Linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux
Q: How's it feeling out there so far?
A: It's been pretty good. It's the fourth day. Pretty sore. It's been hot as ever. Today was pretty cool though, so it's pretty good.
Q: You have this big personality, but watching you on the field, it's pretty business-like. Is that do you take a different approach there when you're in the lines?
A: I mean you got to know how to compartmentalize. There's a time and place for everything. So, when we are on the field it's all business, and now it's training camp. We're getting ready for a long journey.
Q: How much new technically are you learning about how to rush the passer? Looks like you guys are working a lot on hand placement, speed and how you're bending.
A: Now it's about bringing everything together. 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.
Q: When you're in those individual periods, I see (Outside Line Backers Coach) Drew (Wilkins) spends a lot of time with you. What is he emphasizing to you that he wants you to work on?
A: Just that you know good isn't enough. You always want to continue to get better, and no matter how hard you are working, you still haven't reached your peak. So, for me to keep sharpening my tools.
Q: What was the spring like for you? You didn't get to go out there and play most of the time. Is it something you still have to manage, and where are you at with that?
A: As far as what?
Q: Being injured.
A: Oh yeah, I'm full go now. So, it's been great to get out there. And I conditioned a lot at home. So, it's been a pretty good pace trying to get into the football shape.
Q: What about in the spring what was that like having to sit there? You know you could only do so much.
A: Yeah, you got to do what's best for you at the time. So, the (athletic) training staff felt that it was best for me to sit out, so that's what I did. And I think it was good, so I could be fully healed for the future or for now.
Q: You've talked a lot about how when you were coming up and when (Tackle) Evan (Neal) was coming up, everyone said, 'Oh man, I want to see those two guys,' Now you're out here every day. What has that been like again him?
A: Oh, it's been great. Not just him, but (Tackle) Andrew Thomas. Them as a unit. Me being able to go back and forth. You never – there are no plays off. Everyone asks me, 'What is the difference between now and I mean college and the NFL,'? It's like, you have to be 100 percent and have a move every play, there is no getting by. Just going against both of them, and Evan especially is good to continue to grow and share info now and again.
Q: Do you look at you two because of the way you were drafted, different sides of the ball, almost like you're linked in some ways?
A: Definitely. You obviously – football is a game of trenches. And starting with the trenches is a great start from the man upstairs, and they did it and I feel like as we continue to get older and mature, we're going to continue to grow and gel together, and keep bringing both sides to the forefront.
Q: Kayvon, at your position should we be judging what we see so far, or should we wait until the pads come on?
A: For the whole front line, you really have to judge when the pads come on. Because there's a different type of play. 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 (Head Coach Brian Daboll) Dabs. So, we try to stay off the quarterback, and we do. And we want to keep everybody healthy.
Q: That said, how excited are you for Monday?
A: I'm very excited. There are a lot of things as a pass rusher, as a defensive guy, you aren't able to do without pads. The offense has the baggy jerseys you can just pull on them. Now it'll be more of a fair game. I'll be able to use all the moves I've been working on.
Q: You said about pulling out, that's a mental thing really at any level. When you hit a good move, like yesterday you hit an inside move against Andrew, and you know right away it's 'alright hold up hold up'. How much are you convincing or stopping your instincts? Because look, it's practice. You hit a great move; you almost want to finish it off.
A: It's kind of like that invert. You know they say bulls see red. When we see red, we kind of run away. So, when you see that red jersey, you know to stop. Even if I'm bull rushing. No matter what I'm doing you've got to stop when you see that red jersey. So, it's kind of like training yourself, for now, to still get your work and do it on air and let him throw. Let everyone else get work.
Q: How would you describe (Defensive Coordinator) Wink's (Martindale) message of approach to the defense on how he wants you guys to play? And coming into this game – because it seems like you guys are loud like you're out there every day.
A: Communication is key, and that's competing. Everybody's competing for a job, and we're all competing to be better. So as long as we continue to compete and continue to grow as a team and communicate, we'll be good.
Q: Working with (Linebacker) Jihad (Ward) been like? It seems like he's a guy that's been very vocal. He said in the spring he's a guy that's going to be on you.
A: Yeah, he's definitely super vocal. Haddy (Jihad) is who he is. For me, the greatest thing he does is that he doesn't just talk about it. He's a guy who's going to run 80 yards down the field even when the play is over and get a shot on goal. So, he's a guy who just always puts the work in, and you have a standard to look up to. So, there is no excuse.
Q: What have you been able to learn from (Defensive Lineman) Leonard (Williams) over the past couple of weeks?
A: Just the preparation. You need to find a routine when you're coming through and you're going into camp and you're sore and everything's going on. So, he's really been helping me figure out my own routine so I can prepare myself.
Q: How many sacks do you think you would have so far?
A: Say it again.
Q: If you were allowed to hit the quarterback, how many sacks would you have?
A: You got to check the tapes. I don't know. For me, for me honestly, I don't really count the sacks. I count the moves. So, it's all about execution at the end of the day. Obviously, finishing is a part of execution, but for now, I just want to get better and make sure the little things are good within those rushes.
Q: With that process, do you find yourself now throughout camp playing through processing? You're not really playing fast yet; are you still figuring out how things work?
A: I wouldn't really say I'm processing. I get what you're saying, but I wouldn't say it's processing because I know the plays, and I know what I'm supposed to do. As far as looking at how do I grade myself? I grade myself on the execution of moves. Right, so today I didn't have the best execution on the moves I wanted, so it wasn't a good day. Even though I was working hard and got – probably got the quarterback a couple of times – I still really like to sharpen it and hold myself to a high standard.
Q: Is there any particular move you're working on today?
A: Just getting them off me. You know, Andrew and Evan they got big hands, and they're heavy up top. So, I'm making sure I'm using my second move and I'm really working hard. And when they get me on that first move, I got another one to counter.
Q: What was the last month for you? You had a chance to go home. Was it different now that you show up and you're a first-round pick? Or was it already the same because you were already elevated while …
A: In what aspect? Do you mean like training?
Q: Just everything. Like were people around you. Did people view you differently? What was it like for you?
A: Yeah, people definitely view me differently. I got a lot of love. You know, I'm from LA, so it's a big city. A lot of people already know me. I still train at – everywhere I train now is where I used to train before. So, seeing a lot of people that I used to play with or that coached me, and they really do believe in me. So, it was a proud moment for me. And just knowing that I need to keep going. This is just a milestone, and now, you know, all the work is still ahead to be put in.
Q: Is coming into the NFL a sort of a NIL athlete, you already had stuff beforehand, right, from a business perspective. Does that make it any different for you to come into here in the locker room? Do guys look at you different?
A: What do you mean?
Q: You're further along on the business side because you were able to capitalize on the NIL stuff before you came here maybe more than everyone else here.
A: Well, I kind of think that's a – what do you call it, a framed question? One thing that a lot of guys do not do is put themselves in the 'crabs in the bucket mentality. They're pretty much focused on what they have to do individually. So, when I came in, I think everybody really judged me for who I am once they got to know me. It's not really a big – the media's not in the locker room, and social is not in the locker room. And whatever you're doing outside the locker room isn't really in. So, for me just being able to show who I am and get to know guys – it's been great.
Q: A lot of rookies come into camp, and the first goal is to make the team. You and Evan come in, and you're first-round draft picks. And you've started running with the ones. Do you get a sense of how much they're counting on you?
A: Yeah, one thing about me is that I've always been hard on myself, and I've been a stickler. They have articulated that they're counting on us, but I'm counting on myself to make the plays and live up to the goals I have for myself. It's been a great journey so far, and I know that they believe in us. And they've given us all the tools to continue to elevate. So, now it's just up to us to make it happen.