted to get that number down. How have you seen that progress?
A: I think in the last two weeks, you've really seen there's still some guys that have one or two plays, but there's fewer of them. I think that's where you see the success of the defense. We're starting to get better at that.
Q: Knowing that you're going to face the Jets offense, but there's going to be a lot of eyes on both teams' defenses here and kind of measuring them against each other, do you think your guys like that challenge of going up against the Jets defense on the same field?
A: I don't know if we necessarily look at it that way. I think that we look at our opponent's offense, and we stay solely focused on that. I'll just leave that up to you guys to see. I think (Jets Head Coach) Robert (Saleh) has done a heck of a job, and (Jets General Manager) Joe Douglas has done a heck of a job of building that roster to what they want to do. Robert came from San Francisco. He's got tough, fast, physical players led by one of the best inside linebackers in the league with (Jets linebacker) C.J. (Mosley). I think it's going to be a lot of fun to watch.
Q: When you picked Kayvon, you didn't know if Kayvon would be there at five. One of the guys who could have been there was (Jets cornerback) Sauce Gardner. He seemed like your kind of cornerback. I'm just curious what you thought.
A: First of all, I didn't do the picking. So, we took who was there. In hindsight, you just don't know what would happen. I'd like to get both of them.
Q: What do you see in (Jets quarterback) Zach Wilson?
A: I think that you can tell that the guy has been around greatness. You guys know how I feel about (Jets quarterback) Aaron Rodgers. You can tell the kid's confident – he's not a kid, he's a grown man – but the guy's confidence and how it's grown playing the position. So, I've seen the improvement in the way he's running the offense. The biggest challenge that we're going to have is that running back (Breece Hall) because he's special. You can tell that he's really come back from his injury, and he's one step and gone, so we need all 11 to get to him.
Q: What you said this summer about (cornerback Deonte) Banks, that's when you used the goldfish from Ted Lasso. But when he's competing against guys who are at an elite level and makes some of the plays that he made on Sunday, is he even further along than maybe most rookies would be?
A: I don't know. I don't know that measuring stick. I think that he's doing the things that we thought he could do coming out. There's going to be receivers in this league that make plays. You've just got to bounce back and play the next play. They've got a great receiver (Garrett Wilson) there in New York. He's going to make plays. You try to limit them, but he's going to make plays. You've just got to go play the next play and go.
Q: Did he almost bait (Commanders quarterback) Sam Howell to throw that interception?
A: I'm not going to talk any schematics about Washington because we've got them in a few weeks down the road. It was a really good play by Tae.
Q: It seems like (inside linebacker Micah) McFadden's really kind of elevated his game the last two weeks. Has something kind of clicked for him in the last couple of weeks?
A: I think it's the entire year. I think it's been since training camp. He's playing with a lot more confidence this year and the game slowed down for him. He learned a lot last year, got his nose bloodied a little bit and he's come back, and I think he's playing really well.
Q: How much does (inside linebacker) Bobby (Okereke) next to him help him?
A: It helps both ways that they're used to playing with each other and communicating with each other. You can throw Zay (safety/inside linebacker Isaiah Simmons) in that with third-down stuff, second-and-long stuff, and I think those three have done a nice job.
Q: With Dallas, and Buffalo and Miami and San Francisco, and all these scary offenses you've played, is there any chance you might look at the Jets and go, 'Ah?'
A: Please. No way. That running back, every time he touches the ball it can go 85 yards. With the receivers that they have, you don't talk about the others because 17 (Jets wide receiver Garrett Wilson), he's a werewolf out there. He can make plays all over the place, but the other receivers are doing well. So, we're going to have our hands full come Sunday. We're excited about the challenge.
Offensive Coordinator Mike Kafka
Q: What's the biggest challenge that the Jets defense creates for you guys this week?
A: I'd say really at all three levels, they're very talented. They have great team speed, they're aggressive and these guys do a good job of tackling the football, so we'll have to have a good week of prep.
Q: (Wide receiver Jalin) Hyatt obviously had the two big catches last week and (Head Coach Brian) Daboll said he's going to keep playing more and more. Where is he in his rookie year development?
A: I'd say he's right on schedule. Yeah, he's right on schedule, working every single day, looking to improve on all the little things that we talk about in our individual meetings, all the fundamentals, the techniques and getting more accustomed to the offense each week. You can see that growth.
Q: How much does that growth make this offense more dynamic? The more he can be involved and the more he can contribute.
A: Jalin's doing a great job in his role, every week's different. I'd say, Jalin's had some good production downfield a little bit, so I think he's finding a role. I think as the weeks go on and the season goes on, maybe it grows a little bit more from there, but he's right on schedule.
Q: How do you see Jalin and (wide receiver) Wan'Dale (Robinson), who was here last year but interrupted of course, how do you see them complement each other? I know they compare notes, and they study together sometimes but how do you see that and how it's helping the two of them?
A: I'd say those – I mean, that whole group, really, that whole receiver room is really pretty close, and they do a great job together bouncing ideas off each other and studying and prepping. I think those two are really no different, they're young guys trying to learn and grow together so I think if they form a nice little friendship – it's a great leadership that we have in that room with some of those veteran guys too that kind of bring them together.
Q: I know the rules have changed a lot regarding protecting the quarterback obviously over the years, but we still see so many teams that are on their backup quarterback. Do you think those rules in place can actually prevent those injuries or is football just to violent a sport when you're out there trying to make a throw and stand in the pocket that it's inevitable at some point?
A: I mean, I'd say football is an aggressive sport. I think the rules are in place for players safety, which is, as a coach, our most important feature of the game is to make sure our players are safe, so whatever rules we need to put in place to make that happen, I think that's a positive. That's what we should be leaning towards.
Q: If you remember the preseason game, I think the first play was you throwing with (quarterback Tyrod) Taylor to Hyatt deep on (Jets cornerback) Sauce (Gardner) and we all saw on Hard Knocks where Sauce was flabbergasted that you guys would even try to throw the ball deep on him with a rookie. Was that play call anything beyond the actual play call? Like important to send a message to Jalin like, 'Hey, we trust you against one of the best in the corners in the league to go deep.' Was there any significance to that play call?
A: I wouldn't say so. I'd just say it was just one of the parts of the game plan that we thought we could use in our game plan and something that we wanted to look at and see in an NFL preseason game.
Q: How did Daboll get involved helping to run the meetings – how has that impacted what you're doing behind the scenes?
A: I'd say Dabs has been involved in really every aspect of the football team. Offensively, defensively, special teams, I mean, you see him around the building in meetings, whether it's individually, group – and it's a collaborative process, which has been the same since day one.
Q: Did you see any difference last week on Sunday against Washington in how the offense performed?
A: Last week was kind of last week, I thought we did a nice job, we were able to get the 'W' but that's in the past. This week's a new week, we've got to put together a good week of practice.
Q: Obviously it's an interesting situation because you don't play the Jets in the regular season every year but given you guys share the stadium here, how much goes into this week and how much pride will there be if you're able to get a win here?
A: I think what the most important thing is that we just continue to follow our process, follow our prep, trust all those things and go through that the right way. We don't want to skip any steps or look past anything. If we just go through that process and make sure we're all on the same page and put together a good week work.
Q: Was there any momentary sense of relief in the first half when you got that touchdown pass from Tyrod to (tight end) Darren (Waller)?
A: I thought it was just a well-executed play. We were able to get on the board early, which was great. Obviously, that's something we've been stressing, and we were able to get that done and obviously had some missed opportunities throughout the rest of the game which we've got to get better at but overall, it was a positive.
Q: How much different does the offense look to you with a healthier (running back) Saquon (Barkley) or a healthy Saquon back in there?
A: I'd say Saquon's doing a great job being – obviously, he's back so it's one of those things where he's involved in the game plan, he's running the ball more. We can use him outside on the perimeter as a receiver. He had that long touchdown catch which was a great play by him, broke a few tackles, so I think Saquon doing a great job like he has been his whole career.
Q: That play that you just mentioned, was that the actual play or was that an off script play the way the pocket broke down?
A: Tyrod just kind of stepped – it was actually great protection, Tyrod just kind of stepped up and found a nice opening and the checkdown ended up being right there for Saquon and he just gave him a nice little throw and catch right in the correct spot and Saquon made it happen after that.
Q: Do you get a lot of different looks because Saquon is on the field from defenses? Do you say, 'Hey, they're accounting for him so we can do this instead of –'
A: Yeah, I'd say there's been some focus on Saquon, which I think is warranted, he's a good player. As far as the specific looks, I think what you see on tape – you study for those looks and try to anticipate those things, so I wouldn't say there's very specific looks just because of the amount of different schemes that we've run offensively.
Q: Do you find the Jets defense is a little more straightforward I guess than some of the other teams you've faced? Certainly, more than your own team is. In terms of, 'Here's our four, here we come and we're going to cover the backend.'
A: I think they have their scheme, which is very sound, very difficult to game plan against because they have great players. Their coaches put them in good positions to make plays, so again I think we have to really prep and really make sure that we're all on the same page here to make sure we go and execute the right way.
Q: What do you see in (Jets linebacker) C.J. Mosley? He's been with the Jets for a while and kind of sustained –
A: He's had a ton of production. I remember him when he was in Baltimore. He had a lot of production there and a lot of production with the Jets so he's a really instinctive player, he's always around the football, he's always tackling the football. He does a great job reading the quarterback's eyes in the pass game and creates a lot of PBU's and pass breakups. Just being around the football, he kind of muddies up the picture for the quarterback, so we'll have to know where he's at every play.
Q: (G Mark) Glowinski seems like he played better the last couple games, you know he had some early season struggles. What have you seen from his mentality? At the beginning of the season coming out then coming back in.
A: I think Glo's a great example of the work you put in during practice and then if you practice how you're going to play, that carries over into the game and he's put together three, four really good weeks of practice work and it has carried over for him.
Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey
Q: What did you see from (wide receiver) Gunner Olszewski in the workout?
A: He did a good job. He's typical Gunner. The same thing you see on tape, he does a good job of tracking the ball and excellent punt catcher. Early in his career, he had a really, really, really good start. He does a great job of getting the ball vertical, so good player.
Q: He fumbled a couple with the Steelers this year, how much of that is a concern given that's something you guys are trying to fix?
A: That's just something ongoing, like that's something you are always trying to get better at. Ball security is something that we work every day. I talked to him, had a good talk with him about it and I think he's in a good space, so we just got to keep working at it. That's all it is.
Q: Take us through Sunday, where (running back Eric) Gray gets hurt, you got to put (wide receiver Sterling) Shep(ard) back there, then you take him out, just kind of what it's like managing that?
A: It's always tough. That was a tough day Sunday. I mean you look at, not just for the guys catching punts, you look at the kickers, like it was a tough day. You look at their guy, (Commanders kicker) Joey (Slye) struggled on the same end (kicker) Graham (Gano) struggled on. Their guy put a ball on the ground because it was just a tough day. It was gusty winds and then you got two power punters that are left footed, which is not easy to catch. So, it was a whole process and it's never a good thing when you have to go through those things, but that's just ball. That happens. Especially here in the Meadowlands. I mean, that's what you are going to deal with at times. I was here before when it was ten times worse than this, so I mean it's just something you've got to deal with.
Q: What's the conversation like with Shep after you replaced him?
A: Keep your head up, let's go, next play. That's all it is. You can't dwell on what just happened, the most important play is the next one, so we've just got to wipe that one out, one snap and clear it and go to the next one.
Q: What have you seen from Eric's confidence with a couple of muffs?
A: Like I said, we catch balls out here every day. I don't see him losing any confidence, but again, it's just one of those days. It's a windy day and it doesn't help you, obviously. I mean you don't feel good about it. That's just something that you have to deal with knowing that you play in our stadium during this time of year. You are going to get wind gusts, especially when they knocked the race track down, the wind patterns changed in the stadium, so it's just different.
Q: With the wind pattern change, what went into that?
A: Oh, it's totally different. When they knocked down the race track over there, it changed the whole wind pattern to one end of the stadium. It used to be a definite wind pattern in the stadium and once they knocked the race track down, that far end to the left of our bench is just totally different.
Q: How is it different?
A: It's just the wind swirls down on that end and it pushes back, so it's just different and that's something we've just got to get used to.
Q: What do you do to get Gunner ready for that and how do you prepare for that?
A: We'll get them all ready. We catch balls in the stadium, we'll catch them out here. Obviously, we know it's windy out here, so that's just something that we'll do moving forward, just making sure we get acclimated better to it and just to be able to use it to our advantage. Just being able to go over there and catch balls in the stadium.
Q: (Defensive lineman) Leo(nard Williams) gave you a little bit of credit on the field goal block, said you moved him from backside to the front. What did you see, I mean was that intentional or circumstantial?
A: Leo is a great player. Anytime you can put a great player in a position to make a play, all it is put him over there and he did everything else. I didn't make him 7'1 or whatever it is, 8'5 reach or whatever it is, but he's long and Joey does a really good job of getting the ball up quick and he made a play, and he was ready to make the play.
Q: The bar for Graham is obviously ridiculously high, he's made like 90 percent of his field goals for the Giants. Is he going through anything that he's missed four already this year?
A: I think it's a couple things with him, but it's just mainly, obviously we had one blocked and then he was kind of banged up on the next one that he had to kick because he had to make a tackle, so it's nothing crazy. I told him yesterday, I was like, we are not going to make a bigger deal of this than what it is, and we've seen Graham get on a hot streak, we've seen him make 30 kicks, 34 kicks, 33 kicks in a row, right? Again, the bar is set high, but we know what he's capable of, so we are just working through the process. He will be alright; he'll be fine.
Q: How valuable has (cornerback) Nick McCloud been? He's recovered both the muffs, just kind of always in the right spot for you.
A: Nick has done great job. He's long, he has really good speed and he's a super, super competitive guy, like he's very, very competitive. He's done a great job since he's been here, he works his tail off, hardly says two words, but when that ball's up in the air, he's going to go get it and he does a really good job.
Q: When (inside linebacker) Cam Brown makes a tackle like he did, is that kind of a once in a year thing, you just hit him perfect?
A: Hopefully it's not (laughs). Hopefully we get about 10 or 12 more out of Cam with that, but he squared him up pretty good. It was the old school 'woo' hit, make the crowd say 'woo'. He did a nice job of just stepping up and stepping to contact and finishing.
Q: Does that pick up the whole team?
A: Absolutely. You see the juice from the sideline and the whole building, and we need more plays like that from our guys.
Q: As a resident, been here a long-time guy, what do you make of the Jets-Giants rivalry, what does it mean in this building?
A: The Jets-Giants rivalry, obviously, is big for the city. I've been on both sides of it, so you know what it's like. It'll be a great atmosphere on Sunday, it'll be fun driving through the parking lot and seeing all the Jets and Giants fans and it's something that the city talks about all year around for bragging rights. So, it'll be fun, it'll be fun to watch.
Q: Their returner (Jets wide receiver) Xavier Gipson has been pretty dangerous this year, I guess just how dangerous is he?
A: He's scary. I mean, ask Buffalo, you know what I mean? This guy, he does a really good job of sticking his foot in the ground and making people miss out in space and he accelerates quickly and those are things that you want in a returner, to be able to have really good short area quickness and accelerate in a hurry, so he has some really good traits about him and he's dangerous, that's for sure.
Q: I know it's rare in today's game for the returner to have that big of an impact where you are looking to kick away from guyss. You don't see that much. Is Gipson the kind of guy who, because of what he has put on tape, you might think about keeping the ball away from?
A: I don't care who's back there, if we can limit him to no yards, that's what we are going to do and he is dangerous, but our deal is to do what we do best. Obviously, we will account for the opponent, but to me as a coach I got to make sure we put our guys in a position to where we can execute at a high-level and be at our absolute best. Obviously, if we have somebody back there that we want to keep the ball away from, we'll play some keep away, but that's the game within the game.
Q: What did (running back Jashaun) Corbin show you on special teams in the summer?
A: Jashaun did a great job when he was here. It was tough, but he did a great job and I love the kid. He works his tail off, he plays hard, he's physical and he's a good man. He's a great teammate, all the guys I know they were super happy to get him back because he is such a good guy and a great teammate, but no, he did a really good job in the spring and last year as a young player. He'll be fine.
Running Back Saquon Barkley
Q: On the Giants-Jets rivalry
A: I think it's a great rivalry. It's always a fun game to play against a team like that. Two teams in the same area, share the same stadium, bragging rights for a long time till the next time they see each other. I'm excited. Definitely excited. For me personally, I didn't really have too great a game the last time I went against these guys. That was years ago, but that still weighs heavy on my mind. I get an opportunity to go out there against a really good team, a really good defense, and they're playing really well, on a high level. Try to continue to get this winning streak going.
Q: It is the lowest rushing total you've ever had. Is that something that sits with you a little bit?
A: I really don't think about it too much. I was sitting down in my house and my brother, my little brother, definitely reminded me about it. Made a little joke about it. That's when I realized, like, dang, I really had one rushing yard against this team. But at that moment, that was probably, before I ever had an ACL or anything like that, the lowest moment I had as a player. I liked how I responded. I think in the next couple of weeks, I played pretty well and had one of my better games two or three weeks after that. So, you learn from it. I'm not the only back that's ever been part of a game like that. I remember seeing the a of Barry Sanders in the playoff game having, like, 16 carries for zero yards.
Like I said, that's years past; this is a new team. I'm just excited for the opportunity to go against that team. I know a couple of guys over there and how competitive they are and how challenging they are, especially on the defensive side of the ball. So, it's going to be fun.
Q: Even years further back, can you remember rooting for the Jets against the Giants as a kid?
A: Yeah, I definitely can remember that. Some people are familiar with my history of being a Jets fan growing up. My dad is a real big Jets fan, having a Jets tattoo. Finally got him to—he's still rooting for the Jets this game, but he hopes we win this time. So, I got him to say that out of his own mouth two or three days ago. I finally got my father on my side.
Q: You've had plenty of games where the running back on the other team has gotten accolades as well. I think of your battles with Zeke (running back Ezekiel Elliott) in Dallas. I know you're not going against (Jets running back) Breece Hall, but I'm sure you have respect for him as a player. Does that ramp it up any more for you? Knowing that another running back on the field is going to get a lot of attention.
A: You're not technically going against the other running back. I'm not on defense; he's not on defense. I can't stop him; he can't stop me. But anytime you're going against a running back of that caliber, obviously, yes, it increases a little bit more of the competitive nature. Whether it's (49ers running back) Christian (McCaffrey), whether it's (Titans running back) Derrick Henry, whether it's Breece.
I've got nothing but respect for Breece, especially the injury that he dealt with. I talked to him a little bit during it. We had similar injuries. The way he was able to respond and bounce back after it, the level that he's playing with. So, tip my hats off to him. He's a great back and it's going to be fun to see him live in person. Hopefully, he doesn't have as much success as he's been having so far in the season, our defense does what it has to do, and I can do what I need to do for our offense to help us get a win.
Q: The Jets defense, what do you make of their play this season? Obviously, there were comments preseason about them historically. What are your thoughts on them so far?
A: Fast, physical, fly to the ball, create turnovers, they can get to the quarterback. All three levels, whether it's the D-line, whether it's the linebackers, whether it's the DBs, they have talented players. So, it's going to be a tough challenge, and they're fun. They're fun to watch. Just being a fan of the game and watching film of them, trying to learn them and get ready for them, and seeing the way they play. You've got to admire it. You've got to have respect for what they're doing over there. So, it's going to be fun, it's going to be a challenge, and as competitors, it's the type of game you want to be a part of.
Q: When we were kids, I would assume rivalries were, 'I hate these guys, blah, blah, blah.' Is it now all about winning?
A: Yeah, I guess. Every game that's the mindset, to come out and win. Every game is important. Not going to sit here and lie and be, like, okay—I don't really have rivalry games in my head, that's not how I really look at it, but I'm not going to sit here and say, 'Okay, it's New York Giants versus New York Jets.' There's definitely a little more something to the game. I felt that last time I played in it, we ended up losing in a really close game, but you could just feel the atmosphere and the fans that were there.
But yeah, at the end of the day, all you want to do is win and that's our goal. We want to come out here and do what we can to compete at a high level and come out with a win. It's going to be a tough challenge because they're a really good team over there.
Q: A week ago, you guys were still confident that you could turn this season into what you wanted it to, but you still needed that first one. You got that first one now, that first win, after the streak. Does it feel any differently in this locker room right now, that you guys are ready to turn a corner?
A: I mean, we're not in here like, 'Oh, we're 5-2.' We still understand that we're 2-5 and we've got a long way to go, but I don't think that we needed the win last week. I think I kind of sat here and said that in a game like Buffalo, we feel like we should've won that game. Unfortunately, we came out and we didn't win that game, but games like that going against a really good team in a tough environment can help build confidence, can help be that spark, and I feel like that's what it was. We left a lot on the table last week against Washington, who are a really good team, but we found ways to win the game. Kind of got back to the kind of mindset, the kind of team we were last year. That's what we've got to continue to do, believe in each other, play complementary football, and do whatever it takes. Gritty wins, find a way to win games.
Q: You mentioned rivalry. Is this the closest you'll get to what a college rivalry is in the NFL?
A: I don't know. I don't know. At Penn State we really didn't have one, I guess we kind of developed one a little bit when I was there with Ohio State. Pittsburgh claims they are, I guess, but I don't know. I really don't feel it—I can't use an example from college.
I can tell you the divisional games we play in, whether it's Washington, whether it's Dallas, or whether it's Philly, ups it a little bit. I can tell you being a part of playoff games, how much the level increases and the speed increases. I expect that to happen this week, already just off the matter of fact of how good they are and how fast they play over there on the defensive side of the ball. It's going to be fun. It's going to be a fun opportunity. We've got to go out there and be ready because they're going to give us their best.
Q: The open-field touchdown last week, how good did that feel? You broke a tackle, and you cut back across the field, just to show you have all your abilities back after the injury?
A: I know that's all there. I think if you go watch film, go watch it, everything is all still there. It's still a high ankle, it's still challenging, but I felt really comfortable in the game. If you watch some of my runs, they only might have gone for four or five yards, but I felt like I was shifty and was able to make the cuts that I needed to make and set up the linemen a little bit. So, I'm excited. Just keep stacking it, keep building off it, keep rehabbing it, and getting better each week.
Outside Linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux
Q: Obviously, a lot of talk going on on New York Sports Radio about you right now. I'm just curious, when you hear that noise in the background, how do you deal with it? What do you think of it all?**
A: Man, let's just keep playing. Everybody has an opinion, everybody has a critique and sometimes I like it when they're educated, sometimes when somebody's trying to help me get better. But most of the time you try not to pay attention to it because it'll have your emotions going up and down. I actually was just told about (by) one of the reporters about what happened, and I'll probably go look at it later on, but I appreciate the support from the people who do like my game and the people who want to watch me play. I think the biggest thing is for me to just continue to get better, you know? Not have any weeks where I'm not impacting the game as much as I want to. I try to just stay consistent and focus on what I can control.
Q: With that being said, how do you evaluate your game and your growth this season?
A: I think I'm continuously getting better. Carrying momentum from last year, I had four sacks so if you're comparing, I'm already doing better and I'm having more of an impact. But as a team, we won a game so I'm happy about that and now we're trying to keep that momentum and just continue to get better as a whole.
Q: (Defensive Coordinator) Wink (Martindale) said when it comes to getting better as a whole, he sees you guys playing for each other, becoming more selfless. Do you see that among the attitude of the defensive line in each of the units that exist on the defense?
A: Yeah, because we realize – any team that's shooting from behind realizes that it takes all of us. No matter if I have a few sacks – you think about last year, I didn't have any sacks and we won five games straight. Now, I've got five sacks and we're just now starting to pick up momentum. You've got to realize that it takes everybody, long story short. We're only as strong as our weakest link and the things that we kind of feed to each other is what's going to grow. Just continuing to keep that mindset of wanting the guy next to you to get better and letting it flow during the game.
Q: With that being said, I heard you talk about greatness. Sometimes that's making the shot, sometimes that's getting the ball. Where are you on that and wanting to be great? That desire…
A: People are still asking me about the dropped pass before and it's like – for me, the frustration is when you understand Michael Jordan, he made the shots, Kobe Bryant, he made the shots. In the NFL, you can talk about every pass Tom Brady made and that's that difference between good and great. You can make plays but sometimes the frustration comes from wanting to reach that next level.
Q: Sometimes Jordan passed it to Steve Kerr, and he knocked down the shot because he was the open one (laughs)…
A: And that's the thing, that's why you have a team. That's why it's the ultimate team sport because I can only impact it so much and I need other great teammates, which I have on the d-line and the backend and even on offense that are going to make plays.
Q: Let's talk about the team this week, you're going up against the Jets. How do you perceive this rivalry game here?
A: When you talk about playing the Jets, I think it's going to be real competitive. It kind of gives you that old school feel of like a high school rivalry game, something like that. They're a great team. They've got a great defense. We're trying to outplay them; I know they're going to try to outplay us and we're going to try to go put a real competitive game together.
Q: Do you guys like that part? The defense against the defense?
A: I mean, you know, no (laughs). I'm going to be honest, we love a full team game, obviously. We want it to be a striking match on both ends. We want to play complementary football so if you ask me, we want our offense to go out there and score as many points as possible and keep us off the field. But obviously, when you have an opponent that has great other individual players, we have guys that want to match that standard and go show that we can make plays too. It's definitely going to be competitive on both sides of the ball, but I'm excited.
Q: You're going against a running back that he can go the distance any time he gets a touch so what are you seeing in him?
A: We've got to stop the run and that's the story of most football but in this game, it's definitely important. He's a great player but yeah, we've got to stop him.
View photos of the Giants on the practice field ahead of the Week 8 matchup against the New York Jets.